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General Rules

For our Holy Fathers, the purpose of the entire Triodion was to remind us in brief of Godís benefaction to us from the beginning and to instill in the memory of all how we were fashioned by Him, and how we violated the commandment which He gave us for the sake of our nakedness; how we were banished from the delight of Paradise and expelled through the envy of our enemy the serpent, the Author of evil, who was brought down on account of his pride, and how we remained outcasts from the good things of Paradise and were led around by the Devil; how the Son and Word of God, moved by compassion, bowed the Heavens and came down, dwelt in the Virgin and became man for our sake, and through His own way of life showed us how to ascend back to Heaven, through humility, fasting, and refraining from evil deeds, and through His other actions; how He suffered, arose, and ascended to the Heavens, and sent forth the Holy Spirit upon His Holy Disciples and Apostles; and how He was proclaimed Son of God and perfect God by them throughout the world; what the Divine Apostles accomplished through the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit; and that they gathered together all the Saints from the ends of the earth through their preaching, replenishing the world above, which was the goal of the Creator from the very beginning. 
This, then, is the purpose of the Triodion.

1. No fasting during the week after the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee.
2. Wednesday and Friday during the week after the Sunday of the Prodigal Son are fast days.
3. The weekdays after the Sunday of the Last Judgment all foods are eaten except meat.
4. On Clean Monday, the day after the Forgiveness Sunday, begins the fast of Great Lent
The Lenten Fast rules that we observe today were established within the monasteries of the Orthodox Church during the sixth through eleventh centuries. These rules are intended for all Orthodox Christians, not just monks and nuns.
The first week of Lent is especially strict. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, a total fast is kept. In practice, very few people are able to do this. Some find it necessary to eat a little each day after sunset. Many Faithful do fast completely on Monday and then eat only uncooked food (bread, fruit, nuts) on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, the fast is kept until after the Presanctified Liturgy.
From the second through the sixth weeks of Lent, the general rules for fasting are practiced. Meat, animal products (cheese, milk, butter, eggs, lard), fish (meaning fish with backbones), olive oil and wine (all alcoholic drinks) are not consumed during the weekdays of Great Lent. Octopus and shell-fish are allowed, as is vegetable oil. On weekends, olive oil and wine are permitted.
According to what was done in the monasteries, one meal a day is eaten on weekdays and two meals on weekends of Great Lent. No restriction is placed on the amount of food during the meal, though moderation is always encouraged in all areas of one's life at all times.
Fish, oil and wine are allowed on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and on Palm Sunday (one week before Easter). On other feast days, such as the First and Second Finding of the Head of Saint John the Baptist (February 24) the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (March 9), the Forefeast of the Annunciation (March 24) and the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel (March 26), wine and oil are permitted.


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Page created: 19-3-2013.

Last update: 19-3-2013.