The Church year has four fasting periods, or periods of time of abstention from dairy products and all other animal products. Occasionally fish or seafood is allowed, depending on the strictness of the fast.
The fasts are connected with major church feast days and the spiritual preparation considered necessary to prepare for them. However, fasting itself is indicated by the Church as a necessary part of our spiritual life, regardless of any feast in particular. Even science now recognizes the necessity of fasting for good health. As Orthodox Christians, we know that fasting is needed for the soul for the sake of humility and also prayer.
One such fast is the Dormition fast, which starts on August 1 and lasts two weeks, until the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. It is a strict fast in the sense that fish is not allowed, except on the feast of the Holy Transfiguration.
In our monastery, the time of the Dormition fast coincides with the availability of many vegetables from our garden as well as the availability of fresh sweet corn, a traditional favorite of our monastics. We also look forward to the great feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration and also the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, which is especially celebrated very solemnly in our monastery, combined which it is with our Labor Day people’s celebration of the memory of St. Job of Pochaev, the heavenly protector of our missionary publishing endeavors, and starting again as of last year, the serving of the burial service of the Mother of God.