The Orthodox Church celebrates on 29th of June the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the two pillars of our Church. Unlike the other periods of fasting, which have a fixed length, the fast dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul have a variable length from year to year, depending on the variable date of the Easter. Due to the major role these Holy Apostles of the Savior had in spreading Christianity, the Church settled a period of fast to prepare for their celebration, this meaning by a physical and spiritual renewal.
This period offers us the opportunity to meditate upon the mission these two great Apostles of the Church fulfilled for preaching the Evangel of Christ. The fast means abstinence, more prayer so that we may increase our good deeds and thing about the troubles of our neighbor and the Church may intensify its missionary activity following the missionary zeal of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and of the other Apostles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The length and the way of fasting
The beginning of the Fast of the Holy Apostles depends on the date of the Easter. It always starts on the Monday after the Sunday of All the Saints.
According to the Paschalion of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Fast of the Holy Apostles may vary between 28 days when the Easter is on the 4th of April till being annulled when the Easter is celebrated on the 1st of May. This happened in the years 1945 and 1956 when the Resurrection was celebrated on the 6th of May and the Holy Council decided to keep the fast in the three days before the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (the feast being before the Sunday of All the Saints, when it usually begins the fasting) The same situation was in 1983 (The Resurrection of the Lord was on the 8th of May) when the fast was only of two days. (June 27th and 28th )
The Fast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is an easy one. On every Saturday and Sunday it is allowed to consume fish, wine and oil. The teaching about fasts from the Big Horologion specifies that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday it is allowed to eat vegetables without oil and on Tuesdays and Thursdays to eat them with oil. It is allowed to eat fish on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday if then it is a celebration of a saint to whom it is dedicated a great doxology and it is marked with a black cross in the calendar and when a feast like this is on a Wednesday or Friday it is allowed to consume wine and oil.
It is also allowed to consume fish when it is celebrated the feast of the patronizing saint of a church. If the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is on a Wednesday or Thursday it is allowed to consume fish, wine and oil.
On the whole length of this fast, as it is the case with all the other fasts from the liturgical year, it is not allowed to organize marriage ceremonies, because the periods of fasting are not compatible with the parties and merriments which usually accompany these.
By keeping this fast we also honor the gifts of the Holy Spirit Who descended over the Holy Apostles at Pentecost, that’s why this fast was called in the old times the Fast of the Pentecost.
May the Holy Fast be useful to you!