Friday, August 1, 2014

The 14 Day Fasting Period of August

From the 1st August the Orthodox Church enters the 14 day fasting period of August, in order to show honour and respect to the Mother of God, whose death (or sleep) is commemorated on 15th of August (Dormition of the Virgin Mary).  St. Symeon of Thessalonika refers to this fasting period, claiming that:
‘the honour is given to the Mother of the Logos of God, who foreknew her metastasis from this world, she was always defending us, and she was fasting, despite not needing to fast, since she was holy, living angelically, even higher than the Angles and praying constantly and always interceding for us all.’

During the Divine Liturgy we sing the following hymn, which verifies what St Symeon claimed:
‘It is truly right to call you blessed, who gave birth to God, ever-blessed and most pure, and Mother of God. Greater in honour than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word; truly the Mother of God, we magnify you.’

During this period we fast every day, except for Saturday and Sunday, where wine and olive oil is permitted; on the day of the Transfiguration (6th August) we are allowed to eat fish. If the celebration of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary falls on a Wednesday or Friday then the faithful are permitted to eat fish. 


  1. I've been discussing Mary with an Anglican friend.
    Please can you say, in simple laymens terms, why Orthodox name Mary Theotokos, and not Christotokos? Many thanks

  2. We need to understand her relationship with Jesus. Even within the iconographic tradition of the Orthodox Church we identify that the Virgin Mary is always depicted with Jesus. Without Him, she is merely Mary...with Him she is the Mother of God, the Theotokos. The importance of this title is apparent, especially after a number of Ecumenical Councils, which went against a number of heresies on monophysism (claiming that Jesus was just man and not God). Theotokos points out the fact that Jesus is God, the Son of God...Christotokos does not point this.

    For more information on the Theotokos please follow the following links from a friend's blog: