Blini breakfast slated for 'Forgiveness Sunday'

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Saint Dimitri Orthodox Church will host its 12th Annual Blini Breakfast from noon-12:30 p.m. March 6, a Sunday also called “Forgiveness Sunday.”  
Blini Breakfast will follow the service of Divine Liturgy. Russian blini, a type of thin pancake, will be served in the traditional style with smoked salmon, herring, butte and sour cream. Vegetable caviar, eggs, cheese 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 — fish and dairy products, along with meat — are not eaten during the 40 Great Fast period preceding Easter or Pascha, as it is called among Orthodox Christians. The practice of fasting, or abstaining from certain foods, dates to Judaism. The practice was recorded in Biblical times, Christ having fasted in the desert for forty days.
“Lent” comes from the ancient English word for spring — is that time of natural rebirth, which corresponds to the process of inner spiritual regeneration, which every Christian should strive to experience in his or her preparation for celebrating the feast of Christ’s Resurrection.
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 of Our Lord,” said Father John Hennies, retired priest of Saint Dimitri Orthodox Church.    
The service rite of Mutual Forgiveness will be celebrated  immediately following Divine Liturgy. On this last day before Great Lent, this rite of Mutual Forgiveness  offers preparation for entering into the season of Great Lent through the spirit of forgiveness and repentance.
“Everyone asks 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 beginning the season of Lent with an opportunity for reconciliation with our brothers and sisters whom we may have offended. We rejoice that the Church in her wisdom gives us this yearly chance for undertaking a common cure together, for if we were left on our own, we would probably never make the effort by ourselves.”
The Blini Breakfast will be at the church, 2270 39th St., near the corner of Diamond  Drive and 38th Streets.
Advance reservations may be made through Wednesday $10, by calling 661-7466; at-the-door seats are $12; children 6-12 years will be admitted for $4.  There is no charge for children younger than 6 years old. For more information call 660-9113.