The first Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of Orthodoxy. Below is a short explanation of the feast and its history from the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center.
The First Sunday of Great Lent commemorates the Triumph of Orthodoxy: that is, the victory of the True Christian Faith over heresies, enemies, and other adversaries. This Sunday especially celebrates the restoration of the holy ikons and other holy images to Christian worship after the defeat of the Iconoclastic heresy (heresy of Iconoclasm) of the 8th and 9th Centuries. (The word "Orthodoxy" does not refer to the modern-day Orthodox Churches.)
Procession with the Holy Ikons and Presentation of the Holy Ikons for Veneration
On the First Sunday of Great Lent, we traditionally have a procession with the holy ikons at the end of the Divine Liturgy. The people are between the Holy Cross bearer and the priest. The people carry their favorite ikon from home three times around the Church. Then, everyone comes forward to venerate the ikons.
The reason for the procession with the holy ikons is:
To show that we understand the true meaning of images. Images remind us of transcendent realities, but we never mistake the images for the realities. That is, holy ikons of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ help us to focus on Him as Our Lord, God, and Savior, but we do not worship the actual ikons...
In the 7th and 8th centuries, a movement arose that declared that ikons were sinful and bad. This movement is now called "Iconoclastic heresy (heresy of Iconoclasm)". (In Greek, the word "Iconoclast" means "image smasher".) Iconoclasm banned and destroyed the use of ikons, statues, and all other images of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ and the saints. Many ikons were removed from churches and homes and were destroyed. The followers of this movement destroyed many ikons and statues, calling them idols, because they thought people worshiped the images instead of worshiping Holy God.
For Sunday school, one of the activities I have planned this year is Bingo using a variety of common icons. You can print the bingo sheets HERE. And, just in case you're not sure, the answer key is provided for you as well! Print this page and cut out the icons, then mix them up and start calling them out! Enjoy!