The establishment of M.. Lent as a period of strict fasting and spiritual preparation of the faithful before the resurrection crucifixion is undoubtedly due to the need of the first Christians to follow the example of Jesus Christ himself, who, before beginning His public action, prepared himself in the wilderness and fasted for forty days to face the temptations of the devil (Matt. δ´ 11).
For this reason the Fathers of the Church liken the period of M.. Lent as a spiritual desert, during which the believer, following the example of our Lord, must observe strict fasting, worshiping at the same time unceasingly the Triune God in a spirit of complete humility.
It should have been established as a period of fasting from the first Christian times, with differences in the local churches, depending on local customs. It is mentioned for the first time in the First Ecumenical Synod (325), while the rules of later local councils also show the strictness of fasting.
During it, the faithful abstain from food by blood (meat-fish), of animal origin (dairy products-eggs) and by how much wine. Exceptions are the day of the Annunciation on 25 March and Palm Sunday during which fish are allowed to eat. Every Wednesday and Friday we stay away from oil.
All Lent Sundays are dedicated to major Orthodox holidays.. So, the first Sunday of fasting, is Orthodox Sunday during which the restoration of icons is celebrated (843).
The Second Sunday of Lent is dedicated to the memory of Saint Gregory of Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki.
The third Sunday of Lent is called the Sunday of the Crucifixion. The worship of the Holy Cross is projected as a means of empowering the faithful.
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is a day dedicated to the memory of St. John of "Klimakos", of the famous work that the faithful should have as an aid in their ascent to Heaven, with spiritual exercise.
The Fifth Sunday of Lent, is dedicated to the memory of Saint Mary of Egypt, which after 30 years of liberated life, she was baptized a Christian and practiced asceticism.
The Saturday before Holy Week is of Lazarus in remembrance of the miracle of the Resurrection of Lazarus by Christ. Last Sunday of Lent, is Poor Sunday, dedicated to the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem and the triumphant reception given to him by the people.