Fasting regulations of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church:

Definitions

Abstinence means that we do not eat a certain type of food or any other foods that have that as an ingredient.

Fasting means that we eat less food. A general rule is that for a day of fast, we eat no more than one full meal and two smaller meals (snacks) that put together do not equal a full meal.

Meat is to be understood as including not only the flesh, but also those parts of warm-blooded animals that cannot be rendered, i.e., melted down, e.g., the liver, lungs, etc. Meat gravy or soup made from meat is included in this prohibition.

Dairy is to be understood as products derived from mammals and birds, but not regarded as meat, e.g., cheese, lard, butter, milk, eggs, etc.

Those exempt from fasting and abstinence are:

  • Children under the age of 14
  • Adults over the age of 60
  • those who are gravely ill
  • pregnant women
  • post-partum mothers
  • breast-feeding mothers
  • travelers (if travel time exceeds 8 hours)
  • those engaged in heavy labor
  • those who eat from the table of others
  • the poor who live from charity

Periods of Fasting and Abstinence:

Fridays throughout the year

Abstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients
(except during periods of dispensation) is obligatory. Abstention from dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Wednesdays throughout the year

Abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Great Fast (Lent)

Our Church traditionally prescribed abstention from meat and dairy products for the entire duration of the Great Fast and Holy Week and this rule is still kept in monasteries. The following are the minimal Lenten regulations today, but the lay faithful are encouraged to live according to this historic rule of abstention as much as they can physically and spiritually.

  • First Day of the Great Fast (Clean Monday)Abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. Fasting is obligatory.
  • First Week of the Great FastAbstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. Abstention from dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.
  • Wednesdays and Fridays of the Great FastAbstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. Abstention from dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged. Abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged on Mondays during Lent as well.

Great and Holy Week

This week is not considered a part of the Great Fast but is rather a separate period of prayer, fasting and abstinence in preparation for Pascha (Easter). Abstention from meet and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged for the entire week. On Wednesday of Holy Week abstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. On Friday of Holy Week abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory and fasting is also obligatory.

Apostles Fast

It begins on the second Monday after Pentecost and ends on the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29th. Our Church traditionally prescribed abstention from meat and dairy products for the entire duration of the Apostles Fast and this rule is still kept in monasteries. The following are the minimal regulations today, but the lay faithful are encouraged to live according to this historic rule of abstention as much as they can physically and spiritually.

Fridays

Abstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. Abstention from dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Wednesdays

Abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Dormition Fast

It begins on August 1st and ends on the feast day of the Dormition of Mary the Theotokos (known as the Assumption of Mary in the Latin rite). Our Church traditionally prescribed abstention from meat and dairy products for the entire duration of the Dormition Fast and this rule is still kept in monasteries. The following are the minimal regulations today, but the lay faithful are encouraged to live according to this historic rule of abstention as much as they can physically and spiritually.

Fridays

Abstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. Abstention from dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Wednesdays

Abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Nativity Fast

Also known as the Phillipian Fast, it begins on November 15th (the day after the feast day of St. Phillip the Apostle) and ends on Christmas Day (lasting 40 days). Our Church traditionally prescribed abstention from meat and dairy products for the entire duration of the Nativity Fast and this rule is still kept in monasteries. The following are the minimal regulations today, but the lay faithful are encouraged to live according to this historic rule of abstention as much as they can physically and spiritually.

Fridays

Abstention from meat and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory. Abstention from dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Wednesdays

Abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is encouraged.

Specific Days of the Year

For all the days listed below, fasting and abstention from meat and dairy and foods that contain these ingredients is obligatory.

  • September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross
  • December 24 – Vigil of the Nativity
  • January 5 – Vigil of Theophany
  • August 29 – Beheading of John the Baptist

Periods of Dispensation:

There is no fasting or abstinence during these periods:

  • December 25 to January 4 (Nativity to the Vigil of Theophany)
  • Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (the fourth Sunday before Lent) to Sunday of the Prodigal Son (the third Sunday before Lent)
  • Pascha (Easter) to Thomas Sunday (the Sunday after Easter)
  • Pentecost to All Saints Sunday (Sunday after Pentecost)
  • We are not obliged to fast or abstain on feast days which are days of celebration. Check your calendar to be certain. If you need a calendar please call the church office at 412-279-4652 to get one.

To read more about the guidelines on fasting and abstention, please click here.