Understanding Our Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church– 20170219

The Tradition of our Church is to integrate some sort of fasting into our lives during the Great Fast. The purpose of our fasting is spiritual. Spirituality must not be viewed as something that does not concern the body, but as something that is made possible through and within the body. The desires and needs of the flesh can all too often overpower the spirit. Fasting is a means of restoring balance between soul and body, a means of bringing the flesh under the control and will of the mind and spirit.

Here are some suggestions for actively observing the Great Fast 2017 in accordance with our Traditions.

Recommended Minimal Effort

  • Abstain from meat and dairy products on the first day of the Fast (February 27) and Good Friday (April 14)
  • Abstain from meat on All Fridays of Lent and Holy Saturday (April 15)


In order to enter into the spirit of the Great Fast this is seen as a minimal effort

A Strict Lenten Tradition

  • Abstain from meat products, even weekends, the day after Meat Fare (February 20) until after Easter services (April 16)
  • Abstain from daily products, even weekends, the day after Cheese Fare (February 27) until after Easter services (April 16)

This is seen as the maximum effort to observe the Great Fast

Modified Strict Lenten Tradition

A modified version of the strict tradition calls for us, in addition to the minimal effort suggested, to abstain from meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent and all the days of Great and Holy Week and pray more frequently.

Again I would express my belief that we should never do anything because we feel that it is an obligation. God wants, from what I can discern from the New Testament and Tradition, us to freely return His love. Therefore, we should never feel that we are obliged to do something as much as we want to do something to return His love.

The interesting thing is that our Tradition is focused on helping us to spiritually grow. Of course we have to want or desire to grow. There may be many reasons why we can’t observe the Great Fast. That is always between you and God. I believe that as long as you are honest and sincere with Him, He accepts your decisions. Only make the Great Fast a special time if you understand how it will help you to spiritually grow. Your observance must help you to trust and hope in God. If it doesn’t, then it is useless. Remember, God IS with us and understand us.

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