Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent before Easter

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent before Easter

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the fasting period before Easter

Illustration photo – Student Mass with the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020 in the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Olomouc.

Prague – Today is Ash Wednesday. The season of Mardi Gras is over, Christians begin a forty-day fast, the purpose of which is spiritual cleansing before Easter. On Ash Wednesday, priests give the faithful a so-called ashes, that is, the sign of the cross with ashes on their foreheads. Accepting ashes is a sign of repentance taken from biblical tradition.

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During the preparations for the biggest Christian holidays commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians should be moderate not only in food, but they should temporarily give up things or activities that they are used to and that make life easier for them. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon, this year it falls on April 9.

On Ash Wednesday, during the service, the priest blesses the ashes, a symbol of death and the nothingness of being, prepared from the branches of the Jiva blessed in the previous year at Palm Sunday. Then he gives the believers ashes – he marks everyone with ashes on their foreheads and says: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return” or “Repent and believe in the gospel”.

Masses with the distribution of ashes are held across the country today. Archbishop Jan Graubner will serve her in the St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle in the evening. The morning service will be led by Bishop Emeritus Vojtěch Cikrle in the Brno Cathedral on Petrová, and Bishop Pavel Konzbul in the evening.

The Academic Parish of Prague in the Church of the Holy Savior on Křížovnické náměstí is organizing the traditional Artist's Ashes. In this place, it is usually connected with the presentation of a work of art. Today's intervention in the sacral space was prepared by the sculptor Jan Kovářík. He called it Concentration, and it is to play out a multi-layered game of dialogues, references and associations in the baroque-decorated church.

It will be made up of dozens of white segments of various low conical to drop-like shapes. It is intended to bring to the visitors exactly what Lent provides – the need for silence, calmness, concentration and concentration on the essential levels of life and the importance of healthy interpersonal relationships.

The Ashes of the Artists of the Academic Parish of Prague has over 25 years of tradition and continues to the Western European tradition that originated in Paris decades ago during services for artists who died during the First World War.