Fasting Guidelines: Apostles’ Fast 2017

Ss. Peter and PaulOn Monday, June 12, we begin the Apostles’ Fast, one of the four canonical fasting periods of the Church year. The Apostles’ Fast always begins the Monday following All Saints Sunday and ends on June 29, the feastday of Ss. Peter and Paul, Chiefs of the Apostles. The duration of this fast varies each year depending on the date of Pascha (which determines the date of All Saints).

This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast for this year, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for publication by Fr. Nicholas Sorensen.

These guidelines are general. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of All Saints parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Nicholas.

The general guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast are as follows:

MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, and FRIDAYS are Strict Fast Days. On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, wine, and oil.

TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS are Wine and Oil Days. On these days the fast is relaxed to permit wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, and fowl.

SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS are Fish, Wine, and Oil Days. On these days the fast is further relaxed to permit fish with backbones in addition to wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, and fowl.

Notes:

  1. Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  2. If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  3. Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual father.

Paschal Icon

Fasting Guidelines: Great Lent 2017

This year, our journey through the Lenten fast to Pascha begins at Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday, February 26. The Church, in her wisdom, begins preparing us for this most-holy time in the weeks that precede the fast.  This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the pre-Lenten period of preparation, Great Lent, and Holy Week, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for publication by Fr. Nicholas Sorensen.

The guidelines in this post are general.  Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of All Saints parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Nicholas.

WEEKS OF PREPARATION 2016 (February 5 – 26)

Four Sundays of preparation precede Great Lent. The Church eases us into the fasting discipline during these weeks of preparation as follows:

  • February 5 is the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and the week that follows (February 6 – 12) is fast-free. There is no Wednesday or Friday fast this week.
  • February 12 is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and the week that follows (February 13 – 19) is a normal week. Wednesday and Friday of this week are fasting days.
  • February 19 is Meatfare Sunday (the Sunday of the Last Judgment) and on this day we say “farewell” to meat. During the week that follows (February 20 – 26) we fast from meat only. All dairy, cheese, eggs, wine, and oil are permitted during this week, even on Wednesday and Friday.
  • February 26 is Cheesefare Sunday (the Sunday of Forgiveness) and on this day we say “farewell” to cheese, dairy, eggs, wine, oil, etc. This begins the fast proper.

GREAT LENT AND HOLY WEEK 2017 (February 27 – April 15)

The Lenten fasting discipline commences after Forgiveness Vespers on February 26 and concludes with the breaking of the fast at Pascha on April 16.  In general, the fasting rules during Great Lent and Holy Week are as follows:

WEEKDAYS (Monday – Friday) are observed as Strict Fast Days.  On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, alcoholic beverages, and olive oil.

WEEKENDS (Saturday and Sunday) are observed as Wine and Oil Days.  On these days the fast is relaxed to permit alcoholic beverages and olive oil.

In addition, two special feastdays that fall during this period – Annunciation (March 25) and Palm Sunday (April 9, this year) – are kept as Fish, Wine, and Oil Days.  On these days the fast is relaxed to permit fish with backbones, in addition to alcoholic beverages and olive oil.

There are certain days of the Holy Week cycle that have special fasting rules.

  • Great and Holy Thursday (April 13, this year) is observed as a Wine and Oil Day due to the commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist.
  • Great and Holy Saturday (April 15, this year) is observed as a Strict Fast Day – the only Saturday of the year kept as a strict fast; however, wine (but not oil) is permitted.

Additional Notes:

  1. Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  2. Fasting on the weekdays of the first week of Great Lent is especially severe. The strictest observance would be to take only two meals during this week – one on Wednesday evening and one on Friday evening after the services scheduled for those nights – keeping Pure Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as absolute fasts (i.e., no food whatsoever). For many this is impracticable. A good starting place to work towards the strict observance is to keep the first day of Great Lent, Pure Monday, as an absolute fast and to limit meals on the other days.
  3. It is a pious practice to observe Great and Holy Friday as an absolute fast. If one does not have the strength to do this, it is good to abstain from food until after venerating the epitaphios (winding sheet) during Vespers on this day.
  4. If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  5. Before you attempt to strictly follow the fasting guidelines, consult with Fr. Nicholas. It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that fasting is merely a means to an end (that is, our salvation) and not an end in itself.
  6. Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual father.

