This Wednesday, we celebrated Ash Wednesday, and started the season of Lent. I have been asked a couple of questions about Lent over the last weeks, and thought I’d share those with you:
1. Where did Lent come from? Many early churches had periods of fasting before Easter. At the end of the 6th Century, Pope Gregory I set a 40 day period of fasting & repentance (40 from Israel, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus in the Wilderness). He named the first day “Ash Wednesday.”
2. What does “Maundy Thursday” mean? Maundy Thursday celebrates the giving of the new commandment of love at the Last Supper. It gets its name from the Latin mandatum novarum – a new commandment, from John 13:34, which translated into the French mande. A primary meaning of the service is to celebrate the giving of the new commandment to love one another.
3. Why is the day we celebrate Jesus’ death called “Good Friday?” The best answer I can get is that it shows the goodness of God and the lengths that He would go to for us.
4. What is the timeline and when is Easter celebrated? Easter was often celebrated on Passover in the early Church. But when Constantine was ruler of Rome, he wanted Christianity to be totally separate from Judaism. Finally, Easter was set on the Sunday after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox. After the West adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 16th Century, and the Easter and Russian Churches kept the Julian calendar, there became 2 different days that Easter was celebrated.