The Fast of Christmas

Dear parishioners and friends of our Parish,

Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is only 40 days away. The Orthodox Church has always encouraged its members to prepare for this great feast by observing a fast, not as strict as the one of Great Lent, but one that will still prepare us to come to the Christmas feast with a spiritual outlook and a purer and more joyous heart.

Starting on November 15, we begin to observe the fast. I encourage you to try to fast as much as you are able. Fish is allowed during this period (until December 17) on all days, except Wednesdays and Fridays (unless that day happens to be a major feast, like the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple on November 21, when fish is allowed also). If you have any questions, please call me or write to me at and I will be glad to discuss this with you.

Thanksgiving has been a day (in the U.S.) on which we break the fast by special dispensation from the Patriarch of Constantinople. This is a special day for the people of America, and the Church makes an exception for the sake of the local tradition which brings together family members from across the country in a celebration of Thanksgiving for God’s Blessings.

Please try to observe the Fast of Christmas as much as you are able, combining it also with continuous prayer, repentance, forgiveness and concern for those who have less. These are difficult times for a lot of people. Be mindful for those who might need our assistance and let us come to their help. One of the goals of fasting is to save so that we may help those who are in need, as well.

In addition to fasting and prayer, we should also be reading the Holy Scriptures. There are biblical texts assigned for every day during this period and throughout the year.  Let’s also consider those who are not as blessed as we are and make sure no one remains without food and shelter. Philanthropy is at the core of our identity as Orthodox Christians.

It is also good, as we prepare for Christmas and Epiphany (the Baptism of Christ) to read spiritually uplifting books.

May God Bless and protect you always,

In Christ’s Love,

Fr. Panayiotis