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Orthodox Liturgy and Calendar - February 2015
7, Feb 2015 - 09:48

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Sunday 8th February Eastern Orthodox Liturgy 230pm Church of the Holy Rosary Castlebar with novena to Saint Sharbel and anointing with holy oil from Saints tomb for all present all are most welcome details 0876564738

Lent begins on Sunday 15th February please refer to fasting rules (below) and fast begins on Monday 16th February " Clean Monday" contact clergy for confessions throughout lent and special services.


Monday The Apostles Aquila and Priscilla (1st) St Martinian of Caesarea In Palestine (5th)
Sts Zoe and Phontinia (5th) St Eulogius, Archbishop of Alexandria (607-8) St Stephen (In Monasticism Symeon), The Myrrh-Flowing, Prince of Serbia (1199)

Tuesday St Maron, Hermit, of Syria (5th) St Abraham, Bishop of Charres In Mesopototamia (5th) St Auxentius of Bithynia (C470)
Repose of St Cyril Equal-To-The-Apostles and Teacher of The Slavs (869) St Isaac The Recluse, of The Kiev Caves (1090)

Wednesday Fast Day Apostle Onesimus, of The Seventy (C109) St Antimus of Chios (1960)

Thursday Martyr Pamphilus At Caesarea In Palestine (307-9) St Flavian The Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople (449)

Friday Fast-Day Great Martyr Theodore The Recruit (C306) St Mariamne, Sister of Apostle Philip (1st)
Hieromartyr Hermogen, Patriarch of Moscow and Wonder-Worker of All Russia (1612)

Saturday Saturday of Meatfare. Memorial Saturday. St Leo The Great, Pope of Rome (461) St Agapetus The Confessor
Bishop of Synnada In Phrygia (4th)

Sunday Sunday of Meat-Fare Sunday of Last Judgement.
Apostles Archippus and Philemon, of The Seventy, and Martyr Apphias (1st)
New Martyr Philothei of Athens (1589) St Theodore (Ushakov) of Sanaskar (1791)

Monday St Leo, Bishop of Catania (Sicily C780) St Dionysius, Pope of Rome (268)
Hieromartyr Sadoc (Sadoth) Bishop of Persia (342-4) St Agathon, Pope of Rome (682)

Tuesday Meat-Fast St Symbola In Bithynia (9th). St Eustathius, Archbishop of Antioch (C3370

Wednesday Meat-Fast Uncovering of Relics of Martyrs At Gate of Eugenius At Constantinople (395-423)
St Athanasius The Confessor, of Constantinople (826)

Thursday Meat-Fast Hieromartyr Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (167) St Alexander, Founder of The Monastery
of The Unsleeping Ones (C430) St John The Harvester (Theristis) of Mt Consolino (Calabria 11th) St Polycarp
of Briansk (1620-1) St Zenobius, Metropolitan of Tetri-Tskaro (Russia, Georgia 1985)

Friday Meat-Fast First (4th) Second (452) Finding of The Honourable Head of Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.

Saturday Meat-Fast Saturday of Cheese-Fare Commemoration of All Monks and Nuns.
St Tarasius, Patriarch of Constantinople (806)

Sunday Meat-Fast Sunday of Cheesefare. The Expulsion of Adam From Paradise. Forgiveness Sunday.
Martyr Photini (Svetlana) The Samaritan Woman (1st) St Porphyrius, Bishop of Gaza (420)

Monday Fast-Day First Week of Great -Lent
St Procopius The Confessor of Decapolis (8th)
St Thallelaeus, Hermit of Syria (460) Great Canon of St Andrew.

Tuesday Fast-Day St Basil The Confessor, Companion of St Procopius At Decapolis (750)
Sts Marana and Cyra (Syria 4th -5th) St Nicolas Salos of Pskov, Fool-For-Christ (1576)

Wednesday Fast-Day St John Cassian The Roman (435) Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete.

Thursday Fast Day prayers for all Saints of Russia.

The season of Great Lent started on Sunday 15th February till Holy Saturday night midnight here is guidance for all Eastern Orthodox Catholics.

Non-fasting Periods
For the Christian, all foods are clean. When no fast is prescribed, there are no forbidden foods.

Weekly Fast
Unless a fast-free period has been declared,Eastern and Orthodox Christians are to keep a strict fast every Wednesday and Friday. The following foods are avoided:

Meat, including poultry, and any meat products such as lard and meat broth.
Fish (meaning fish with backbones; shellfish are permitted).
Eggs and dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, etc.)

