Daily Message: On Fasting

St Basil the Confessor

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
Christ is in our midst! He was and is and ever shall be. Ο Χριστός έν τώ μέσω ημών. Και ήν και έστι και έσται.

The work of Saint Andrew of Crete

Eirmos: He is my Helper and Protector, and has become my salvation. This is my God and I will glorify Him. My father's God and I will exalt Him. For gloriously has He been glorified. [Ex. 15:2, 1; Ps. 117:14)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Where shall I begin to lament the deeds of my wretched life? What first-fruits shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Come, wretched soul, with your flesh, confess to the Creator of all. In future refrain from your former brutishness, and offer to God tears in repentance.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Having rivaled the first-created Adam by my transgressions, I realize that I am stripped naked of God and of the everlasting Kingdom and bliss through my sins.  (Gen. 3)

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Alas, wretched soul! Why are you like the first Eve? For you have wickedly looked and been bitterly wounded, and you have touched the tree and rashly tasted the forbidden food.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The place of bodily Eve as been taken for me by the Eve of my mind in the shape of a passionate thought in the flesh, showing me sweet things, yet ever making me taste and
swallow bitter things.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Adam was rightly exiled from Eden for not keeping Thy one Commandment, O Savior. But what shall I suffer who am always rejecting Thy living words? (Heb. 12:25; Gen. 3:23)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Holy Trinity: Superessential Trinity, adored in Unity, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.

Now, and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Mother of God, hope and intercessor of those who sing of thee, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and as thou art our pure Lady, accept me who repent...

On February 28th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith:  Saint Basil the Confessor; Saint Kyranna the New holy Martyr of Thessaloniki.

+ By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs and Confessors, O Christ Our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

Orthros (Matins) Old Testament: Isaiah 1:19-2:3
Vespers Old Testament 1:Genesis 1:14-23
Vespers Old Testament 2:Proverbs 1:20-33


"I imagine that no one with any sense would dispute that slander is the child of hatred and remembrance of wrongs...

Slander is the offspring of hatred, a subtle and yet crass disease, a leech in hiding and escaping notice, wasting and draining away the lifeblood of love. It puts on the appearance of love and is the ambassador of an unholy and unclean heart. And it is the ruin of chastity" (Saint John Climacus).

by Saint John Chrysostom

Fasting is a medicine. But medicine, as beneficial as it is, becomes useless because of the inexperience of the user. He has to know the appropriate time that the medicine should be taken and the right amount of medicine and the condition of the body which is to take it, the weather conditions and the season of the year and the appropriate diet of the sick and many other things. If any of these things are overlooked, the medicine will do more harm than good. So, if one who is going to heal the body needs so much accuracy, when we care for the soul and are concerned about healing it from bad thoughts, it is necessary to examine and observe everything with every possible detail.

Fasting is the change of every part of our life, because the sacrifice of that fast is not the abstinence but the distancing from sins. Therefore, whoever limits the fast to the deprivation of food, he is the one who, in reality, abhors and ridicules the fast. Are you fasting? Show me your fast with your works. Which works? If you see someone who is poor, show him mercy. If you see and enemy, reconcile with him. If you see a friend who is becoming successful, do not be jealous of him! If you see a beautiful woman on the street pass her by.

In other words, not only should the mouth fast, but the eyes and the legs and the arms and all the other parts of the body should fast as well. Let the hands fast, remaining clean from stealing and greediness. Let the legs fast, avoiding roads which lead to sinful sights. Let the eyes fast by not fixing themselves on beautiful faces and by not observing the beauty of others. You are not eating meat, are you? You should not eat debauchery with your eyes as well. Let your hearing also fast. The fast of hearing is not to accept bad talk against others and sly defamation.

Let the mouth fast from disgraceful and abusive words, because. what gain is there when, on the one hand we avoid eating chicken and fish and, on the other, we chew-up and consume our brothers? He who condemns and blasphemes is as if he has eaten brotherly meat, as if he has bitten into the flesh of his fellow man
. It is because of this that Saint Paul frightened us, saying: "If you chew up and consume one another be careful that you do not annihilate yourselves."

You did not thrust your teeth into the flesh (of your neighbor) but you thrust bad talk in his soul; you wounded it by spreading disfame, causing inestimable damage both to yourself , to him, and to many others.

If you cannot go without eating all day because of an ailment of the body, beloved one, no logical man will be able to criticize you for that. Besides, we have a Lord Who is meek and loving (philanthropic) and Who does not ask for anything beyond our power. Because He neither requires the abstinence from foods, neither that the fast take place for the simple sake of fasting, neither is its aim that we remain with empty stomachs, but that we fast to offer our entire selves to the dedication of spiritual things, having distanced ourselves from secular things. If we regulated our life with a sober mind and directed all of our interest toward spiritual things, and if we ate as much as we needed to satisfy our necessary needs and offered our entire lives to good works, we would not have any need of the help rendered by the fast. But because human nature is indifferent and gives itself over mostly to comforts and gratifications, for this reason the philanthropic Lord, like a loving and caring father, devised the therapy of the fast for us, so that our gratifications would be completely stopped and that our worldly cares be transferred to spiritual works. So, if there are some who have gathered here and who are hindered by somatic ailments and cannot remain without food, I advise them to nullify the somatic ailment and not to deprive themselves from this spiritual teaching, but to care for it even more.

