Σάββατο 16 Μαρτίου 2024

Sunday of Tyrini

 αὐτῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἀνάμνησιν ποιούμεθα τῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ Παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς ἐξορίας τοῦ πρωτοπλάστου Ἀδάμ.

Tyrini or Tyrofagos is the last week of the Halloween season. It was named so because from its beginning the consumption of meat is prohibited, while the consumption of eggs and dairy products is allowed. The last day of this week is Tyrini Sunday and from the next day, which is Clean Monday, begins the Great Lent for Easter.

The Sunday, before the beginning of Great Lent, is also known as Cheese-eater's or Tyrini's Sunday, a day rich in folklore events.
In the Churches, during the morning Divine Liturgy, the passage from the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 5, 14-21) is read, which refers to the value of forgiveness and fasting. Late in the afternoon of the same day, the overwhelming vesper of forgiveness is sung, during which priests and believers embrace each other, asking for forgiveness from each other, in view of the coming Great Lent.

Our holy Fathers placed the commemoration of Adam's exile just before holy Pentecost. This they did to show us practically how beneficial the medicine of fasting is to human nature, and how great an evil is gluttony and disobedience to the word of God. Countless are all that were done for Adam! But our God-bearing Fathers put all this aside and present to us the Protoplastus himself: How great harm he suffered, because he did not fast for a while and because of this how much harm he caused to humanity. With all this they show us that God's first commandment to the human race was the good of fasting. But he did not keep this commandment. Follow her belly and her appetites. Or, to put it better, he followed the misleading words of the serpent (the devil) at the prompting of Eve. Thus, not only did he not become God, as the devil promised him, but he won, unfortunately, death. And he spread this disease to the whole human race.

For this enjoyment of Adam, the Lord fasted for forty days and became (like a new Adam) obedient to God's command. Therefore, in order for us to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, this fast of holy Pentecost was invented by the holy Apostles. Thus, what Adam then suffered (lost incorruption) by not keeping the commandment, we will now gain by observing this fast.

After all, as mentioned in a previous Synaxarius, this was also the purpose of the holy Fathers: to present to us in the Triodium a summary of what God did for man from beginning to end. Since, therefore, the cause of all our calamities was this transgression, for which Adam was expelled from the Paradise of trufa, for this reason it was now placed at the beginning: That we may remember it and avoid the same error , disobedience. And also, so that we are not in any way jealous of Adam's gluttony and lack of temperance.

Adam was formed on the sixth day by the hand of God. God honored him: he gave him His image with His effusion. Then he also gave him the order. And Adam lived in Paradise for six hours. But then he disobeyed the order and was exiled from there. The Jew Philo says that Adam lived in Paradise a hundred years. Others say that he lived seven days or seven years (this probably comes from the great honor the Jews place on the number seven). The fact that at the sixth hour Adam stretched out his hand and tasted the fruit is evident from the fact that Christ, the new Adam, on the sixth hour and day stretched out His hands on the cross, thus correcting the calamity that he prompted.

Adam was created neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It was something between the two, so that wherever he turned with his will, that was what he obtained. Of course, God could make him sinless. But in order for this achievement to be the fruit of his own work, that is why God gave him the command to be able to eat from the fruits of all the trees of Paradise except for one. Perhaps this showed that Adam could know and understand the essence of all God's creations, but not the essence of God himself. Saint Gregory the Theologian also says something related. Philosophizing, the saint explains that the trees of Paradise were divine concepts, while the forbidden plant was the very theory (thea) of God. In other words, God allowed Adam to take care of and investigate all the elements of nature, to examine them with his mind and because of this to glorify God. Perhaps even examining his own (man's) nature. This was the real treat of Paradise. But as far as God himself is concerned, who he is in terms of nature and from where or how he created the universe from scratch, let him not try to investigate it at all.

But Adam, leaving everything else, began to investigate what had to do with God and to inquire about this very nature of God. But he was still imperfect and simplistic and a child at that. Then the devil using Eve put in his imagination the idea of deification and so he fell.

The great and great uncle John Chrysostom says that this tree had a double power and that Paradise was on earth. In fact, he believes that he was at the same time both sensible and intelligible, just as Adam was; and that both (Paradise and Adam) were on the threshold between decay and incorruption. Thus, the saint neither deviates from the meaning of the Bible nor insists on a literal interpretation of it.

Some say that that tree of disobedience was a fig tree, because as soon as the Protoplasts realized that they were naked, they used its leaves and covered their nakedness. Therefore, they continue, Christ also cursed her, because she became the cause of sin. And it is true that the fig tree has some elements that are related to sin. First of all, its fruit has sweetness, as does sin. Then, its leaves are rough. Such roughness also creates sin with the remorse of conscience. Also, another feature of the fig tree is its stickiness, because the milk that comes out of it is a sticky substance. This is how sin is: after committing it, one remains attached to it. There are, of course, some who argued - but without being right - that the tree of transgression was the carnal mixture of Adam and Eve.

When Adam disobeyed the commandment, put on mortal human flesh, was cursed to live in suffering on earth and was banished from Paradise. Then God commanded to guard the gate of Paradise with a fiery sword (Gen. 3, 23-24), so that the Firstborn could not enter. And Adam sat weeping facing Paradise (cf. the trope "...Adam sat facing Paradise with his hands downcast..."), contemplating how many goods he lost, because he did not observe a small fast. And he still lamented that he bequeathed to the human race all his own misfortunes. All this, of course, until He Who created us, had mercy on our nature, which was being plundered and destroyed by Satan, and was born of the holy Virgin. And after he lived an excellent and perfect life and showed us such a way that was contrary to the desires of the devil, the way of fasting and humiliation, and after he defeated in an all-wise way the one who deceived us, he restored us to our ancient glory close to God.

