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Mt. Tabor Guide to Fasting for Lent

LENT - The Great Fast

between Forgiveness Sunday and Lazarus Saturday - 6 Weeks

Note: Neither Forgiveness Sunday nor Lazarus Saturday are part of the great fast, which is how the great fast lasts 40 days; Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday are Solemn feasts, but we'll still have some abstinence then; and Holy Week will add a 7th week to the fasting season before Pascha (Easter).

General Rules for the Weeks of Lent:

-Abstinence: No meat, no fish, no dairy products until Pacha.

I.e., None of these: flesh meat, pultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, oil, wine, etc. However, non-fishy sea food is allowed (oysters, clams, squid, etc.), and just a touch of oil may be used for cooking, oil in salad dressing is allowed, and one or two eggs (but not more) may be used for binding in foods such as cake.


-Saturdays & Sundays: The usual number of meals as in Ordinary Time.

-Mondays through Thursdays: Two "fasting meals" (morning and noon meals) each day, serving )for strength for work and for alertness for liturgical services) a choice of bread or fruit (but not both at the same meal); and water, tea, and fruit juice. The third meal (evening meal) is a full meal, though with full lenten abstinence -- see exception for first Monday of Lent.

-Fridays: Two "fasting meals" as described just above; and one light evening meal consisting of a hearty soup (not as thick as a stew) , fasting bread, tea, and water -- but nothing else: no salad, no chips, no dessert, no fruit juice, nor anything else. (The last Friday of Lent is not an exception, though it's right before a solemn feast of Lazarus Saturday.)

Exceptions to the General Rules of Lent, for Special Days:

-First Monday of the Great Fast: follow the rule for Fridays.

-First Friday of the Great Fast: Prepare Koliva (in honor of the miracle of great-martyr St. Theodore), and see that the koliva is brought to Presanctified Liturgy, that it may be blessed at the end of the service and brought in procession to be included in the supper.

-Annunciation to the Theotokos (March 25): This solemn feast is never a fasting day, regardless of when it occurs: three full meals are taken, though abstinence continues except that fish and oil are allowed in honor of the feast.

-5th Thursday (or 5th Tuesday, if transferred) of the Great Fast: Oil is allowed in honor of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete whom we celebrate then.

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