"In the Roman Catholic Church, by centuries-old tradition Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, this year falling on March 1," Igor Kovalevsky, head of the Conference of Russian Catholic Bishops, told RIA Novosti. "Ashes symbolize penitence and the frailty of human life."
Lent lasts for the 40 days before Easter and culminates in Holy Week, which commemorates the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion on what is now known as Good Friday.
Catholics are less observant of Lenten fasts than Russian Orthodox Christians, Kovalevsky said. Whereas Eastern traditions ban consumption of fish, eggs, dairy produce and meat throughout Lent, Catholics aged 14-60 simply cut down to one full meal and two smaller meals a day, and abstain from meat and poultry on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
"But we pay particular attention to the spiritual dimension [of penance]," Kovalevsky said, calling on the Russian Catholics to spend more time praying, reading the Scriptures, doing charitable work and attending church services.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Yury Gagarin: A down-to-earth person
Infographics: The Linguistic Diversity of the Planet
Ukraine has not preserved its 1991 borders. The signing of the Geneva memorandum on April 17 reaffirmed the willingness of Russia, the United States and EU countries to reach a compromise. While the sides continue to trade tough talk and symbolic sanctions, the Kremlin and the White House are also holding a parallel dialogue on the coordinated geopolitical revision of Eastern Europe.