At first glance this word is just another word originating from the Greek language and is used commonly in liturgical life of the Church. However, this word has taken on a number of meanings especially among North American Orthodox Christians.
We use the word “Triodion” to refer to a particular liturgical book used primarily by the cantors but also the clergy. This book contains all the special hymns and readings for the variety of services during the period of three weeks of preparation before, the six weeks of Great Lent, and (sometimes) the holy and great Week leading up to Pascha.
The second use of the word is in reference to a period of time, but that itself is confusing. Some people use the word Triodion to mean the entire nine weeks of preparation and Great Lent. Others prefer to use the term only in reference to the three weeks before the start of Great Lent. It’s difficult to call any of the above practices incorrect, while simultaneously recognizing that more preciseness may be desirable.
The word itself stems from the word “three” in Greek and it was originally used to identify that in the service of Matins the Canon is composed in three odes each. This specific rubric of our Matins service is prescribed throughout the entire period of nine weeks.
However, the most important aspect is to understand and internalize is not the detailed meaning of a term rather that this brings us into a period of time which prepares at first our minds, then bodies, and all together our entire being for the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. Each Sunday has a theme which serves as a new rung on the ladder that raises us toward Pascha. We begin the Triodion this Sunday with the commemoration of the Publican and Pharisee! Blessed Triodion!