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    I decided to pretend I’m Orthodox and follow the fasting schedule during Great Lent. Well, I’ve already failed.  :(  The Great Fast is three days after Cheesefare Sunday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday NOTHING can be ingested. Not even a MINT CANDY. How do I take my morning allergy pill???? Anyway, I made it through Monday, but failed this morning. I took a sip of coffee and it was downhill from there. How do people do this?

    Where I failed. I also learned a new word: Xerophagy. At least the Catholics can go to “All You Can Eat Friday Fish Frys.” The Orthodox can only have a Lobster or Octopus.  

    On weekdays in the first week, fasting is particularly severe. According to strict observance, in the course of the five initial days of Lent, only two meals are eaten, one on Wednesday and the other on Friday, in both cases after the Liturgy of the Presanctified. On the other three days, those who have the strength are encouraged to keep an absolute fast; those for whom this proves impracticable may eat on Tuesday and Thursday (but not, if possible, on Monday), in the evening after Vespers, when they may take bread and water, or perhaps tea or fruit-juice, but not a cooked meal. It should be added at once that in practice today these rules are commonly relaxed. At the meals on Wednesday and Friday xerophagy is prescribed. Literally this means ‘dry eating’. Strictly interpreted, it signifies that we may eat only vegetables cooked with water and salt, and also such things as fruit, nuts, bread and honey. In practice, octopus and shell-fish are also allowed on days of xerophagy; likewise vegetable margarine and corn or other vegetable oil, not made from olives. 

    The Orthodox are very strict. Especially the Serbians.

    Serbian Orthodox Church.

    It has come to our attention that several families have been misinformed regarding the Church’s fasting rules, especially the rules for children. Here we will list the general fasting rules for both children and adults. Those with special circumstances, (such as illness, pregnancy or nursing) should speak with the priest before relaxing these rules.

    In general, all people, (children included), should start following the Church’s fasting rules– no meat or dairy on Wednesdays or Fridays and during periods of fast– from age three. Once they reach age 7, they need to start coming to the priest for regular Holy Confession before they can commune. {HOW ARE YOU GONNA STARVE CHILDREN? “Mommy, I’m hungry. Can I please have just ONE crust of bread?” You know someone’s gonna call Social Services. “My parents are starving me!” :D}

    In order to partake of Holy Communion each week, one must follow the fasting schedule for that week. Parents of small children are expected to fast on their children’s behalf, at least on Wednesdays and Fridays and any other prescribed fasting days for that week.

    PLEASE NOTE: Despite what has somehow transformed into a lackadaisical Serbian “custom,” according to the Serbian Typicon: In general, FISH IS NOT ALLOWED ON FASTING DAYS, INCLUDING REGULAR WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS. There are some feast days where this rule is relaxed. Please consult our online calendar for specifics. Yeah, Serbs, stop being lackadaisical! :D 

    Those who fast on the prescribed days of the calendar, including every Wednesday and Friday, (except in the weeks following the Nativity of Our Lord, Pascha, and Pentecost), can partake each time they attend the Divine Liturgy, provided that they prepare themselves each time with prayer and repentance. The exception to this rule is during Bright Week, when the entire week of Sunday to Friday is liturgically considered to be one day. Therefore, NO FASTING is required on these days and the prayer rule is changed to singing the Hours of Pascha, instead of the normal pentitary prayers..

    Everyone who is fasting for Holy Communion needs to be sure not to eat or drink anything, or smoke until AFTER the liturgy is completed. Children under age 3 may eat or drink something light before the service, but certainly no food or drinks should be brought inside the church. The prayer rules for before and after receiving the Holy Gifts can be found in the Jordanville Prayer Book available at our bookstore, or you can download them here: Preparatory Prayers for Holy Communion  These prayers are necessary to be recited each time one communes.

    Women and girls are expected to approach the chalice with proper dress—no pants or sleeveless shirts— with their heads covered. This includes children. During their monthly cycles, women are not to partake of Holy Communion. Also, please do not approach the Holy Chalice or any of the holy icons with lipstick or lip balms on. The lipstick colors and oils stain these precious pieces making them quite difficult to clean. They also often come off on the lips of the next person who venerates that icon. Women can’t take Holy Communion when they have their periods? Why?

    It is of grave importance that we follow these rules and approach the Holy Mysteries with fear, having done all we can to prepare ourselves both physically and spiritually. We must not be at odds with anyone; rather we must forgive our brothers and sisters and ask them for their forgiveness if we have grieved them. Holy Communion is a beautiful Gift from God which enables us to literally become “one in flesh” with Him, as our bodies absorb the transubstantiated bread and wine. Scientifically it has been proven that when you don’t eat for eight hours or so, your mouth immediately absorbs and binds with the first thing you put into it. We should all try to take Holy Communion as often as possible, using these rules and guidelines as tools to draw us closer to God and perfect our obedience to and love for Him.