Fasting Guidelines: Apostles’ Fast 2015

Ss. Peter and PaulOn Monday, June 8, we begin the Apostles’ Fast, one of the four canonical fasting periods of the Church year. The Apostles’ Fast always begins the Monday following All Saints Sunday and ends on June 29, the feastday of Ss. Peter and Paul, Chiefs of the Apostles. The duration of this fast varies each year depending on the date of Pascha (which determines the date of All Saints).

This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast for this year, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for publication by Fr. Nicholas Sorensen.

These guidelines are general. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of All Saints parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Nicholas.

The general guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast are as follows:

MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, and FRIDAYS are Strict Fast Days. On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, wine, and oil.

TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS are Wine and Oil Days. On these days the fast is relaxed to permit wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, and fowl.

SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS are Fish, Wine, and Oil Days. On these days the fast is further relaxed to permit fish with backbones in addition to wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, and fowl.

Notes:

  1. Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  2. If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  3. Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual father.

Fasting Guidelines: Nativity Fast 2014

The Nativity Fast begins this year on Saturday, November 15. This fast helps us prepare to properly celebrate our Lord’s nativity in the flesh and it is to our benefit to observe it as fully as possible.

Following are the guidelines for this fast, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for publication by Fr. Nicholas. These guidelines are general. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. You should consult your spiritual father if you have any specific questions about the fasting discipline as it applies to you.

Remember that almsgiving is a special part of this particular fast. Further, limiting one’s entertainments and increasing other aspects of one’s spiritual life – prayer, reading of the Bible and Church Fathers, attendance at Divine Services – is a part of every fast.

THANKSGIVING DAYOur bishops have decreed that the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese in the USA may relax the fast entirely to observe the Thanksgiving Day national celebration, which falls on November 27 this year.

GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THE NATIVITY FAST 2014

MONDAYs, WEDNESDAYs, and FRIDAYs of this fast are Strict Fast days. On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, alcoholic beverages, and olive oil.

TUESDAYs and THURSDAYs of the fast are Wine and Oil days. On these days the fasting discipline is relaxed a bit to permit wine and olive oil.

SATURDAYs and SUNDAYs of the fast are Fish, Wine, and Oil days. On these days the fast is relaxed even more to permit fish with backbones in addition to wine and oil.

During the forefeast of the Nativity, from December 20-24, our fasting is more strict. Each weekday that falls during this period is generally kept as a Strict Fast day, while any Saturday or Sunday is observed as a Wine and Oil day. The Eve of the Feast, December 24, however, is always kept as a Strict Fast day.

Foods that are permitted on all days are vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and shellfish.

EXCEPTIONS FOR THE NATIVITY FAST 2014

The fasting discipline varies from the general guidelines noted above according to the commemoration of the day.

The feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, November 21, is always kept as a Fish, Wine, and Oil day, no matter what day of the week it falls on.

In addition, the following days fall on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, or during the forefeast. Nevertheless, they are kept as Wine and Oil days due to the commemorations observed on such days:

  • DEC 05 – Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified
  • DEC 12 – Spyridon the Wondewsorker, Bishop of Trimythous

Please remember that abstaining from food during this period of preparation does us no good if we do not also, as St. John Chrysostom teaches us, fast with

… the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.

Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.

For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?


During the Paschal Season

Paschal Icon

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Because we always have so many new faces in our community, Fr. Nicholas has given me his blessing to post a brief description of the rubrics for the season. These guidelines are intended by our Holy Church to help us experience the joy of this feast and celebrate our Lord’s victory over death and sin more completely!

