The Triodion. We’re just past the Theophany and already our attention turns to the Great Lent and Pascha - the feast of feasts! As part of this preparatory season you’ll hear references made to the “Lenten Triodion,” or just the “Triodion;” so what is it, exactly? It actually refers to two distinct but overlapping things - a book and a period of time, both of which we’ll take a look at now.
First it’s a service book that we use leading up to Lent, throughout it, and into Holy Week, with almost all (but not quite all) the books to observe services through the fast. As the name implies, there are three (tri) odes (well… odes) for Orthros/ Matins/ Morning Prayers during this time as appointed by the canons. We keep a copy or two in the kliros and they’re available to look at any time you like - please ask! 😀
Secondly, it’s a time period that begins ten weeks prior to Pascha and is itself broken into three preparatory periods all focused on leading us on a journey of repentance home to God by means of prayer and fasting - three pre-Lenten weeks, six weeks of Great Lent, then Holy Week. The three weeks prior to the Great Lent starting are the Sundays of the Publican and the Pharisee, of the Prodigal Son, of the Last Judgment (Meatfare), and of Forgiveness (Cheesefare). The week after the first Sunday is entirely fast-free, the next is normal fasting, and the last of two Sundays help to ease us into the fast which we’ll observe throughout the Great Lent, by bidding farewell to dairy and meat, respectively.