Olive oil. A literal interpretation of the rule forbids only olive oil. Especially where olive oil is not a major part of the diet, the rule is sometimes taken to include all vegetable oils, as well as oil products such as margarine.
Wine and other alcoholic drink. In the Slavic tradition, beer is often permitted on fast days.

How Much?
Sad to say, it is easy to keep the letter of the fasting rule and still practice gluttony. When fasting, we should eat simply and modestly. Monastics eat only one full meal a day on strict fast days, two meals on "Wine and oil" days (see below). Laymen are not usually encouraged to limit meals in this way: consult your priest.

The Church has always exempted small children, the sick, the very old, and pregnant and nursing mothers from strict fasting. While people in these groups should not seriously restrict the amount that they eat, no harm will come from doing without some foods on two days out of the week - simply eat enough of the permitted foods. Exceptions to the fast based on medical necessity (as with diabetes) are always allowed.

Communion Fast
So that the Body and Blood of our Lord may be the first thing to pass our lips on the day of communion, we abstain from all food and drink from the time that we retire (or midnight, whichever comes first) the night before. Married couples should abstain from sexual relations the night before communion.
When communion is in the evening, as with Presanctified Liturgies during Lent, this fast should if possible be extended throughout the day until after communion. For those who cannot keep this discipline, a total fast beginning at noon is sometimes prescribed.

The Lenten Fast
Great Lent is the longest and strictest fasting season of the year.

Week before Lent ("Cheesefare Week"): Meat and other animal products are prohibited, but eggs and dairy products are permitted, even on Wednesday and Friday.

First Week of Lent: Only two full meals are eaten during the first five days, on Wednesday and Friday after the Presanctified Liturgy. Nothing is eaten from Monday morning until Wednesday evening, the longest time without food in the Church year. (Few laymen keep these rules in their fullness). For the Wednesday and Friday meals, as for all weekdays in Lent, meat and animal products, fish, dairy products, wine and oil are avoided. On Saturday of the first week, the usual rule for Lenten Saturdays begins (see below).

Weekdays in the Second through Sixth Weeks: The strict fasting rule is kept every day: avoidance of meat, meat products, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

Saturdays and Sundays in the Second through Sixth Weeks: Wine and oil are permitted; otherwise the strict fasting rule is kept.

Holy Week: The Thursday evening meal is ideally the last meal taken until Pascha. At this meal, wine and oil are permitted. The Fast of Great and Holy Friday is the strictest fast day of the year: even those who have not kept a strict Lenten fast are strongly urged not to eat on this day. After St. Basil's Liturgy on Holy Saturday, a little wine and fruit may be taken for sustenance. The fast is sometimes broken on Saturday night after Resurrection Matins, or, at the latest, after the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.

Wine and oil are permitted on several feast days if they fall on a weekday during Lent. Consult your parish calendar. On Annunciation and Palm Sunday, fish is also permitted.

Apostles' Fast
The rule for this variable-length fast is more lenient than for Great Lent.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Strict fast.
Tuesday, Thursday: Oil and wine permitted.
Saturday, Sunday: Fish, oil and wine permitted.
This is the rule kept by many monasteries during non-fasting seasons.

Dormition Fast
Fasting during the two-week Dormition fast is like that during most of Great Lent:
Monday-Friday: Strict fast.
Saturday and Sunday: Wine and oil permitted.

Nativity Fast.
During the early part of the fast, the rule is identical to that of the Apostles' Fast. During the latter part of the fast, fish is no longer eaten on Saturdays or Sundays. In different traditions, this heightening of the fast may be for either the last week or the last two weeks.

Other Fasts
The Eve of Theophany, the Exaltation of the Cross and the Beheading of John the Baptist are fast days, with wine and oil allowed.

Fast-free Periods
Complementing the four fasting seasons of the Church are four fast-free weeks:
Nativity to Eve of Theophany.
Week following the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee.
Bright Week - the week after Pascha.
Trinity Week - the week after Pentecost, ending with All Saints Sunday.

The Marital Fast
Married couples are expected to abstain from sexual relations throughout the Church's four fasting seasons, as well as on the weekly Wednesday and Friday fasts. (This aspect of the fasting rule is probably even more widely ignored, and more difficult for many, than those relating to food. In recognition of this, some sources advocate a more modest, minimal rule: couples should abstain from sexual relations before receiving Holy Communion and throughout Holy Week.)

