Priest: ‘Fast means abstention. If we abstain from some food, it is our offering to God.’
On Monday, Orthodox Christians embarked on Great Fast, or Lent. Fasting will continue until Easter, which is celebrated on April 19 this year.
Lent is the longest and strictest of all fasts. For seven weeks, believers observing Great Lent abstain from meat, fish, milk and eggs intensifying private and public prayer and focusing on personal improvement and almsgiving.
Sergey Kubyshkin, Dean of the Church of St. Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki, explains: ‘Fast means abstention. If we abstain from some food, it is our offering to God. When vegetarians abstains from meat, it is not fast. It will be fast if they abstain from something they love, sweets, or something else.’
Great Fast begins on Monday seven weeks before Easter and concludes on the eve of Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday, these 40 days being in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.
Fasting continues for the following week, known as Passion Week, when the Church remembers Christ's Passion and Crucifixion.
Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel