The fast of the Holy Saints Apostles Peter and Paul

The Orthodox Church celebrates on 29th of June the Holy Saints Apostles Peter and Paul, two pillars of our Church. Unlike the other fasts, that have a fixed length, the fast dedicated to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul has a variable duration, changing from one year to another and depending on the changing date of Easter. Taking into account the major role played by these holy apostles of the Savior in spreading Christianity, the Church decided that their celebration must be prepared by a period of fasting, by a physical and spiritual purification of the Christians.

This period offers us the opportunity to meditate upon the mission of these two great Apostles of our Church of preaching and spreading Christ s Gospel on earth

The fast implies abstinence, intensified prayer, so that we might be able to multiply our good deeds, we should think about the suffering of our neighbor and the Church should 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 Easter. It always begins on Monday after the Sunday of All Saints. According to the Pachalion of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the fast of the Holy Apostles may vary between 28 days when Easter is on 4th of April till the situation when it may be annulled when Easter is on 1st of May. This happened in 1945, 1956 when Resurrection was celebrated on 6th of May and the Holy Council decided that the fast should be kept in the three days before the celebration of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (the celebration being before the Sunday of All Saints, when it usually begins) In 1983 it was the same situation (Easter was on 8th of May and the Fast of the Holy Apostles was of two days only (27th -28th of June)

The fast of the Holy Apostles is an easy one. On each Saturday and Sunday it is allowed to consume fish, wine and oil. The teaching about fasts from the Big Horologion shows that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday are consumed vegetables without oil, on Tuesdays and Thursdays are consumed the same vegetables but this time oil and wine are allowed. It is allowed to eat fish even on Mondays if on that day there is the celebration of a saint with great doxology and marked with black cross in the calendar and when such a celebration is on Wednesday or Friday it is allowed to consume oil and wine. And if there is a dedicated feast day of the church it is also allowed to consume fish. If the celebration of the Holy Apostles falls on a Wednesday or Thursday it is allowed to consume fish, oil and wine.

During the entire length of this fast, as it is the case with all the other periods of fasting from the Church Year, it is not allowed to make weddings, because fasting is not compatible with the joy and parties which usually accompany the weddings.

By keeping this fast are honored the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which descended over the Apostles on Pentecost, that is why in the old times this fast was called the Fast of the Pentecost.

May you enjoy a blessed and useful Fast!