Fasting in the Orthodox faith consists of the practice of abstaining from certain foods, and even certain behaviors, during specific times of year. Fasting is also partnered with prayer and confession.
There are four major periods of fasting on the Orthodox calendar:
- The Great Lent is the period of six weeks preceding Holy Week in anticipation of the Feast of Feasts, Pascha, followed by the fasting of Holy Week. Great Lent is preceded by the Meatfast, that starts on the Monday after the Sunday of the Last Judgment through Cheesefare Sunday.
- The Nativity Fast (or Advent; also called St. Philip’s Fast, coming immediately after his feast on November 14), is the period from November 15 to December 24 (forty days) in anticipation of Christmas, the Festival of the Nativity of the Savior.
- The Apostles’ Fast is the period from the Monday after All Saints (a variable feast) to the feast day of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29.
- The Dormition Fast is the period of the first two weeks of August in anticipation of the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos.
Orthodox Christians also regularly fast on Wednesdays and Fridays to commemorate, respectively, Christ’s betrayal by Judas Iscariot and His Crucifixion.
Fasting varies, but usually includes abstinence from the following types of foods:
- meat (anything with a backbone),
- dairy products (eggs are in this or the previous category),
- olive oil
Marriages and other sacraments may be restricted during certain fast times.
For more information, please contact Father Bender through the Church Office at (412) 682-3866.