Gleanings from the Fathers, history, fasting guidelines and stories on the start of the Apostle’s Fast.

Saints Peter and PaulFrom a Parishioner's Facebook Page (Reader David Hawthorne: (Today) is the beginning of the celebration of the Apostles' Fast. After the celebration of Pentecost, the Apostles began a fast to prepare themselves for taking the Gospel to the whole world. Let us imitate their spiritual struggle so we also may become more fruitful witnesses of Christ to the world!

Do not say to me that I fasted for so many days, that I did not eat this or that, that I did not drink wine, that I endured want; but show me if thou from an angry man hast become gentle, if thou from a cruel man hast become benevolent. If thou art filled with anger, why oppress thy flesh? If hatred and avarice are within thee, of what benefit is it that thou drinkest water? Do not show forth a useless fast: for fasting alone does not ascend to heaven." St. John Chrysostom
 
And, since this year, the Apostles Fast is particularly long, a word of encouragement from Blessed Augustine: "The more days of fasting there are, the better the healing is; the longer the period of abstinence, the more abundant the gain of salvation is."

More gleanings:

"The Apostles almost always fasted." Saint John Chrysostom (Sermon 57 on the Gospel of Matthew)

"After the long feast of Pentecost, fasting is especially necessary to purify our thoughts and render us worthy to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit … Therefore, the salutary custom was established of fasting after the joyful days during which we celebrated the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, and the coming of the Holy Spirit.''
St. Leo the Great (†461)

People have to answer greatly for not keeping the rules of the Church with respect to the fasts. People justify themselves by saying that they never considered it a sin to eat dairy products during the fasts. They repent and consider themselves sinners in every other respect, but they do not think to repent about not keeping the fasts. Meanwhile, they are transgressing the commandment of our holy Mother, the Church, and according to the teaching of the Apostle Paul, they are as the heathen and publicans because of their disobedience. St. Ambrose of Optina (+1891)

Fasting is an exceptional virtue; it represses bodily impulses and gives strength to the soul to fight against the poisoning of the heart through the senses, and provides it with a remedy against any past poisoning. Fasting causes the mind to be cleansed constantly. It whithers up every evil thought and brings healthy, godly thoughts — -holy thoughts that enlighten the mind and kindle it with more zeal and spiritual fervor. Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain"

A life of fasting, properly understood as general self-limitation and abstinence, to the annual practice of which the Church always calls us with the Great Lent, is really that bearing of the cross and self-crucifixion which is required of us by our calling as Christians. And anyone who stubbornly resists this, wanting to live a carefree, happy, and free life, is concerned for sensual pleasures and avoids sorrow and suffering that person is not a Christian. Bearing one's cross is the natural way of every true Christian, without which there is no Christianity. Archbishop Averky of Syracuse (of Blessed Memory)

Abba Isidore said, "If you fast regularly, do not be inflated with pride; if you think highly of yourself because of it, then you had better eat meat. It is better for a man to eat meat than to be inflated with pride and glorify himself." The Desert Fathers

Abba John the Dwarf said, "If a king wanted to take possession of his enemy's city, he would begin by cutting off the water and the food and so his enemies, dying of hunger, would submit to him. It is the same with the passions of the flesh; if a man goes about fasting and hungry the enemies of his soul grow weak." Sr. Benedicta Ward, "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers," (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1975), pp. 85-89

Many more Gleanings from the Holy Fathers on Fasting   here.


 

"Ahh, another month of fasting".Shawn Lazar :)

 


A little story. When I was considering whether I should come down to Dallas to be the rector of a small community that was holding reader's services, as asked by my bishop. I asked my spiritual father for advice. He told me to say the akathist to Jesus for forty days with fasting. We were near the end of Great Lent. He told me to wait until after Bright week to begin the forty days fast, which my wife and I did. We were to say the akathist every day. and fast. We missed a couple days of the akathist, so the fast was prolonged a few days. Immediately after we finished, the Apostle's fast began!  Ahh…


Apostles Fast Fasting Guidelines.

From our weekly newsletter: http://docs.google.com/View?id=d926dxr_26ct6kqwnw

The apostles' fast begins this week, and extends until the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Monday, June 29/July 12th. During this fast, we fast from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, wine and oil, with the following exceptions:

  • Fish, wine and oil are allowed on Saturday and Sunday
  • Wine and oil are allowed on Tuesday and Thursday
  • There are also particular relaxations in honor of certain saints. This week,
    • Fish is allowed on Tuesday in honor of St. Dmitry Donskoy
    • Wine & oil are allowed on Wednesday in honor of St. Alexis of Moscow
    • Fish is allowed on Thursday in honor of Sts. Constantine and Helen

A History of the Apostle's Fast, from a pretty good blog :"Mystagogy"

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