    Orthodox Church of America rule for Fasting. This is complex. One may need a Ph.d to fully understand the law.

    Fasting & Fast-Free Seasons of the Church

    Fasting Seasons

    Nativity (St. Philip’s Fast) – Nov. 15 through Dec. 24 
    Meatfast – Monday after the Sunday of Last Judgment through Cheesefare Sunday 
    Great Lent & Holy Week – 1st Monday of Great Lent through Great and Holy Saturday 
    Apostles’ (Peter & Paul) Fast – June 11 through June 28 
    Dormition (Theotokos) Fast – Aug. 1 through Aug. 14

    Fast-Free Weeks

    Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ to Theophany Eve – Dec. 25 through Jan. 4 
    The week following the Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee – 2nd Week of the Lenten Triodion 
    Bright Week – The week after Pascha until St Thomas Sunday 
    Trinity Week – The week after Pentecost until the Saturday before All Saints Sunday

    Fast Days

    The Wednesdays and Fridays of the Year, except for Fast-Free Weeks 
    The Eve of Theophany – January 5 
    The Beheading of St. John the Baptist – August 29 
    The Elevation of the Cross – September 14

    Concerning Fasting

    On the Calendar will be found notations concerning Fasting days and seasons. Where there is no indication of a fast given, this means that all foods may be eaten (except during Cheesefare Week, when meat is forbidden for every day). where the notation Fast Day is found, this means that a strict fast is observed, in which no meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, wine or oil are to be eaten.

    These rules are dependent on the Church’s cycle of feasts and fasts, and are contained in the Typikon, mainly in Chapters 32 and 33, repeated in appropriate places of the Menaion and Triodion. In general, except where otherwise noted, all Wednesdays and Fridays (Mondays also, in some monasteries) are kept as days of fasting (an exception being during the Fast Free periods), as well as the four canonical fasting periods (Great Lent, the Apostles’ Fast, the Nativity Fast and the Dormition Fast), and certain other days, including the Eve of Theophany, the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, and the Elevation of the Cross. We note here that there are many local variations in the allowances of wine and oil (and sometimes fish), such as on patronal feast days of a parish or monastery, or when the feast of a great Saint (or Saints) is celebrated which has particular local or national significance.

    While most Orthodox Christians are perhaps aware of the general rules of fasting for Great Lent, the rules for the other fasting periods are less known. During the Dormition Fast, wine and oil are allowed only on Saturdays and Sundays (and sometimes on a few feast days and vigils). During the Apostles’ Fast and the Nativity Fast, the general rules are as follows (from Chapter 33 of the Typikon):

    “It should be noted that in the Fast of the Holy Apostles and of the Nativity of Christ, on Tuesday and Thursday we do not eat fish, but only oil or wine. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we eat neither oil nor wine…. On Saturday and Sunday we eat fish. If there occur on Tuesday or Thursday a Saint who has a [Great] Doxology, we eat fish; if on Monday, the same; but if on Wednesday or Friday, we allow only oil and wine…. If it be a Saint who has a Vigil on Wednesday or Friday, or the Saint whose temple it is, we allow oil and wine and fish…. But from the 20th of December until the 25th, even if it be Saturday or Sunday, we do not allow fish.”

    Concerning the rules of fasting during the Great Lent, we quote the article, “The Rules of Fasting,” contained in The Lenten Triodion, translated by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos (Ware), Faber & Faber, London, 1978, pp. 35-37:

    What “precisely do the rules of fasting demand? Neither in ancient nor in modern times has there ever been exact uniformity, but most Orthodox authorities agree on the following rules:

