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The Advent Fast

fr lourie Nov 24, 2021

The Nativity Fast is divided into two periods.

The 1st period is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine and oil) is observed with katalysis (allowance or permission) for wine and oil on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and for fish, wine and oil on Saturdays and Sundays.

The 2nd period is December 20th through 24th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine and oil) is observed with katalysis for wine and oil only on Saturday and Sunday.

Fasting Guidelines

The purpose of fasting. The purpose of fasting is to focus on the things of God’s Kingdom and be freed from dependence on worldly things. Fasting in itself is not a means of pleasing God.  

Fasting is not a punishment for our sins.  Nor is fasting a means of suffering and pain to be undertaken as some kind of atonement. 

Christ already redeemed us on His Cross.  Salvation is a gift from God that is not bought by our hunger or thirst.

 We fast to be delivered from carnal passions so that God’s gift of Salvation may bear great fruit in our lives.  

We fast and turn our eyes toward God in His Holy Church. 

Fasting and Prayer are meant to go together.

Most of all, it is important that we do not eat each other.  We ask God to “set a watch and keep the door of our lips.”

Fasting is not irrelevant, is not obsolete, is not something for someone else. Fasting is from God, for us, right here and from God, for us, right here and right now.

We fast faithfully and in secret, not judging others and not holding ourselves up as an example.


“Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all our hearts and always patiently await union with Him?

Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbor?

Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven?

We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected.

Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a helper, who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue.”

St. Nektarios of Aegina and Pentapolis

“For the value of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it.

Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works!

Is it said by what kind of works? If you see a poor man, take pity on him!

If you see an enemy, be reconciled to him!

If you see a friend gaining honor, envy him not!

If you see a (lovely) woman, pass her by!

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies.” –

St. John Chrysostom


Fr Stephen Lourie

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