Fast and Pray

Just a quick reminder regarding fasting rules and guidelines for the last two days of Holy Week – from the OCA website:

On Great Friday those who have the strength follow the practice of the early Church and keep a total fast. Those unable to do this may eat bread, with a little water, tea or fruit-juice, but not until sunset, or at any rate not until after the veneration of the [Plashchanitsa] at Vespers. On Holy Saturday there is in principle no meal, since according to the ancient practice after the end of the Liturgy of St. Basil the faithful remained in church for the reading of the Acts of the Apostles, and for their sustenance were given a little bread and dried fruit, with a cup of wine. If, as usually happens now, they return home for a meal, they may use wine but not oil; for on this one Saturday, alone among Saturdays of the year, olive oil is not permitted.

These guidelines indicate that if a meal is eaten on Holy Saturday, it would be eaten shortly after the Liturgy of St. Basil; the rest of the day a strict fast would be kept in preparation for communion at the midnight Paschal Liturgy.

As always, remember that health considerations may mitigate the fasting rules (as can be seen in the phrase “those who have the strength”, above), and that we are all called to keep the fast as well as we are able so that we can “watch and pray”, preparing for the coming of our Lord’s Pascha.