Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and all Moldova officiated daily Lenten services in the Nativity of the Lord Cathedral during the first week of Great Lent.
On the first four days, Metropolitan Vladimir read out the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete during the Vespers Service.
Liturgy of Pre-sanctified Gifts was officiated on Wednesday and Friday.
On Friday, after the Pre-sanctified Liturgy, Metropolitan Vladimir officiated the service of blessing of Coliva.
This tradition dates back to the fourth century, and is a response to an act of sacrilege committed by Emperor Julian the Apostate. Intending to profane the food of the Christians during Great Lent, the apostate Emperor ordered to sprinkle all products sold in markets with the blood of sacrificed animals. Praying to God for a solution, arch-bishop Eudoxius had a vision of Great Martyr Theodore of Tyre, who taught him how to avoid profanation by making meal of sweetened grains.
Thus, coliva, a meal of sweetened cereals, symbolizes the unity of the Church and the Body of Christ, showing that the living and the dead are united together in Christ. The sweet taste points to the teaching of the Church, while the nourishment of the product symbolizes the word of God that strengthens the church-goers.
Synodal Sector of Institutional Communication and Mass-Media Relations