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churches, lent and spring

LENSTROM; lan'strem, Carl Julius, Swedish clergyman, poet and critic: b. Gefle, 9 May 1811; d. Vester-Llifsta. 6 April 1893. He was educated at the University! of Upsala and took orders in 1834. He was instructor in the history of literature at Upsala in 1836-43, and lecturer in philosophy at the Gymnasium at Gefle in 1843-45. From 1845 he was rector at Vester-Lofsta. His literary productions in cluded history, fiction, poetry, philosophy theology. Author of 'Bidrag till den svenska lesthetikens historia> (1840) ; a Swedish church history, 'Larobok i allmanna och svenska Kyrkohistorien> (1843) , in verse 'Cromwell' (1860) ; and 'Gustaf II Adolf' (1860) ; fyra Stinden, taflor ur svenskt sedelif> (1865), etc.

LENT (from Anglo-Saxon Lena, spring), the spring or vernal fast of the Christian Church as observed, in preparation for Easter, by members of the Greek. Roman and Anglican churches. The original fast of spring which preceded Easter was of 40 hours' duration, this being the number of hours that intervened between the death and resurrection of Christ.

Additional days were added, their number vary ing in different churches. Cassian (420 ..D.) says six or seven weeks was the period in the several churches, but none exceeded 36 fasting days. He affirms that the observance of Lent is not primitive. The historian Sozomen (440 A.D.) writes of the fast "The Quadragesimal fast before Easter some observe six weeks, as the Illyrians and Western churches; others make it seven weeks, as the Constantinopolitazis and neighboring churches." In the first three or four centuries much latitude was allowed in the observance of Lent; Chrysostom recom mends, but does not enforce it, insisting on the prior necessity of good works and alms-giving. Distinction of foods was not made in primitive times, when the greatest ascetics ate meat in Lent, though they abstained from eating until the evening. In its present form it dates from the 9th century. See FASTING; ASH WEDNES