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Great Lent to begin with a blini breakfast

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By Special to the Monitor

Saint Dimitri Orthodox Church will host its Eighth Annual Blini Breakfast March 9. Russian blini, a type of thin pancake, will be served in the traditional style with smoked salmon, herring and sour cream. Vegetable caviar, eggs and a variety of berry preserves will be available as well. Blini are traditionally served in Slavic households during the week before the beginning of the Lenten Fast. The thin crepe-like pancakes are eaten together with fish, sour cream and butter in order to consume all these foods before the beginning of Great Lent.These foods, that is, fish and dairy products, along with meat are not eaten during the 40-day Great Fast period preceding Easter or Pascha, as it is called among Orthodox Christians. The practice of fasting, or abstaining from certain foods, dates back to Judaism. The practice was recorded in Biblical times, Christ having fasted in the desert for 40 days. The practice of “fasting together with prayer, almsgiving and the preparation that the additional services during Lent provide is the true readying for the great feast of the Resurrection,” said the Rev. John Hennies, priest of Saint Dimitri Orthodox Church. Sunday, which is the last day before Great Lent, is called “Forgiveness Sunday.” On Sunday, the service rite of Mutual Forgiveness will be celebrated. At the end of the Divine Liturgy on this last day before Great Lent, the rite of Mutual Forgiveness offers preparation for entering into the season of Great Lent through the spirit of forgiveness and repentance.“Everyone has the opportunity to ask pardon and forgiveness of each other in the church community,” said Elizabeth Bezzerides, a member of Saint Dimitri Orthodox Church. “It is more than just a tradition; it is an opportunity for starting Lent and we enter the season of the fast forgiving one another so that God will forgive us and for an opportunity for love to prevail.”The blini breakfast will be held from noon-2:30 p.m. at the church located at 2270 – 39th St. (39th Street off Diamond Drive one-tenth mile beyond Baptist Church). Advance reservations may be made through Wednesday for $8, at-the-door seats are $10; children 6-12 years are $3. There is no charge for children younger than 6 years old. Additional information is available by calling 661-7466.