This year, the Fast of the Holy Apostles begins on Monday, June 20, and lasts for nine days.
The commemoration day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is celebrated every year on June 29. This year, they are celebrated on a Wednesday. As a result, the Church has ordained to permit fish, although the fasting period ends on their holiday’s eve.
This fast has a changeable duration, depending on the date of Easter. According to Church Tradition, the Fast of the Holy Apostles begins next Monday following the Sunday of All Saints.
There are some exceptions. When the Resurrection of Christ is celebrated later than May 1, there would not be too many days left for fasting. The Church has decided that in such cases the Fast of the Holy Apostles should begin before the Sunday of all Saints.
The Fast of the Holy Apostles
To highlight properly the contribution these two great Apostles had to Christianity, the Church has decided to celebrate them through a fasting period characterized by abstinence, intensification of prayer and reading their writings.
The Fast of the Hoy Apostles is not considered a tough period of fasting. This year, out of the nine days of fasting, fish will be permitted on three of them: on June 24, for the Nativity of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John; and on June 25 and 26, which are a Saturday and a Sunday.
During the fasting period, no weddings will be officiated, because fasting is not compatible with the parties which are accompanying them.
Fasting also honours the gifts of the Holy Spirit which descended upon the Holy Apostles. For this reason, this fasting period was also called “The Pentecost Fast” formerly.
Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Holy Apostle Peter, the brother of Holy Apostle Andrew, was originally from Bethsaida, a seashore settlement by the Sea of Galilee.
Holy Apostle Paul, formerly named Saul, was changed from a robbing wolf into a meek lamb. Formerly he was an enemy of the Church, then he became an Apostle of it.
Troparion — Tone 4
O first-enthroned of the Apostles, / and teachers of the universe, / intercede with the Master of all / to grant peace to the world, / and to our souls great mercy.
Photo credit: Basilica.ro