H/T: Antiochian Archdiocese of Europe (here)
When the Holy Fathers took upon themselves the task of arranging Great Lent they decided that this walk towards Pascha should teach us the full meaning of fasting. For this reason they dedicated the first two Sundays of the fast to Dogmatic subjects, that is:
1. the adoration and honouring the Holy Icons and
2. Saint Gregory Palamas,
and the last two for ascetic personalities and saints, that is:
1. Saint John of the Ladder and
2. Saint Mary of Egypt the great penitent and desert dweller.
This was so that they might reveal the essential relationship between True Faith (Orthodoxy) and a true and virtuous life (Orthopraxy).
In the middle of the Fast they placed the Holy Cross as a sign and a pointer to srtengthen us and lead us forward during this difficult and challenging time of spiritual struggle.
From a homily on the Second Sunday of Lent delivered by Metropolitan John (Yazigi), current Patriarch of Antioch.