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Great Lenten Fasting Guidelines for 2022

If you currently do not fast regularly or at all… abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays

  • If you currently fast from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays… abstain from meat every day during Great Lent

  • If you currently fast… increase your fasting one “level” this year following the example above beginning with Wednesdays and Fridays.

Suggested Fasting Levels in the Orthodox Christian Tradition

1.       Abstain from meat

2.       Abstain from meat and dairy products and eggs

3.       Abstain from meat, dairy products and eggs, and fish

4.       Abstain from meat, dairy product and eggs, fish, and wine and oil

5.       Abstain from cooked foods

Fasting for Presanctified Liturgy - On Sunday we know (provided we are healthy and no other prohibitions from our doctor regarding fasting) that we should refrain from all food and drink until after we receive Holy Communion on Sunday mornings. But what if we are planning on receiving Holy Communion on Wednesday night, when should we fast?

For those adults who are physically able, we are asked to fast just as we would on Sunday morning all day from the time we awake until after we receive Holy Communion. It is acceptable to drink simple beverages such as coffee or tea or preferably water (not milk, milkshakes, beer etc) until about noon and then complete fast until Holy Communion. I must remind you that fasting is not meant to make you ill, but to be an offering to God and discipline of our bodies. If you become light headed or need some food, by all means have a small snack especially if you are in a situation where you must remain alert such as driving or other physical labor. If you must eat during the day, a light breakfast and light lunch should be sufficient followed by a complete fast following lunch until Holy Communion.

For those children who already fast on Sunday morning, they should be asked to follow as much of the fast as they are able. As parents this will require discernment in how our children are behaving and feeling. Again it is not meant to make our children ill, however, many times our children can fast more than we realize, and it should be encouraged as an offering to God and spiritual discipline. For children who do not yet fast, a small snack should be offered around 4pm.

For everyone who is receiving Holy Communion, or Holy Unction or any other Mystery (Sacrament) of the Church, the Church teaches us to fast in preparation and we should do this to the best of our abilities. Great Lent is a perfect time to exercise our free will and to offer our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” Romans 12.11) 

It has always been the understanding of the Church that fasting is forbidden for those who have a medical condition requiring food for medications or other requirements such as pregnant and nursing mothers. We must remember that fasting is a spiritual discipline and not meant to cause physical harm. These suggestions are for your spiritual growth, and are not meant to obligate you in any way. You should speak with your spiritual father about your specific fasting situation.

Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at 06:00

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