The vesper services next Sunday, February 27th, is forgiveness vespers. Forgiveness Vespers kicks off the Great Fast with many prayers about forgiveness. The dismissal has a beautiful exchange of forgiveness between the people starting with the priest or bishop. The people approach the priest or bishop and both exchange mutual forgiveness by saying, "Forgive me a sinner", and, "It is God who forgives." The congregation then exchanges the kiss of peace with each other, and by the end, all the congregation and clergy have exchanged forgiveness.
The rite of mutual forgiveness is a beautiful reminder for all of us that we are called to repent of our sins, that we should ask forgiveness from each other, and that it is God who forgives.
We encourage you to attend your parish for forgiveness vespers this Sunday. It is an incredible way to set the tone for the Great Fast. May God bless you and show His mercy to you during this Great Fast.
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