Health Concerns
During fasting seasons, avoiding prohibited foods poses no health risk as long as adequate amounts of other foods are taken. Calcium intake and adequate calories may be a concern for growing children and pregnant and nursing mothers. Calcium-fortified orange juice is an easy way to guarantee plentiful calcium intake while avoiding dairy products. Nuts and nut butters are a good source of calories for those who need to maintain weight on a Lenten diet.
If you are new to fasting, you may find the onset of hunger pangs distressing. Hunger pangs are not harmful; they are simply part of the fast.
The first few days of a long fasting period are often the most difficult. Do not be discouraged by headaches, fatigue, etc. at the beginning of a fasting season - they will disappear or reduce in intensity. If you are troubled by lethargy, try moderate exercise. A short walk can make a surprising difference in your energy.

At the Grocery Store. Read the ingredient lists on processed and packaged foods. Butter, milk solids, whey, meat broth and lard are common additives.

If you are baffled by what to cook during the fast, consult any of the many vegetarian cookbooks now available in bookstores or your public library. Several good "Lenten cookbooks" are on the market.

The rules given here are of course only one part, the most external part, of a true fast, which will include increased prayer and other spiritual disciplines, and may include resolutions to set aside other aspects of our day-to-day life (such as caffeine or television), or to take up practices such as visiting the sick.

Obviously, many Orthodox do not keep the traditional rule. If you adopt it, beware of pride, and pay no attention to anyone's fast but your own. As one monastic put it, we must "keep our eyes on our own plates."

Do not substitute the notion of "deciding what to give up for Lent" for the rule that the Church has given us. First, keep the Church's fasting rule as well as you are able, then decide on additional disciplines, in consultation with your priest.

We are always advised to fast according to our strength, and you may find from experience that you need to modify the fasting rule to fit your own strength and situation. But do not assume beforehand that the rule is too difficult for you. The Lord is our strength, and can uphold us in marvelous and unforseen ways.

Those who attempt to keep the Church's traditional fast will find that, though the temptations to pride and legalism are real, the spiritual benefits are great. A return to more diligent fasting could play a large part in the spiritual renewal of our Orthodox churches.

Sayings on Fasting

St Symeon the New Theologian:'Let each one of us keep in mind the benefit of fasting... For this healer of our souls is effective, in the case of one to quieten the fevers and impulses of the flesh, in another to assuage bad temper, in yet another to drive away sleep, in another to stir up zeal, and in yet another to restore purity of mind and to set him free from evil thoughts. In one it will control his unbridled tongue and, as it were by a bit, restrain it by the fear of God and prevent it from uttering idle and corrupt words. In another it will invisibly guard his eyes and fix them on high instead of allowing them to roam hither and thither, and thus cause him to look on himself and teach him to be mindful of his own faults and shortcomings. Fasting gradually disperses and drives away spiritual darkness and the veil of sin that lies on the soul, just as the sun dispels the mist. Fasting enables us spiritually to see that spiritual air in which Christ, the Sun who knows no setting, does not rise, but shines without ceasing. Fasting, aided by vigil, penetrates and softens hardness of heart. where once were the vapors of drunkenness it causes fountains of compunction to spring forth. I beseech you, brethren, let each of us strive that this may happen in us! Once this happens we shall readily, with God's help, cleave through the whole sea of passions and pass through the waves of the temptations inflicted by the cruel tyrant, and so come to anchor in the port of impassibility.
'My brethren, it is not possible for these things to come about in one day or one week! They will take much time, labor, and pain, in accordance with each man's attitude and willingness, according to the measure of faith and one's contempt for the objects of sight and thought. In addition, it is also in accordance with the fervor of his ceaseless penitence and its constant working in the secret chamber of his heart that this is accomplished more quickly or more slowly by the gift and grace of God. But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity'.
- Symeon the New Theologian: the Discourses, pub. Paulist Press. pp. 168-169.

Mother Gavrilia of blessed memory spent much time traveling in the service of Christ to places that separated her from the daily liturgical life of the Church. Especially during these times, the advice of her spiritual father Archimandrite Lazarus Moore stood her in good stead:
'Fasting is one of our greatest weapons against the Evil One. I will repeat what Father Lazarus told me once. In 1962, I went to the USA. I stayed there a long time and travelled to many states. The letters of Father Lazarus were a great help... He used to say: "Go anywhere you like, do whatever you like, as long as you observe Fasting"... Because not a single arrow of the Evil One can reach you when you fast. Never.'
- Ascetic of Love, the biography of Mother Gavrilia, pub. Series Talanto. pg. 200.

