Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for Holy and Great Lent 2013
Among the Saints are a group of holy people who were called by God to preach repentance, justice, and mercy - the Prophets. During this season of Great Lent, we encounter the message of the Prophets through readings and commemorations, and especially in their role of preaching the restoration and salvation that would come through the Incarnation and Passion of Christ. At the Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Great Lent, we sing: "The divinely inspired Prophets preached You in word and honored You in works.... They renounced the whole world for the Gospel's sake, and in their suffering they were conformed to Your Passion which they had foretold."
Patriarchal Catechetical Homily on the occasion of the beginning of Great Lent
The holy fathers, who arranged everything in an orderly manner, instituted a period of ascetic discipline and spiritual purification for forty days prior to the great feast of the Lord's resurrection.