Our God-bearing Fathers wanting to explain all this to us in the Triodium, first of all present to us what the Old Testament mentions, that is, the Creation, the exile of Adam from Paradise, to which we referred a little while ago, and everything else that they mention Moses, the prophets and David in their writings. Then they show us what is written in the New Testament and first of all the Annunciation of the Virgin, which is always in M. Tessarakosti. Then they describe the things about Lazarus, Palm Sunday and Holy Week. And they appointed to be read in the Church from the holy Gospels all those which recount in detail the holy and saving Passions of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then they proceed again and present to us the holy Resurrection and the other feasts until the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Finally, they mention the holy deeds of the holy Apostles, which show us how the preaching of the Apostles took place and how they brought to the fold of the Church all the saints from all over the world. The Acts of the Apostles confirm the Resurrection with the miracles performed by the Apostles in the name of the crucified and resurrected Christ.

Because, therefore, by Adam not fasting once we suffered so much, the relevant story is now presented at the beginning of Lent. Its goal is, remembering how bad the lack of fasting brought us, to welcome it with joy and to observe it, and what Adam failed to achieve, deification, we achieve. Yes! May we achieve this by weeping and fasting and humbling ourselves, until God visits us! For without them it is not easy to receive what we have lost.

We must also know that Holy and Great Lent is a tithing (=about one tenth) of the whole year. The Jews offered God a tenth of what they had. So let us do the same for each annual period of our lives. Our Fathers knowing that because of our laziness we do not decide to fast all year long and abstain from our bad habits, they devised this Lent fast as a season of fervor and spiritual fruitfulness for our souls. So let us offer it to God, just as the Jews offered God a tenth of their grain when they gathered their crops in the harvest season. Let us try to observe it precisely. And what we have done unseemly throughout the year, let us wipe them out now with a broken heart and humbled by fasting. Of course, we must also observe the other three fasts, namely those of the holy Apostles, the Theotokos and Christmas, since our Fathers defined these four fasts, one for each season of the year. Here, however, they honored her more because of the holy Passions, and because Moses first fasted for forty days and then received the Divine Law. He and Elias and Daniel and those who pleased God. That, therefore, fasting is a good thing is shown by the opposite example of Adam. That is why our Fathers now combined the exile of Adam with the beginning of this fast.

The Church allows believers to consume dairy products, eggs, fish and olive oil, but forbids eating meat.

On the Saturday of Tyrini, the women made the psyhoudia, small round breads with the seal in the middle, as a prophor. On this special day, the children would go to the cemetery, take from a psykoudi and pray. The women, along with the souls, also had an iron of the iron with burning coals, to throw it together with incense on the grave. For the souls, before they left the cemetery, they left a morsel of soul soaked in wine.

The Sunday of Tyrini began with the established church service. And then they would gather at the houses of the relatives and the feast would begin centered on the "table".

Before the meal began, or even after, the relatives asked for forgiveness from the elders and forgave each other so that they could begin Lent with a clean heart and a calm conscience.

The preeminent food of the last Halloween was macaroni or "macaroons". In the past, spaghetti had to be homemade and housewives made it with great art and skill. Although the "rule" was for relatives to bring some food, in some places the pasta was necessarily made by the grandmother of the house at her own expense.

In Arcadia, there was even a tradition for single people to "steal" a piece of macaroni and put it under their pillow, to dream of who they will marry!

The Vlach communities of the mountainous regions of central Greece made traditional milk pies, cheese pies or trachana pies.

On the island of Karpathos, according to tradition, everyone was invited to the mayor's house, where there was a large buffet of fish, dairy products, cheese and sweets.

In Milos and Kea the remains of the food from the feast of the Cheese Eater were left on the table until the next morning, in case the "ghost of the house" got hungry during the night.

A special custom also took place in Crete. The housewife kept the cheese that was left over from Tyrini and took it with her to the Resurrection and, when the priest said "Christ is Risen", she distributed it to her relatives, so that they would not make monks (dothiens).

The custom of "haskari" and its symbolism

Another Cheese Eater custom was to end the evening meal with eggs, boiled or baked in the fireplace.

In some regions of Greece, family members would bake their eggs near the hearth of the fireplace and wait to see whose egg would "sweat" first, a sign that he would have a good year.

The most entertaining and pan-Hellenic known custom was "haska", "haskari", "hapsaru", "hapsalo", "Kaskari" a game with a cleaned egg (rarely uncooked). They would tie the egg with a thread from the ceiling and someone would spin it. Whoever caught it in their mouth was the lucky one. Elsewhere the egg was tied with thread to a long stick that the householder shook. Elsewhere, the children were trying to catch it with their mouths, kneeling and with their hands tied. The symbolism of this tradition was that it is good to "clog" their mouths with egg and to "unclog" them at Easter, again with egg!

In some places, such as in Kozani and Kastoria, they believed that the custom with the egg was done "to make the spring and the wheat", a belief based on the rejuvenating power of the egg as a carrier of life.

Λειτουργικά κείμενα
Κοντάκιον
Ἦχος πλ. β’.
Τῆς σοφίας ὁδηγέ, φρονήσεως χορηγέ, τῶν ἀφρόνων παιδευτά, καὶ πτωχῶν ὑπερασπιστά, στήριξον, συνέτισον τὴν καρδίαν μου Δέσποτα. Σὺ δίδου μοι λόγον, ὁ τοῦ Πατρός Λόγος, ἰδοὺ γὰρ τὰ χείλη μου, οὐ μὴ κωλύσω ἐν τῷ κράζειν σοι· Ἐλεῆμον, ἐλέησόν με τὸν παραπεσόντα.