St Seraphim of Sarov on Fasting: 'Once there came to him a mother who was concerned about how she might arrange the best possible marriage for her young daughter. When she came to Saint Seraphim for advice, he said to her: "Before all else, ensure that he, whom your daughter chooses as her companion for life, keeps the fasts. If he does not, then he is not a Christian, whatever he may consider himself to be."'
- From a sermon of Metropolitan Philaret, quoted in The Ladder of Divine Ascent, pub. Holy Trinity Monastery,

Abba Daniel of Sketis: 'In proportion as the body grows fat, so does the soul wither away.'

Please note Monday 16th March ( Clean Monday) Great Lent begins for all Orthodox Catholics

Fast Day (Wine Oil) Second Saturday of Great Lent. Memorial Saturday. Martyr Quadratus of Cornith (267-268)

Fast Day (Wine Oil) Second Sunday of Great Lent. St Gregory Palamas.
St Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (638) Hieromartyr Pionius of Smyrna (250) St Alexis of Goloseievsk (Kiev 1917)

Fast Day Third Week of Great Lent.
St Theophanes The Confessor, of Sigriane (818) Righteous Phineas, Grandson of Aaron. St Paul Aurelian (Pol), Bishop of Leon (6th) St Gregory The Dialogist, Pope of Rome (604) St Symeon The New Theologian (1022)

Fast Day. Translation of Relics of St Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (846)

Fast Day. St Benedict of Nursia (543) St Theognostus, Metroploitian of Kiev and All Russia (1353)

Fast Day. Apostle Aristobulus, of The Seventy (1st) Martyrs Agapius, Publius and Their Companions At Caesarea In Palestine (303)

Fast Day. Hieromartyr Alexander, Pope of Rome (119) Martyr Sabinus of Egypt (287)
St Christodoulos of Patmos (1093) St Ambrose The Confessor, Catholicos of Georgia (1927)

thth Fast Day. (Wine Oil) Third Saturday of Great Lent. Memorial Saturday.
St Alexius The Man of God. (411) St Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Apostle To The Irish. (?461)
St Parthenius of Kiev (1855)

Sunday Third Sunday of Great Lent. Veneration of The Cross. St Cyril Archbishop of Jerusalem (386)
St Nicolas (Vvelimirovich) Bishop of Zhica (1956)

18th Fast Day. Fourth Week of Great Lent.
Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria At Rome (283) St Innocent of Komel, Disciple of St Nilus of Sora (Vologda 1521)

Tuesday Fast Day. Martyr Phontini (Svachariah Etlana) The Samaritian Woman (1st)
Fathers Who Were Slain At The Monastery of St Sabas Sts John, Sergius, Patrick and Others (796)

Fast Day. St James The Congessor, Bishop of Catania (8th-9th) St Serapion The Sindonite (Egypt 4th)
St Serapion, Bishop of Thmius (Egypt C356) St Thomas, Patriarch of Constantinople (610) St Seraphim of Byritsa, Monk (Russia 1949)

21nd Fast Day. Hieromartyr Basil of Ancyra (362-3) St Paul, Bishop of Narbonne (1st)
St Isaac, Founder of Dalmatiam Monastery At Constantinople (4th)

Fast Day Martyr Nikon In Sicily (251) St Nikon, Abbot of Kiev Caves (1088)
New Martyr Luke At Mytilene (1802)

Saturday Fourth Saturday of Great Lent.
Memorial Saturday. Forefeast of The Annunciation. Hieromartyr Artemius (Artemon) Bishop of Seleucia (1st-2nd)
St Zachariah The Recluse (Egypt 4th)

Fast Day (Fish, Wine Oil) Fourth Sunday of Great Lent. The Annunciation To Our Most Holy Lady, The Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary.
Repose of St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow (1925)

Fast Day Fifth Week of Great Lent.
Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel. Hieromartyr Irenaeus, Bishop of Sirmium In Hungary (303)
St Basil The New, Anchorite, Near Constantinople (10th)

Fast Day Martyr Matrona of Thessalonica (3rd-4th). Maryrs Philetas The Senator and His Wife Lydia, In Illyria (177-138) St John The Anchorite, of Lycopolis (Egypt 394-5) 27th Fast Day. St Hilarion The New, Abbot of Pelecete On Mt Olympus (Bithynia C754)

St Stephen The Wonderworker, Abbot of Trglia (Bithynia 9th) Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts

Fast Day. Hieromartyr Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, and Martyr Cyril The Deacon, of Heliopolis, Who Suffered Under Julian The Apostate (C364). St Diadochus, Bishop of Photice (5th)

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