Orthodox Information

The Twelve Great Feasts of the Church

September 8 – Nativity of the Theotokos
September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross
November 21 – The Presentation of the Theotokos to the Temple
December 24 – Christmas Day (The Nativity of Christ)
January 6 – Theophany (The Baptism of Our Lord)
February 2 – The Presentation of Our Lord to the Temple
March 25 – The Annunciation
Sunday Before Pascha – Palm Sunday
Great and Holy Pascha – Easter
Forty Days after Pascha – The Ascension of Our Lord
Fifty Days after Pascha – Pentecost
August 6 – The Transfiguration
August 15 – The Dormition of the Theotokos

The Feast Days and Fasting Days of the Church are determined annually on the basis of the date of
Holy Pascha (Easter). The ecclesiastical cycle begins with the first day of Triodion and
ends with the Sunday of All Saints, a total of 18 weeks.

  • Triodion Begins
  • 1st Sunday of Souls
  • Meat Fare Sunday
  • 2nd Sunday of Souls
  • Lent Begins
  • 3rd Sunday of Souls
  • Sunday of Orthodoxy
  • Saturday of Lazarus
  • Palm Sunday
  • Holy (Good) Friday
  • Orthodox Easter (Pascha)
  • Western Easter
  • Ascension
  • Saturday of Souls
  • Pentecost
  • All Saints

Fasting Days of the Church

Just as there are times for feasting in the Church, there are also times for fasting. Jesus Christ Himself often fasted and insisted that the people fast as well. Fasting is not a set of dietary laws or legalistic requirements. Even those who cannot fast from certain foods for health reasons can still participate fully by fasting from earthly desires, giving aid to the poor, directing their lives to a more serious sense of prayer and seeking to direct their lives to the will of God.

When accompanied by prayer, fasting is a spiritual aid which disciplines the body and the soul and
enables them to strive together to bring the whole person closer to God, especially during
preparation periods for the Great Feast Days of the Church.

During these periods, certain foods are prohibited. These are, in order of frequency of prohibition,
meat (including poultry), dairy products, fish, olive oil and wine. Fruits, grains and shellfish
are permitted throughout the year

The following are fast days:
All Wednesdays and Fridays, except where noted.
January 5 – Day before Epiphany
Cheesefare Week, which is the last week before Great Lent, when meat is prohibited.
Dairy products may be eaten on Wednesday and Friday
Great Lent
Holy Week
Holy Apostles Lent, from the Monday after All Saints Day until June 28, inclusive
August 1-14–Dormition of the Mother of God Lent. Except Aug. 6 when fish, wine & olive oil are permitted
August 29 – Beheading of John the Baptist
September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross
November 15 to December 24 – Christmas Lent
Fast Days when fish is permitted
March 25 – Annunciation Day (if Annunciation Day falls during Great Lent, otherwise the day is completely fast free).
Palm Sunday
August 6 – Tranfiguration
November 21 – The Feast of the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God

Days that are completely free from fasting:
The first week of the Triodion, including Wednesday and Friday
Easter (Pascha) Week, also known as Bright Week or Diakamismos
The week following Pentecost
December 25 to January 4

Note: The Holy Fasting duration varies every year. It begins on Monday following Sunday of All Saints and ends on June 29.