Great Lent.

Today is the start of Great Lent in many eastern traditions of Christianity. May the Lord bless you all through this time leading up to the day of his resurrection. :byzsoc:

Yes, I hope you have a great Lent too,
so and so!! I pray that God will fulfill
His promise: “You shall search for Me
and find Me, if you search for Me w/
all your heart” Jer. 29:13

Vespers on Sunday Evening, with the Rite of Forgiveness
…Let us begin the fast with joy!
Let us prepare ourselves for spiritual efforts!
Let us cleanse our soul and cleanse our flesh!
Let us abstain from every passion as we abstain from food!
Let us rejoice in virtues of the Spirit and fulfil them in love!
That we all may see the Passion of Christ our God,
And rejoice in spirit at the holy Pascha!

Great Compline tonight:
O Lord of hosts, be with us, for beside Thee, we have no other helper in adversity; O Lord of hosts, have mercy on us.

I am hoping someone can provide me with a link, or direct information, about Byzantine fasting throughout the entire year. During Lent but also throughout the entire liturgical calendar. I have some specific questions:

  1. How is “fasting” defined?
  2. Are Wednesday and Friday abstinence days during the whole year?
  3. I read about the different levels of Lenten abstinence/fasting, one of which was “a glass of water and a small morsel of bread”, all during Lent. I can’t figure that out, given my Latin perception.
    Thank you in advance for any insight, links, etc. The internet is full of information, but it seems to be so contradicting, with 20 sites giving 20 different sets of rules!

Click on the above link to go to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese calendar. If you work your way through the year you can see which days are fasting, which fasting days oil and alcohol are permitted, which fasting days dairy is permitted and which fasting days fish is permitted.
On top of those days, we are also expected to fast the day before receiving Holy Communion.
Every Wednesday and Friday are fasting except in the two weeks after Pascha and the Nativity. Some fasting days are raw vegetables, fruit and nuts, such as the beheading of John the Forerunner. Fish is usually permitted when an important feast day falls on a fasting day. Otherwise, anything with a spine is considered as meat, fish included.

Thank you so much, Podromos, that is just what I needed!!

Note that the Oriental Orthodox have even more fasting days than Eastern Orthodox. In the EO it is just over half the year, not including fasting before Holy Communion. I thinnk the OO is close to 200 days.

Also, fasting days are also fasts from sexual intercourse, and it is usually expected that couples continue to abstain for 2 days after Holy Communion

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