February 2023 English Newsletter Posted September 13, 2023 by admin


My Beloved the Benevolent                     February 2023

Grace and peace, wishing your every goodness

I wish to congratulate you on the Nineveh Fast, which begins on February 6th, and the Great Lent, which begins on February 20th; wishing you blessed fasts accepted before God.

1. Fasting is worship:  In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ spoke about the three pillars of worship: prayer, fasting and charity.  Regarding fasting, He said, “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:17-18

The believer fasts for God and not for people; thus, the Lord Jesus Christ warned against fasting associated with hypocrisy, such as when a person tries to show people that he is fasting in order to gain people’s praise.  Fasting is a worship to God in which the believer shares in spirit and body.

2. Fasting is sacred:  In the book of Joel, God asks us to “Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14. Fasting is a special spiritual period. The believer consecrates the days of fasting for worship; thus, fasting is associated with prayers.  During the Great Lent, the daily Divine Liturgies are held, and the believers are eager to attend the Liturgies and partake of the Divine Sacraments. Fasting has been associated with repentance; fasting is not only about changing the type of food we eat, but more importantly, changing human life.

Fasting is a sacred period for growing in reading the Holy Bible and keeping the commandments.  Fasting is a period of sacredness and dedicating more time to pray, humiliation before God, and seeking mercy. This is why the book of Joel says, “Now, therefore, says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning”” Joel 2:12

3. Fasting is an imitation of the Lord Jesus: The Lord Jesus Christ fasted in order to teach us fasting; therefore, the Great Lent includes the Holy Forty Days in imitation of Christ, who fasted in the wilderness for forty days after baptism. The Holy Bible says, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.” Luke 4:1-2

4. Fasting is a victory over Satan: The first Adam fell because he did not keep the commandment of fasting and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  The second Adam, the Lord Jesus, came and conquered Satan by fasting. When Satan asked the Lord Jesus to turn the stones into bread, he said, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “it is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” Matthew 4 :3-4 Christ’s victory over Satan in the wilderness while fasting is a victory for us; therefore, by fasting we can triumph over Satan and his temptations.  As the Lord Jesus said, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

5. Fasting and doing good:  The Holy Bible says, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58: 7

Acceptable fasting is fasting accompanied by doing good.  The man who is preoccupied with desires and pleasures of this world, does not pay attention to the needy and the suffering, such as the rich man who did not care about the poor Lazarus, “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.” Luke 16:19-20.

The believer who fasts empathizes with the needy; so his heart moves to help them. May our Good Lord Who fasted for us forty days and forty nights grant us an acceptable fast, enjoying the blessings of the Great Lent. 

May the Lord bless your offerings to support Santa Verena’s charitable programs.

Metropolitan Serapion