Remember the spirit of fasting – Our goal is to fast from sin! (Fr. Jason)
Orthodox Church has designated certain days and seasons when the faithful should abstain from particular foods as well as limit the portion of the foods that we eat. There are also days when fasting is not permitted, and its austerity decreased if an important feast falls on a fast day. Foods that Orthodox Christians fast from include: animal products such as meat, dairy products, fish (though shellfish is permitted), olive oil and wine (alcohol).
These are the general guidelines for the ecclesiastical year concerning fasting. For more information, please consult your ecclesiastical calendar. If you have any medical concerns, please consult your parish priest, and family doctor. Fasting is a discipline that should never be undertaken only for the sake of fasting, but so that our souls will be strengthened.
The fasts of the Orthodox Church include:
- Wednesdays and Fridays
- The Great 40—day Fast of Lent
- Holy Week
- The Fast of the Holy Apostles (the Monday following
- All Saints Sunday until June 28th (inclusive)
- The Fast of the Theotokos (August 1st until August 14th inclusive)
- The 40 day Fast of Christmas (from November 15th until December 24th inclusive) Fish may be eaten during this fast except on Wednesdays and Fridays until December 17th. From December 18th to the 23rd, wine and oil are permitted.
- The strict fast days of January 5th (Eve of Theophany); August 29th (Beheading of St. John the Baptist); and September 14th (Elevation of the Holy Cross). If these days should fall on a Saturday or Sunday, wine and oil are permitted.
The feasts of the Orthodox Church when fasting is not permitted, even on Wednesdays and Fridays include:
- The Christmas Feast (from December 25th until January 4th inclusive)
- The first week of the Triodion (the week after the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee)
- Bright Week (the week after Pascha)
- The week after the Feast of Pentecost 5.) The week after Cheesefare Sunday (all foods are permitted even on Wednesdays and Fridays, except meats)
Often major feasts always or sometimes fall on days or within seasons of fasting. On these feast days the following exceptions to the rules above are observed:
- March 25th (Annunciation of the Theotokos)
- June 24th (Birth of St. John the Baptist)
- August 6th (Transfiguration of our Lord) fish, wine and oil are permitted even on Wednesdays and Fridays
If the following feasts fall on a Wednesday or Friday, fish, wine and oil may be consumed:
- January 7th (Feast of St. John the Baptist)
- February 2nd (the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple)
- June 29th (Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul)
- August 15th (the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos)
- September 8th (Nativity of the Theotokos)
- November 14th (Feast of the Apostle Phillip)
- November 21st (Entrance of the Theotokos into the temple).
Fish, wine and oil are also permitted on the Saturday of Lazarus, Palm Sunday, the Wednesday of Mid-Pentecost and the Wednesday before the Ascension of our Lord