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The Tradition of Poon Paregentan

It is the last Sunday before Great Lent. It is composed of two words; Paree-Gentanootioun good living, rejoicing. Poon means the main. This points to the fact that the fasting period following Paregentan is longer than weekly Lents of other feasts, and it is tied to the main event of Christendom, the resurrection of our Lord.

The best explanation of Paregentan is from our Church father, Krigor Datevatzi. According to him, the biblical base is from the Old Testament from the life of Elijah when the Angel of the Lord tells him; Eat and drink because you will be traveling a long road (I King 19:7) In our case this long road is the 40 days of the Great Lent journey.

Paregentan, according to Datevatzi, doesn’t stand alone but points to the reality of a period of abstinence. Feasting of Paregentan will lead us into fasting; fun filled days will turn into days of penance. In other words, the zeal and ingenuity we show in the realm of having fun should be put into the work of enriching our spiritual life.

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St. James of Evanston, IL

St. Gregory of Chicago, IL

Sts. Joachiam & Anne of Palos Heights, IL