Fasting In The Russian Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church’s teaching about fasting is not a common tradition that Russians know. So that, here they are some explanation about “Fasting In The Russian Orthodox Church” to help those people whom are seeking for the information.

The rules of fasting for the Orthodox Christians seem strict enough, especially for those who have not known it before. Moreover, it feels harder when the fasting day is indicated alone. Why ? Because it means someone who do fasting at that time is forbidden to eat so many things, including :

  • Milk and the other dairy products,
  • Eggs,
  • Meat,
  • Fish,
  • Wine, and even
  • Oil.

After that in a special occasions, the fasting rule only forbid them to consume a few of foods or drinks. For example is when underneath the fasting indication is only about “wine, and oil are allowed”, so that they can not consume other things, except both of two stuffs. You might also want to know other stuffs of the old traditional Russian cuisines

Why any alcoholic drink is included of the rule, besides ther is ain’t no othe drink ? To answer it, you should know how the alcoholic drink in Russia culture.

However, after the “fasting indication” is over a.k.a during the “fast-free days”, the Ortodox Christians are allowed to eat anything they want again. Doing fast for them is about avoiding to consume so many things with the broad rules exist.

Besides so many rules, there are also many date that the Orthodox Christians need to mark as the fasting period. To help you remember when you have to do fasting, you should check The Saint Herman Calendar. It will help you a lot to guide you fasting well day by day.

For your information, here they are a few details of period fasting in the Russian Orthodox Church. Check it out…

Non-fasting period

It means all of cuisines you can consume. None is banned for you either to eat or drink.


Weekly fast

Despite there is no fast-free period being declared, fasting for the Orthodox Christians is still a must in every Wednesday and Friday. These following consumptions of foods and drinks that are forbidden :

  1. Meat and other meat products. The poultry, beef, pork, and lamb are included in the meat criteria of fasting rule.
  2. Seafood with backbone, like fish. Unless the seafood has backbone such as shellfish, it is still allowed to be eaten.
  3. Eggs and dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese.
  4. Olive or vegetable oil. Even the margarine that is used cooking oil is also can not be consumed.
  5. All of alcoholic beverages, including the wine.

How long the Orthodox Christian should do this weekly fasting ? Actually, it seems the Christians need to keep practicing it all the time since being healthy and able to do fasting.

The Dormition Fast

This fasting period is along two weeks. The strict fasting is a must in Monday up to Friday. But during the weekends, only wine and oil stuffs are permitted to be consumed.

The Lenten Fast

It is similar to the Dormition Fast. But this one is the greatest and longest fasting among all of periods. Moreover the rule in this period is also the strictest one.

First, a week before the Lenten Fast is called as “Cheesefare Week”. What does it mean ? As it’s name contains “the cheese” word, so dairy products include milk, other dairy product, or even eggs are permitted. Besides those stuffs like meat and other animal products, the Orthodox Christian can not consume them.

After the Cheesefare week is over, it is the time for the Lenten Fast begins. In the first week, the Orthodox Christians are only permitted to have two full meals during the first five days. Meat and all of animal stuffs, fish, dairy products, wine and oil are avoided. 

Then, the same rule exist on the Wednesday and Friday after the Presanctified Liturgy. None can eat anything starting from the Monday morning until the Wednesday Evening. What a long fasting time in the Church year!

Then, all of weekday in the second up to the sixth week of Lenten fast period, the rule is still same. Meanwhile, the rule in the Weekend–Saturday and Sunday– avoiding all of stuffs is a mjst, except the wine and oil that are permitted.

Through those time, finally the holy week is coming!  In the evening on Thursday, the last meal is ideally taken until the Easter comes. During this moment, wine and oil are still permitted to be consumed. By the way, don’t forget to know what the fact of Easter in Russia is.

On the next day, the Great of Fast and Holy Friday comes up. It seems the hardest and strictest fasting. Then on Saturday, after the St. Basil’s Liturgy, the Orthodox Christians break their fast with some glasses of wine and fruits.

Apostles’ Fast

In this fasting, there is some tolerance of the rules. So that, doing this fast is felt more comfortable than the others.

  • The strict fast rule is only valid on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Meanwhile, on Tuesday and Thursday, wine and oil can be permitted.
  • Otherwise in the weekend, fish is additional permitted stuff besides wine and oil.

After all, somehow many monasteries keep the implementation of this kind rule during the fast-free days.


Nativity Fast

In this period, its rule is similar to the rule of Apostles’ fast. In the latter part, there is no longer permit of fish consumtion on Saturday and Sunday. Then, in other circumstanse, the rule in some tradition is this heightening of the fast exist in the last 1-2 weeks.

Marital fast

Along the Church’s four fasting seasons and also the weekly fast on Wednesday and Friday, the new wedding or the old marital couple, have to abstain from the sexual intercourse. This aspect might be more difficult than avoiding the meals. Because of that, some traditions related to wedding, advocate the minimal rule which permit the sexual intercourse unless it is before Holy Communion comes, throughout Holy Week.

After all, in this article, the foods that are talked about in fasting. Then, you should know the best food in any celebration in Russia.

Okay, it is all about The Fasting in The Russian Orthodox Church that we can share to you. To whom have to do the fast, bopefully you are able to pass it will and God bless you, all!

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