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#424321 02/12/24 01:43 PM
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Good morning y'all and God bless!

This will be my family's first Great Fast; we started attending the Divine Liturgy just after Pascha last year.
Today I seek some advice for how to approach the Great Fast, what is the expectation, and what are some traditions and meals that you all appreciate in your own households?
Is the entire fast meatless or vegan essentially? What devotions could we start in our house during this time? Any tips for having 5 kids under the age of 8, should we make them observe fast that says no to animal byproducts?
I know what the Roman Rite would say in a lot of instances, but it also gets criticism for being too lax in it's disciplines.
Also, yesterday after the Liturgy, since it was Cheese-Fare, there was a lot of food at our church. Most all of it was pasta, vegetables, and pastry. Though, I was a bit surprised since there was no meat but there was dairy. Is there a reason for not having meat on Cheese Fare if the fast begins the day after?
Any suggestions or resources that can be shared would be appreciated greatly. I would like to apologize in advance if this is posted in the wrong area.

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Christ is in our midst!!

Francis W.,

Welcome to the forum.

The reason there was no meat was that the previous Sunday was "Meat Fast Sunday." That means that for the whole prior to Cheese Fast Sunday, meat was not eaten and would not be eaten until Pascha. The Byzantine practice is to "ease" you into the Great Fast. You go without meat first; then dairy; then the rest follows after "Clean Monday" which happens today.

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Christ is in our midst....He is and ever shall be!

One of the best articles about Fasting, containing some very practical steps on how to "ease into" the full discipline can be found here:

https://www.goarch.org/-/when-you-fast

"Below is a guide of some levels of fasting:

Level one -- Fast from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays and during Holy Week
Level two -- Fast from meat and fish on Wednesdays and Fridays and during Holy Week
Level three -- Fast from meat the entirety of Lent and Holy Week
Level four -- Fast from meat and fish the entirety of Lent and Holy Week
Level five -- Level four and eliminate dairy products during Holy Week
Level six -- Level four and eliminate dairy products on Wednesday and Fridays and during Holy Week.
Level seven -- Level four plus eliminate dairy products during all of Lent and Holy Week
Level eight -- Level seven plus eliminate oil and wine during Holy Week
Level nine -- The strict fast - no meat, fish, dairy products, wine or oil during the entirety of Great Lent

**Fish is allowed on March 25 (Annunciation) and Palm Sunday; oil and wine are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays, except for Holy Saturday.

After a few years at one level, challenge yourself to go up a level. "

Keep a Good Lent!

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Here is material from the Melkite Eparchy in the United States.

https://melkite.org/faith/faith-worship/holy-week-traditions

Rule for Fasting and Abstinence
Fasting for the Eastern Catholic means there is no consumption of solid food from midnight until noon. Abstinence is refraining from eating meat, dairy products, eggs, alcohol, fish and olive oil. Three approaches to fasting and abstinence have developed. These might be called 1) the Law – that is required of us, 2) the Tradition – that which devout followers adhere to, and 3) the Compromise – that which is most widely accepted. The Holy Synod has permitted each eparch to ease the obligations of fasting while, at the sometime, exhorting all of the faithful to fast according to the ancient tradition. The minimal obligations for the Eparchy of Newton is the approach referred to as the Law.

The Law – that which is required:

The first day of Great Lent and the last three days of Holy Week are days of fasting
All Fridays of Great Lent are days of abstinence from meat
Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence

The Tradition – that which the devout follow:

Every day of Great Lent is a day of fast and abstinence
On Saturday and Sunday fish, wine and olive oil are permitted.
Saturday and Sunday are not Fast days – food may be taken at any time.
Certain feast days are treated like Saturday and Sunday

Customary Compromises

The First, Middle and Last weeks of Great Lent are kept strictly. The other weeks are relaxed.
Abstinence from meat on all days of Lent.
Abstinence from meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent.


Also, the minimal fasting requirements for the Byzantine Metropolitan Church sui iuris of Pittsburgh is abstinence from meat, dairy and eggs on the first day of the fast and on Good Friday. Abstinence of meat is on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Good luck with the fast, just make sure you and your spouse are on the same page.

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Two points:

One: Consult. with your Spiritual Father and follow his direction.

Two: Choose a level (see my previous post) which "works" for you and stick with that--perhaps occasionally exceeding that.

Last edited by Fr. Deacon Thomas; 02/16/24 04:33 AM.

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