After Prayer, fasting is the second ascetic
practice you should begin as part of an Orthodox way of life. Of
course if you do not have sufficient faith to participate in the
regular worship services, to participate in the sacraments, or time
for daily prayer, fasting will not be of much help to you. Fasting
is a practice that was shown to us by Jesus as well as the prophets
of the Old Testament, the Apostles, and the Church Fathers up to modern times. Fasting is a discipline that directly attacks the bodily passions that dominate the soul leading us to behaviors that lead us away from God. Fasting is not a virtue but a means towards a virtuous life. More...
When to Fast
The Church in her wisdom has provided for
us weekday fasting on Wednesday and Friday as well as fasting periods such as Great Lent. These are times throughout the year where we
can focus on our spiritual life and double our efforts in prayer
and worship. More...
How to Fast
On the outward level fasting involves physical
abstinence from food and drink, and without such exterior abstinence
a full and true fast cannot be kept; yet the rules about eating and
drinking must never be treated as an end in themselves, for ascetic
fasting always has an inward and unseen purpose. Fasting is not a mere matter of diet. It is
moral as well as physical. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, it
means “abstinence not only from food but from
Numerous books and web links to good Lenten recipes.
Effects of Greek Orthodox Christian Church fasting on serum lipids and obesity.
"Adherence to Greek Orthodox fasting periods contributes to a reduction in the blood lipid profile including a non-significant reduction in HDL cholesterol and possible impact on obesity."
BMC Public Health. 2003; 3: 16. Published online 2003 May 16.
Fasting Can Mean Good Health
Pennington Biomedical Research Center's Caloric Restriction Study - CALERIE
Articles on Fasting
A comprehensive article covering the history of fasting, its ancient practice, why we fast and the guidelines of the Church by Deacon Haralambos
Link to articles on fasting on Orthodox Way Of Life Blog
of the Great Fast
Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos Ware in The
Lenten Triodion - an excellent overview of the
history, purpose and traditional guidelines for the
fast of Great Lent.
Chrysostom on Fasting
"Fasting is the change of every part of our life, because the sacrifice of the fast is not the abstinence but the distancing from sins..."
Saint Athanasius on Fasting
"Athanasius considered the Lenten fast essential preparation for Easter: by renouncing food, Christians were 'cleansed and purified..."
St.Theophan the Recluse On Fasting
"The passions are rooted in the flesh. When the flesh is weakened through fasting, then it is as if the fortress of the passions has been undermined, and its strength crumbles."
St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite - Wednesday and Friday Fast
"Canon 69 of the Holy Apostles designates that any hierarch or priest or deacon or subdeacon or reader or chanter who does not fast during Great Lent and Wednesday and Friday is to be deposed. If a layperson does not fast during these times (unless he cannot fast on account of bodily illness), he is to be excommunicated."
Sayings of Church Fathers On Fasting
Saint Gregory Palamas:
Homily Six: To Encourage Fasting
"Sensual pleasure causes ungodliness as well as sin, but fasting and self-control result in the fear of God as well as virtue. Fasting must be accompanied by self-control..."
Homily Seven: Another On Fasting
"In this time of fasting and prayer, brethren, let us with all our hearts forgive anything real or imaginary we have against anyone. May we all devote ourselves to love, and let us consider one another as an incentive to love and good works, speaking in defense of one another, having good thoughts and dispositions within us before God and men."
Why Don't You Fast? by Fr. Dn Haralambos Joiner
Fasting has always been essential part of Orthodox Christian Life.
It is a necessary discipline to combat the passions and open the door to the renewal of the Holy Spirit.
From Our Iniquities and Foods by Rev. George
"One of the longest established discipline of the human body is that of fasting. Among pagan religions, Judaism and Christianity fasting is considered an important element in religious practices."
On Fasting by Bishop Maximos
"First of all, fasting is abstinence from food. By detaching us from earthly goods and realities, fasting has a liberating effect on us and makes us worthy of the life of the spirit, a life similar to that of angels. Second, fasting, as abstinence from bad habits and sin, is the mother of Christian virtues, the mother of sound and wholesome thinking; it allows us to establish the proper priority between the material and spiritual, giving priority to the spiritual."
Then They Will Fast by Bishop Isaiah of Denver
"Throughout the penitential period of the Fast or Great Lent, the Church encourages Her people to increase their time of prayer, both private and corporate, while at the same time invites them to abstain and to fast from those things in life which identify one as belonging to the world. The purpose of this discipline is to strengthen one's spirit"
for Great Lent by Fr. Dn Haralambos Joiner
"Through fasting, we withdraw from our normal activities. We quiet ourselves and restrict the foods we eat so we can develop control over our body’s demands. It is like going to a spiritual athletic club or a resort spa where we go to get in shape and lose weight. The difference is that the Great Fast period is for our spiritual development instead of our physical well being."
for Great Lent - Why Fast?
Why do Orthodox Christians engage in ascetic practices like fasting? Our Holy Church Fathers say that fasting is important for all Christians. Why?
for Great Lent - How Do We Fast?
"Fasting is a time for withdrawal from our normal busy secular way of life. It is intended to be a period were we simplify our life so we can devote more time to prayer and charity. Its a time for repentance, confession and partaking of Holy Communion."
the Pascal Tradition by Pseudo Athanasius
"Those who mock the Traditions of the Paschal season deprive themselves of the teach- ings of the Saints. "
"On November 15th, the Orthodox Churches start the Christmas fast. It is also called the fast of St. Philip because it immediately follows the feast of this apostle."
On Fasting and Communion by Serbian Patriarch PAVLE
Preparing for Communion
"The Eucharistic Fast involves total abstinence from any food or drink in the morning prior to receiving the Eucharist. If therefore, you keep the Eucharistic Fast, and there exists no moral reason for you to stay away from Chalice, you become obligated to come forward and receive Christ as He is offered at the liturgy."
of the Orthodox Christian Information Center
Many excellent articles on fasting.
and Fasting with Metropolitan Demetrios of Vresthena and
Rev. Dr. Theodore Stylianopol