Oriental Christians observe Ash Monday

February 22, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Ash MondayNew Delhi, February 21, 2012: Most Catholics of the Syro Malabar and Syro Malankara Churches adopt a vegetarian diet and foreswear alcohol during lent.

Catholics of India’s two Oriental rites yesterday observed Ash Monday to mark the beginning of lent.

Lent for these Churches lasts 10 days more than what Latin rite Catholics and Protestant Christians observe.

Most Catholics of the Syro Malabar and Syro Malankara Churches adopt a vegetarian diet and foreswear alcohol during lent.

These Catholics are part of seven mainstream Christian Churches in Kerala that trace the origins of their faith to Saint Thomas the Apostle.

The practice is the same for other Christian groups, such as Orthodox Christians.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church keeps a 50-day Lenten observance but do not observe Ash Wednesday or Ash Monday.

Oriental Catholics attended churches in large numbers on the first day of Lent. The ceremony includes a penitential Mass in which the priest makes the sign of the cross with ashes on the forehead of each Catholic.

The Latin rite that follows the Roman liturgy introduced by European missioners in the 15th century, the Oriental Catholics follow Syrian liturgies and customs.

Unlike the Latin Church, the Oriental Churches do not skip Sundays when the length for Lent is calculated.

Traditionally, Lent in Eastern Churches begins on the seventh Monday before Easter.

The Church laws do not stipulate abstention from meat and fish on all days of Lent, especially on Sundays, but Oriental Christians abstain from meat, fish and alcohol throughout Lent voluntarily.

– ucan

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