FASTING — There is a general dispensation from fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays from Pascha through its Leavetaking (this year, May 20) on the Eve of the Feast of the Ascension. Most Orthodox Churches throughout the world observe the Wednesdays and Fridays of the period following Bright Week as days of abstention and refrain from meat and dairy on those days (fish, wine, and oil are allowed); however, the Holy Synod of Antioch has directed that the entire 40-day period be completely fast-free. The Antiochian practice is actually the more ancient rule. So … feast!

KNEELING — We should not kneel or make prostrations in Church or in our private prayers at home from Pascha through Pentecost (this year, May 31).  Kneeling and prostrating are postures of repentance and sorrow for our sins.  The brilliant solemnity of the events that we are celebrating takes precedence over such external manifestations of penitence. For our Lord’s death and resurrection “blot[ted] out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us … nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:14,15) Accordingly, “[t]here is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus …” (Rom. 8:1) For these same reasons, we do not generally kneel on any Sunday of the year as each Sunday is a “mini-Pascha,” commemorating our Lord’s resurrection. We resume kneeling at appropriate times during the “Kneeling Vespers” celebrated after the Divine Liturgy for Holy Pentecost.

PASCHAL HOURS — During Bright Week, our normal prayer rules are altered. The standard Morning and Evening Prayers, the prayers of the Hours, Compline, the Midnight Office, and, according to some traditions, the prayers of thanksgiving after communion, should be replaced with the Paschal Hours. This office of prayer is brief, beautiful, and full of elements taken from the Paschal services. It is intended that praying the Paschal Hours are to give one a respite from the longer prayers he normally prays, so if one’s normal prayer rule is actually shorter than the Paschal Hours perhaps some adjustments are in order.  (Obviously, speak to Fr. Nicholas about adjustments.)

O HEAVENLY KING — From Pascha until Pentecost, the prayer “O Heavenly King,” wherein we invoke the presence of the Holy Spirit, is not said either in the Church or in our private prayers at home. Before His passion, Jesus taught His disciples that He must leave so that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, can come. (John 16:7) The removal of this familiar prayer from the cycle of the services emphasizes the importance of the descent of the Holy Spirit that we celebrate at Holy Pentecost. “O Heavenly King” will be heard again at the Aposticha of the Festal Great Vespers for Pentecost and thereafter returned to our services and prayers.

Blessed Feast to all!


Fasting Guidelines: Apostles’ Fast 2012

Ss. Peter and PaulOn Monday, June 11, we begin the Apostles’ Fast, one of the four canonical fasting periods of the Church year. The Apostles’ Fast always begins the Monday following All Saints Sunday and ends on June 29, the feastday of Ss. Peter and Paul, Chiefs of the Apostles. The duration of this fast varies each year depending on the date of Pascha (which determines the date of All Saints).

This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast for this year, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for publication by Fr. Nicholas Sorensen.

These guidelines are general. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of All Saints parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Nicholas.

The general guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast are as follows:

MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, and FRIDAYS are Strict Fast Days. On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, wine, and oil.

TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS are Wine and Oil Days. On these days the fast is relaxed to permit wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, and fowl.

SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS are Fish, Wine, and Oil Days. On these days the fast is further relaxed to permit fish with backbones in addition to wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, and fowl.

Note that the feastday of Ss. Peter and Paul, June 29, is observed as a Wine and Oil Day this year because it falls on a Friday.

Notes:

  1. Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  2. If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  3. Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual father.

Fasting Guidelines: Great Lent 2012

Pascha Icon

This year, our journey through the Lenten fast to Pascha begins at Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday, February 26. The Church, in her wisdom, begins preparing us for this most-holy time in the weeks that precede the fast.  This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the pre-Lenten period of preparation, Great Lent, and Holy Week, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for distribution by Fr. Nicholas Sorensen.

The guidelines in this post are general.  Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of All Saints parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Nicholas.

