Orthodox Christians began the first week of Great Lent. On March 15, Metropolitan Lev of Novgorod and Old Russia celebrated Great Compline with the reading of the Great Penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete in St. Sophia Cathedral.
Lent is a time of repentance and preparation for the main Christian holiday — Easter, the Bright Resurrection of Christ. At the heart of fasting is conscious, voluntary self-restraint for the sake of freeing one's spiritual forces.
The Cathedral of St. Sophia of the Wisdom of God is the oldest surviving stone building in Russia, the temple was built from 1045 to 1050. St. Sophia Cathedral is open from 8 to 20 hours. Services are held at 10 and 18 o'clock.