For there exist, there really exist, ways which are even more important than abstinence from food which can open the gates which lead to God with boldness. He, therefore, who eats and cannot fast, let him display richer alms-giving, let him pray more, let him have a more intense desire to hear divine words. In this, our somatic illness is not a hindrance.  Let him become reconciled with his enemies, let him distance his soul from every resentment. If he wants to accomplish these things, then he has done the true fast, which is what the Lord asks of us more than anything else. It is for this reason that He asks us to abstain from food, in order to place the flesh in subjection to the fulfillment of his commandments, whereby curbing its impetuousness. But if we are not about to offer to ourselves the help rendered by the fast because of bodily illness and at the same time display greater indifference, we will see ourselves in an unusual exaggerated way. For if the fast does not help us when all the aforementioned accomplishments are missing so much is the case when we display greater indifference because we cannot even use the medicine of fasting. Since you have learned these things from us, I pardon you, those who can, fast and you yourselves increase your acuteness and praiseworthy desire as much as possible.

To the brothers, though, who cannot fast because of bodily illness, encourage them not to abandon this spiritual word, teaching them and passing on to them all the things we say here, showing them that he who eats and drinks with moderation is not unworthy to hear these things but he who is indifferent and slack. You should tell them the bold and daring saying that "he who eats for the glory of the Lord and he who does not eat for the glory of the Lord does not and pleases God." For he who fasts pleases God because he has the strength to endure the fatigue of the fast and he that eats also pleases God because nothing of this sort can harm the salvation of his soul, as long as he does not want it to. Because our Philanthropic God showed us so many ways by which we can, if we desire, take part in God's power that it is impossible to mention them all.

We have said enough about those who are missing, being that we want to eliminate them from the excuse of shame. For they should not be ashamed because food does not bring on shame but the act of some wrongdoing does. Sin is a great shame. If we commit it not only should we feel ashamed but we should cover ourselves exactly the same way those who are wounded do. Even then we should not forsake ourselves but rush to confession and thanksgiving.  We have such a Lord Who asks nothing of us but to confess our sins, after the commitment of a sin which was due to our indifference, and to stop at that point and not to fall into the same one again. If we eat with moderation we should never be ashamed, because the Creator gave us such a body which cannot be supported in any other way except by receiving food. Let us only stop excessive food because that attributes a great deal to the health and well-being of the body.

Let us therefore in every way cast off every destructive madness so that we may gain the goods which have been promised to us in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Once, in a certain Russian monastery, as Staretz Sampson tells us, during the Divine Liturgy, a monk remembered that he was told to sweep the entrance of the Monastery's Katholikon very well. "I might as well do it now, he thought, since this part of the Divine Liturgy is not as important". Therefore, the monk took the broom and started sweeping. He was saying the Jesus' Prayer silently and in a noetic way, and from time to time, he would watch that which was being served... Not even five minutes had gone by when he turned to look up to see the domes of the Church (like the ones in Russia) suddenly opening and the Triumphant Church appearing with all its majesty before him!  It was an awesome sight! In the center, there was a Holy Table as big as the sky. In front of it, three Archpriests were on their knees. Others...and other surrounded them... And a multitude of Priests and Deacons surrounded the former. On the right and left sides Angelic choirs were standing in indescribable and glistening beauty. There was inexpressible glory and light... Moreover, the thousands of honey-flowing, inconceivable melodies of the heavenly Commanders who were present filled with divine Blessedness and joy...

A heavenly Divine Worship was being ministered! Nevertheless, it was being ministered in a strange way, which resembled the Divine Liturgy on earth. It was ministered by Holy Hierarchs, such as, Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom (three). Like, Saint Athanasius the Great, Saint Photius the Great and Saint Gregory Palamas (three). Alternatively, like Saint Nicholas, Saint Spyridon and Saint Nektarios (three). Yet there, in the heavenly Triumphant Church of Jerusalem Above, they received Holy Communion. He saw that they were partaking, in a never-ending way, of the glory and the uncreated triune light, of the "ambrosia" of divine blessedness, of the cup of God's ineffable mysteries…

The monk remained motionless, rooted to the spot until the Divine Liturgy had been completed... When the monks exited the Church, they saw another monk who was standing still. He was also rooted to the spot and in floods of tears... Not only was he wet inside out but also his cloak was soaking from the flood of tears. Very carefully, they took hold of him and without saying a word; they brought him very gently to his cell where he remained for a long time in a state of total amazement. Divine revelation had overwhelmed him. When he got over it, his Spiritual father also arrived. The latter brought him round from all the tearing he went through and then they went together to the Abbot of the Monastery to whom they narrated the monk's exceptional divine vision with a sense of awe and extreme humbleness".

[by Metropolitan of Nikopolis ]