    1. During the week between the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and that of the Prodigal Son, there is a general dispensation from all fasting. Meat and animal product may be eaten even on Wednesday and Friday.
    2. In the following week…the usual fast is kept on Wednesday and Friday. Otherwise there is no special fasting.
    3. In the week before Lent, meat is forbidden, but eggs, cheese and other dairy products (as well as fish) may be eaten on all days, including Wednesday and Friday.
    4. On weekdays (Monday to Friday inclusive) during the seven weeks of Lent, there are restrictions both on the number of meals taken daily and on the types of food permitted; but when a meal is allowed, there is no fixed limitation on the quantity of food to be eaten.
      1. d:
        1. meat;
        2. animal products (cheese, milk, butter, eggs, lard, drippings);
        3. fish (i.e., fish with backbones);
        4. oil (i.e., olive oil) and wine (i.e., all alcoholic drinks).
      2. On weekdays (Monday to Friday inclusive) in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth weeks, one meal a day is permitted, to be taken in the afternoon following Vespers, and at this one meal xerophagy is to be observed.
      3. Holy Week. On the first three days there is one meal each day, with xerophagy; but some try to keep a complete fast on these days, or else they eat only uncooked food, as on the opening days of the first week. On Holy Thursday one meal is eaten, with wine and oil (i.e., olive oil). On Great Friday those who have the strength follow the practice of the early Church and keep a total fast. Those unable to do this may eat bread, with a little water, tea or fruit-juice, but not until sunset, or at any rate not until after the veneration of the [Plashchanitsa] at Vespers. On Holy Saturday there is in principle no meal, since according to the ancient practice after the end of the Liturgy of St. Basil the faithful remained in church for the reading of the Acts of the Apostles, and for their sustenance were given a little bread and dried fruit, with a cup of wine. If, as usually happens now, they return home for a meal, they may use wine but not oil; for on this one Saturday, alone among Saturdays of the year, olive oil is not permitted.

    The rule of xerophagy is relaxed on the following days:

    1. On Saturdays and Sundays in Lent, with the exception of Holy Saturday, two main meals may be taken in the usual way, around mid-day and in the evening, with wine and olive oil; but meat, animal products and fish are not allowed.
    2. On the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and Palm Sunday fish is permitted as well as wine and oil, but meat and animal products are not allowed….
    3. Wine and oil are permitted on the following days, if they fall on a weekday in the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth week: [First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist (Feb. 24), Repose of St. Raphael (Feb. 27), Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (Mar. 9), Forefeast of the Annunciation (Mar. 24), Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel (Mar. 26), Repose of St. Innocent (Mar. 31), Repose of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow (Apr. 7), Holy Greatmartyr and Victorybearer George (Apr. 23), Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark (Apr. 25), as well as the Patronal Feast of the church or monastery].
    4. Wine and oil are also allowed on Wednesday and Thursday of the fifth week, because of the vigil for the Great Canon. Wine is allowed-and, according to some authorities, oil as well-on Friday in the same week, because of the vigil for the Akathist Hymn.

    It has always been held that these rules of fasting should be relaxed in the case of anyone elderly or in poor health. In present-day practice, even for those in good health, the full strictness of the fast is usually mitigated…. On weekdays-except, perhaps, during the first week or Holy Week-it is now common to eat two cooked meals daily instead of one. From the second until the sixth week, many Orthodox use wine, and perhaps oil also, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and less commonly on Mondays as well. Permission is often given to eat fish in these weeks. Personal factors need to be taken into account, as for example, the situation of an isolated Orthodox living in the same household as non-Orthodox, or obliged to take meals in a factory or school [lunchroom]. In cases of uncertainty each should seek the advice of his or her spiritual father [emphasis mine].”

    The following statement is extremely important to consider when we speak of fasting and fasting rules in the Church. “At all times it is essential to bear in mind that ‘you are not under the law but under grace’ (Rom. 6:14), and that ‘the letter kills, but the spirit gives life’ (2 Cor. 3:6). The rules of fasting, while they need to be taken seriously, are not to be interpreted with dour and pedantic legalism; ‘for the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Rom. 14:17).”



    This is too long to read, but from what I have read I can tell you no one here fasts like this. I don’t know a single person who fasts without fish, or with certain number of meals per they. There are a lot of fasting dishes that are pretty delicious. I eat this way 2-3 times of year, simply because that’s all there is at those three days. Fish, see food in general and vegetables are all good to go. Concerning alcohol it shouldn’t be drunk during the fast, but wine is ok, since it’s blood and all :D people of course use this loop hole, although many drink everything as usually.
    Interesting thing are slavas, if it’s during the fast the dishes should be prepared acording to that, but in my town Syrmians (locals who are here, in Syrmia, for longer time, like centuries) don’t do it, while Bosnians do it. Also in my mother’s birth region (in Bosnia) they fast if slava is on wednesday or friday. The point is no one prepares a modest feast for their slava, it’s as rich as it can be. Restaurants here usually have fast menus, even in our student cafeteria there’s going to be separated fast section on the line.
    I could be slightly off on some details. And a fun phrase for the end: Od volje ti k’o Šokcu post. Which means ~it’s optional like the Fast for a Šokac (regionalism for Croat/separate group among Croats/totally separate group, depends on who you ask, they’re Catholic in any case) 



    @Dušan Thank you so much for responding. :) Yes, all that text was too long for me for read and I am native English speaker.  :D So, again, thank you for reading some of that. I am glad to know Orthodox Slavs are not walking around starving for three days.  Especially small children! :D I was ready to eat my hand last night. haha.