WEEKS OF PREPARATION 2012 (February 5 – 26)

Four Sundays of preparation precede Great Lent. The Church eases us into the fasting discipline during these weeks of preparation as follows:

  • February 5 is the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and the week that follows (February 6-12) is fast-free. There is no Wednesday or Friday fast this week.
  • February 12 is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and the week that follows (February 13-19) is a normal week. Wednesday and Friday of this week are fasting days.
  • February 19 is Meatfare Sunday (the Sunday of the Last Judgment) and on this day we say “farewell” to meat. During the week that follows (February 20 – 26) we fast from meat only. All dairy, cheese, eggs, wine, and oil are permitted during this week, even on Wednesday and Friday.
  • February 26 is Cheesefare Sunday (the Sunday of Forgiveness) and on this day we say “farewell” to cheese, dairy, eggs, wine, oil, etc. This begins the fast proper.

GREAT LENT AND HOLY WEEK 2012 (February 27 – April 14)

The Lenten fasting discipline commences after Forgiveness Vespers on February 26 and concludes with the breaking of the fast at Pascha on April 15.  In general, the fasting rules during Great Lent and Holy Week are as follows:

WEEKDAYS (Monday – Friday) are observed as Strict Fast Days.  On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, alcoholic beverages, and olive oil.

WEEKENDS (Saturday and Sunday) are observed as Wine and Oil Days.  On these days the fast is relaxed to permit alcoholic beverages and olive oil.

In addition, two special feastdays that fall during this period – Annunciation (March 25) and Palm Sunday (April 8, this year) – are kept as Fish, Wine, and Oil Days.  On these days the fast is relaxed to permit fish with backbones, in addition to alcoholic beverages and olive oil.

There are certain days of the Lenten-Holy Week cycle that have special fasting rules.

  • Great and Holy Thursday (April 12, this year) is observed as a Wine and Oil Day due to the commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist.
  • Great and Holy Saturday (April 14, this year) is observed as a Strict Fast Day-the only Saturday of the year kept as a strict fast; however, wine (but not oil) is permitted.

Additional Notes:

  1. Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  2. Fasting on the weekdays of the first week of Great Lent is especially severe. The strictest observance would be to take only two meals during this week – one on Wednesday evening and one on Friday evening after the services scheduled for those nights – keeping Pure Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as absolute fasts (i.e., no food whatsoever). For many this is impracticable. A good starting place to work towards the strict observance is to keep the first day of Great Lent, Pure Monday, as an absolute fast and to limit meals on the other days.
  3. It is a pious practice to observe Great and Holy Friday as an absolute fast. If one does not have the strength to do this, it is good to abstain from food until after venerating the epitaphios (winding sheet) during Vespers on this day.
  4. If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  5. Before you attempt to strictly follow the fasting guidelines, consult with Fr. Nicholas. It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that fasting is merely a means to an end (that is, our salvation) and not an end in itself.
  6. Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual father.

Fasting Guidelines: Apostles’ Fast 2011

Ss. Peter and PaulOn Monday, June 20, we begin the Apostles’ Fast, one of the four canonical fasting periods of the Church year. The Apostles’ Fast always begins the Monday following All Saints Sunday and ends on June 29, the feastday of Ss. Peter and Paul, Chiefs of the Apostles. The duration of this fast varies each year depending on the date of Pascha (which determines the date of All Saints).

This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast for this year, according to the general practice of All Saints parish and as approved for publication by Fr. Nicholas Sorensen.

These guidelines are general. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of All Saints parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Nicholas.

The general guidelines for the Apostles’ Fast are as follows:

MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, and FRIDAYS are Strict Fast Days. On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, wine, and oil.

TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS are Wine and Oil Days. On these days the fast is relaxed to permit wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, and fowl.

SATURDAYS and SUNDAYS are Fish, Wine, and Oil Days. On these days the fast is further relaxed to permit fish with backbones in addition to wine and oil, but we still abstain from meat, dairy, and fowl.

This year there is one exception to these general rules: Friday, June 24, the Nativity of the Forerunner. This commemoration is observed as a Wine and Oil Day even thought it falls on a Friday.

Note also that the feastday of Ss. Peter and Paul, June 29, is observed as a Wine and Oil Day this year because it falls on a Wednesday.

Notes:

  1. Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  2. If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  3. Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual father.