By Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos Ware If it is important not to overlook the physical requirements of fasting, it is even more important not to overlook its inward significance. Fasting is not a mere matter of diet. It is moral as well as physical. True fasting is to be converted in heart and will; it is to return to God, to come home like the Prodigal to our Father’s house. In the words of


By Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos Ware One reason for this decline in fasting is surely a heretical attitude towards human nature, a false ‘spiritualism’ which rejects or ignores the body, viewing man solely in terms of his reasoning brain. As a result, many contemporary Christians have lost a true vision of man as an integral unity of the visible and the invisible; they neglect the positive role played by the body in the spiritual


By Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos Ware ‘We waited, and at last our expectations were fulfilled’, writes the Serbian Bishop Nikolai of Ochrid, describing the Easter service at Jerusalem. ‘When the Patriarch sang “Christ is risen”, a heavy burden fell from our souls. We felt as if we also had been raised from the dead. All at once, from all around, the same cry resounded like the noise of many waters. “Christ is risen” sang


THE TRIODION Great Lent is the 40-day season of spiritual preparation that comes before the most important Feast of the Christian year, Holy Pascha (which means “Passover” and is commonly called “Easter”,). It is the central part of a larger time of preparation called the Triodion season. The Triodion begins ten weeks before Easter and is divided into three main parts: three Pre-Lenten weeks of preparing our hearts, the six weeks of Lent, and Holy Week. The main theme of

Forgive and You Will Be Forgiven

FORGIVENESS SUNDAY Let us all make haste to humble the flesh by abstinence, as we set out upon the God-given course of the holy Fast; and with prayer and tears let us seek our Lord and Savior. Laying aside all memories of evil, let us cry aloud, “We have sinned against You, Christ our King; save us Like the people of Nineveh in days of old, and in Your compassion make us sharers in Your

Do Not Pass Judgment

Consider well, my soul: do you fast? Do not despise your neighbor. Do you abstain from food? Do not condemn your brother. (Fourth Troparion of the Praises, Matins of Meatfare Sunday) IT IS SIGNIFICANT THAT THE DAY before Lent begins (Cheesefare, or Forgiveness, Sunday) we hear this lesson from St. Paul’s Epistle: Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats;

FAST FROM SIN: Meatfare Week

In vain do you rejoice in not eating, O soul! For you abstain from food, but from passions you are not purified. If you have no desire for improvement, you will be despised as a lie in the eyes of God, you will be likened to evil demons who never eat! If you persevere in sin, you will perform a useless fast; therefore, remain in constant striving so as to stand before the Crucified Savior,

The Season of the Triodion

Introduction THERE IS MORE TO LENT THAN FASTING, and there is more to fasting than food. This principle lies at the heart of the Lenten Triodion, the main hymnbook of Orthodox Lent. For the Orthodox Church, Lent is without doubt the richest and most distinctive season of the ecclesiastical year. The Lenten services, the spiritual lessons of the Triodion, and the biblical readings for the season invite us to simplify our lives and to immerse

55 Maxims for Weekly Meditation, by Father Thomas Hopko

SUNDAY 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything 2. Pray as you can, not as you think you must 3. Have a keepable rule of prayer done by discipline 4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times each day 5. Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied 6. Make some prostrations when you pray 7. Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days MONDAY 8. Practice silence, inner


The external rudiments lead us now to the warfare that goes on in the depths. As when one peels an onion, one layer after another is removed, and the innermost core, out of which growth reaches up toward the light, lies revealed. There, in your own innermost chamber, you will glimpse the heavenly chamber, for they are one and the same, according to St. Isaac the Syrian. When you strive now to enter your inmost