Friday, August 16 / August 29, 2014
The Holy Napkin
[Abba Moses said:] 'Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything wordly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; they are its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow man. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.'
—St. John Cassian, On the Holy Fathers of Sketis.
One of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos is celebrated on August 15/28. From August 1/14 until August 14/27, we observe a fast. This period is known as the “Fifteen days of August”, or Δεκαπενταύγουστο.
During this fast, we abstain from meat, dairy products, fish, wine, and oil on weekdays, and on the weekends, we eat wine and oil. On the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ, August 6/19, we eat fish because it is a feast of the Master, Christ.
We chant the Small and Great Supplicatory Canons alternately at Vespers, save Saturday night and the eves of Transfiguration and Dormition.
This is one of the strictest fasts of the Orthodox Church comparable to the Great Fast. This is due to the greatness of the Feast of the Dormition, which is sometimes called the “Summer Pascha” because of its Resurrectional nature. The severity of this fast is compensated by its brevity on the one hand and the joyous nature of the daily Supplicatory Canons on the other, which is something the faithful anticipate with spiritual longing.
This is the way with which the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, seeks to prepare us for the upcoming Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos: through prayer and fasting.
We are pleased to post a video chronicling the construction of the unique St Maximos the Confessor Orthodox Parish in Owego, New York, under the pastorship of Fr Thomas Marretta. This unique Church was constructed according to an ancient Byzantino-Spanish style using traditional construction techniques.
The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians (GOC) of America is an Old Calendar Orthodox Church serving the faithful of North and South America. Having its roots in the Diocese of Astoria, founded by Metropolitan Petros (Astyfides) in 1954, it presently consists of two Metropolises (America and Toronto) and two dioceses (Portland and Boston), shepherded by five hierarchs.
The Church of the GOC of America is an autonomous Eparchy whose hierarchs are members of the Holy Synod of the Church of the GOC of Greece, under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece. We follow the Patristic (Julian) Calendar and resist the heresy of Ecumenism.
“Trust ye not in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.”
We mustn’t have absolute trust in human beings for our salvation, no matter what dignity they have. Human beings are changeable. Today they are saints, tomorrow—deniers. Today—sinners, tomorrow—righteous. We must have absolute trust in God, and in Him we must base our hopes of salvation. “Blessed is he of whom the God of Jacob is his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 145:5). Read more...
Jonesboro is a town located near the Eastern border of Arkansas, with a population of approximately 60,000. From a human standpoint, it’s not the most likely candidate for a traditional Orthodox mission, but for an Orthodox Christian who orders his priorities around Christ and His Church, it makes perfect sense. Read more...
Q. There seems to be a lot of variation in how people observe fasting, but my confessor told me to fast from oil on Wednesday and Friday. Oil is a pretty vague category, though, and I was wondering if I could get a more explicit description of what kinds of food and drink are excluded on strict fast days. Read more...