Publican? Pharisee? What are they?

The Pharisee and the Publican (The Parables of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ), 1864, by Sir John Everett Millais, Wood engraving; proof on India paper, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1921 (21.68.4(19)) Photo: Public domain

In 2019, the terms “publican” and “Pharisee” are not commonly heard. Yet, this past Sunday was the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee. It marks the beginning of Triodion which is a pre-lenten period comprised of the four Sundays that precede Great Lent. The word Triodion, what does it mean? It is called Triodion because the canons in matins have only three odes. There is also a liturgical book called Triodion which is used in the Orthodox Church from the …

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  1. My Italian neighbors used to joke about the Italian families named the Sadduccis and the Farisis. More seriously we have to appreciate that the Pharisees were minimalists (the real meaning of fundamentalist, different from the bizarre connotation given by the left) and the Sadducees were traditionalists, but instead Jesus chose to partake of the syncretistic Samaritans.

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