    Your information was very clear and exactly what I wanted to know about Orthodox Lenten Fasting. 

    I did find some healthy and delicious looking Serbian Lenten recipes that I want to try.

    Serbian Roasted Eggplant-Pepper Spread Recipe – Ajvar

    Serbian Sweet Sauerkraut Salad Recipe

    Serbian Coleslaw and Potato Salad Recipes

    Serbian Meatless White Bean Soup Recipe – Pasulj

    Serbian Baked Beans Recipe – Prebranac

    Serbian-Croatian Salt Cod with Potatoes Recipe – Bakalar s Krumpirom

    Serbian Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe – Posna Sarma

    Serbian Lenten White Bread Recipe – Pogacha



    Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand“.  Romans 14:1-4
    I failed to fast the very first day, as a bowl of cereal with milk a day in the morning defeats the purpose.  So I looked to this, and stopped worrying that I’d get excommunicated for my “failures” as a good Russian Orthodox.



    @Karpivna glad I helped. Yeah those are some typical dishes, add fryed fish and fish soup and that’s pretty much it.
    @MikhailA you just reminded me on how most kids fail around here-milk chocolate bar.

    The point of the Fast should be apstaining from sinful thoughts, food is just extra.

    P.S. I probably have more spelling mistakes than usually cause I’m on my phone and I don’t have spellcheck here.



    In short animal source food is prohibited. Fish is allowed twice during 40 days of lenten fasting : on Palm Sunday and Annunciation.

    There are rules about plant source food. Days of the week on which cold or hot food can be eaten.  Days on which wine can be drunk. On Sundays and Saturdays vegetable oil and grape wine can be consumed.

    If we count all lenten fasting days , on average, there are 195 days in a year in eastern Orthodoxy calendar.



    Indeed, this is the first time I hear of an “all foods barred” type of fasting. Which would be especially strange for the Orthodox, considering traditionally, IIRC, around 2/3 of the year were actually various Lents, as Sviatogor said. Actually, my grandma’s currently fasting as well, but she eats fine – it’s just all vegan (if that can be called fine eating, of course).
    Otherwise, I’ve seen (and practiced) the “no food allowed” type of fasting only in our Protestant community. And it was always voluntary and often for just a single day (though, of course, I’ve heard stories of people who’ve gone over a month). And I think the Muslims (and/or the Jews?) only fast during the day, but can eat after sunset.



    As @Karpivna would say, “too much English”.
    But anyway…

    The Great Fast is three days after Cheesefare Sunday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday NOTHING can be ingested. Not even a MINT CANDY. 

    And then they invented “fast food”. It’s allowed. ;) :D



    @NikeBG  The last week of Lent is no-food fasting. I’m not saying no-meat-fasting is a cop-out, but it’s a cop-out. Eating cake is not fasting. Legalism is the yeast of the Pharisees.



    Do you ever feel like your ancestors are guiding you toward a certain path? I have felt that. Just when I’ve become more interested in exploring the Orthodox faith of my ancestors, and presently, Lenten/Pascha traditions, I am notified of this event.


    Pan-Orthodox Presanctified Liturgy & Lenten potluck

    This is the first of the Pan-Orthodox Presanctified Liturgies in our area for Lent 2018. Come and join us in the privilege of worshipping God at this lenten Liturgy. We will join in fellowship following the Liturgy for lenten potluck. Bring along your favorite lenten dish to share!
    Lenten food from Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Macedonia, etc. 




    Do you ever feel like your ancestors are guiding you toward a certain path?

    There’s another forum member, @Azid , who wrote:

    I never followed it, I always relied on those “inner voices” so to say. I
    believe those are my ancestors guiding me through life.



    @”Kapitán Denis” While I do believe in relying on “gut feelings,” I haven’t experienced ancestors “speaking to me directly.”  :D Plus, if I heard Slavic languages speaking to me in my head, this would be very worrying.  :D

    That said, I do, however, feel extremely drawn to the world of my Ukrainian ancestors. Whether my ancestors are truly guiding me cannot be known in a scientific way.



    Slavic religious artwork. I wonder who did this?
    Image may contain one or more people and people standing




    While I do believe in relying on “gut feelings,” I haven’t experienced ancestors “speaking to me directly.”

    I told him it might be schizophrenia, but he insists that it’s his ancestors.



    Beware the heresy eradication squads.

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