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Journey to Pascha: Canon of Saint Andrew

What is Lent, really?

To many Christians, you hear a lot about fish on Friday to the seemingly yearly pursuit of giving up chocolate or sweets or Facebook for forty days. Even those Christians in name only get into it just to detox.

But Lent is not the same for all Christians.

Sure, you can still give up sweets and social media if it helps you live a better life, but there’s more to Lent than external factors for the Orthodox Christian.

For the Orthodox Christian, Lent is more than what goes into our mouths, but what comes out of it, so to speak. It’s a focus on renewal of the soul and the decision to repent before God decides for us. This is done through prayer, the Lenten services which ultimately lead to simplicity and almsgiving.

Food is actually a small part of it.

Although some try, we are not required to attend all of the services nor is it sometimes feasible for the average working layperson. They are put in place as mere prescriptions for our healing process for our sins. But be careful. Even when you think you have been healed, there’s always something new or different to focus on for a child of God.

The four parts of Canon of St. Andrew is split over the course of the Clean Week. At first glance, some of the stanzas are quite penetrating and personal. It takes an understanding of the Bible (the verses to refer to are published every night) as well as a sincere need to repentance to truly absorb this service.

You may think as I often have, “there are people I know who should be here too but are not, why?” But we cannot dwell on thee absence of others especially those who are absent for honorable and just reasons. We pray for those who are absent just as much as those who are present with us.

Suppers are usually very light during Clean Week. Monks and very pious laypersons will do a water fast. The thing I miss about being a vegan and that I liked about it was how fast and affordable whole foods veganism really is. There was lots of Gardein this week but also stuffed peppers which was an oven meal affording me a chance to catch up on my reading. And clean up? Minimal!

Planning on similar weeks in the coming weeks.

Stuffed Vegan Peppers

Sauteed mushrooms in Earth Balance with sea salt and pepper is all you need. Stuff them in your peppers and bake for 15 minutes!

4 stuffed peppers, tops cut off

1 package of baby bella mushrooms, washed (baby bella may be the cheapy mushrooms but they seriously pack great flavor in recipes such as this!)

sea salt and pepper (I am still loving my turmeric sea salt that I picked up from the Spice Shop downtown)

Pinch turmeric if you just have plain sea salt (there ain’t nothing wrong with that either, I’m just saying!)

fresh cilantro

mozzarella vegan cheese (our favorite brand)

3 tbsp earth balance

Coconut oil, drizzle

Heat a pan with Earth Balance. Once melted, add in your mushrooms and seasonings and cook for several minutes until somewhat soft. Take off heat. Stuff into peppers. Drizzle with coconut oil. Top with cheese. Bake on 350 degrees or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and add cilantro on top.

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