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TRANSFIGURATION FAST (Mother-of-God’s Fast) – Father Gavril

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Today the fast begins, may it be blessed and easy for all of us. It lasts two weeks only. The Orthodox Church has established and directed this fast to be strict, without oil from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays oil is allowed for consumption. For the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ in addition to oil, fish is also allowed.

This is the right, Church rule of fasting, but there is also one traditional rule (which in a certain times and circumstances, partly is justified, but also most of the time is unjustified), which for our people became a deeply followed rule, that even obscures the right rule of fasting. According to this traditional rule, only the first week we are to fast without oil (even violating the rule of non-fasting during the Saturdays and Sundays) and after oil is allowed all the time. Some even do not fast during that period and without confession partake in the Holy Communion. We should be careful – in some circumstances even this (traditional) rule can be useful, but if we want to be true Christians and now we already know the right rule, we should try to fulfil the right one.

It should be emphasised that this is the general rule of the Church, but to each one of us, with the consent and blessing of our Spiritual Father, a personal rule is determined. However, no one should think that he can dismiss himself from the fasting self-willingly, as there are many cases when some priests and monks dismiss themselves for no reason from the fasting, and they even urge the laymen to do the same with the words: “Eat, I have allowed to…” or some laymen for no reason dismiss themselves from the fast.

The Church has determined royal and spiritual way that leads to eternal life. Those who want to fast should be careful not to take bigger yoke than what the Church has ordered, because if you fall, no one can lift you back up. Those who do not fast should start fasting, if they wish to be saved and their souls to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But if some people (beginners) can not immediately fast in accordance to the determined rule by the Church, with the consent and blessing of their Spiritual Fathers their fasting rule at the beginning can be relaxed and then, over time, they will try, and God will help them to implement the full rule, so after a while they will fast properly.

Fr. Gabriel

Abbot of the monastery “St. Clement of Ohrid”,

Kinglake, Melbourne, Australia


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