Decree 20 / May 21, 2009
In the Name of the Most Holy,
consubstantial, life-giving and undivided Trinity
By the grace of God,
Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Archeparchy of Alba Iulia and Făgăraş,
Major Archbishop of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church,
in full communion of faith with the Holy Apostolic See of Rome,
According to the rights conferred by the Canons of the Holy Apostles, of the Ecumenical Councils, of the Provincial Councils of our Church;
Considering the dispositions of the Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, art. 112.1, 707.1, 713.2, and 882;
Considering the necessity to safeguard the integrity of faith and morals of our faithful as well as the liturgical unity of action of all the sons and daughters of our Church;
Abiding by the decisions of the Synod of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church convened in ordinary session in Blaj, on May 4–6, 2009;
To the knowledge of all the Bishops, protopresbyteroi, clergy, religious, and all the faithful people of our Church, we promulgate the following
D E C R E E
Art. 1. The document Fast and Abstinence in the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church, outlined by the Synodal Commission for Liturgy is hereby approved;
Art. 2. These standards, as liturgical laws, are mandatory everywhere in conformity with canon law.
Art. 3. The two-page attachment to this decree is a part of it.
Art. 4. The present decree takes effect as law starting the day it is published and rescinds any contrary disposition.
We cordially ask their Excellencies, the Most Reverend Eparchial Bishops, to take all necessary measures to make these norms known in our whole Church, and we firmly request that the clergy diligently avoid any abuse in the celebration of the public services and enforce correctly and coherently the prescriptions of this document as part of our Church’s Patrimony, for the edification of our faithful people and for the greatest glory of God.
Promulgated in Blaj, See of the Major Archbishop,
May 21, Anno Domini 2009,
Feast of Saints Emperors Constantine and Elena.
Attachment to the Decree of the Major Archbishop
20 / May 21, 2009
FAST AND ABSTINENCE
in the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church
Fast is the total or partial avoidance of specific foods and liquids, for a longer or shorter time and for a religious-moral purpose. This avoidance of certain foods and liquids has to be accompanied by refraining from wicked thoughts, words and deeds, which means that physical fasting has to be accompanied by spiritual fasting.
By divine law, all faithful are called to fast and penance. The first prescriptions about fasting are found in the most ancient documents of the Church; for example, Didache (ch. VIII) establishes the requirement of weekly fasting on Wednesday and Friday, replacing the Judaic fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. The days of Wednesday and Friday are related to specific events from the life of our Savior.
The Apostolic Canons (art. 66 and 69) relating to the practice of preparing to receive the Holy Sacraments, prescribe fasting before christening (for adults) and before ordination into Holy Orders. The time required for the preparation for christening was the whole of Great Lent, and the fasting rule allowed only one meal a day, usually in the afternoon. Traditionally established for the Ninth Hour of the day, that meal would be eaten about 3 p.m.
For the Universal Church, in the 1966 Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI, Paenitemini, fasting was made mandatory for all who have reached the age of 14 and abstinence for them above 21 years of age. They who have reached the age of 60 are exempted from abstinence (cf. Paenitemini, chapter IV). According to the prescription of the CCEO, the specific norms for fasting and abstinence are set by the particular law of each sui iuris Church. In the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church the ancient practice of the Byzantine tradition and spirituality is preserved.
III. Categories of Fast
1. Abstinence (total fasting) is the refraining from all food and drink for a specific length of time (customarily until midafternoon or 3 p.m.). Only one meal a day is served, and it must be without meat, dairy or eggs.
Days of abstinence are:
- Vigil of Holy Theophany
- Great and Holy Friday
- Beheading of John the Baptist (August 29)
- Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14)
- Vigil of Christmas
2. Strict fast (xirofagia) is the avoidance of meat, dairy and eggs, and the consumption of only dry meals (bread, vegetables and fruits).
3. Common Fast (regular) is fasting which allows the consumption of cooked Lenten meals, without the use of meat or animal fat. Fish, wine, oil, eggs and dairy are permitted..
4. Days of Fast
- Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year, except those that are dispensed – common fast
- During Great Lent, Clean Week (the first week), and Holy Week – strict fast
For the other days of Great Lent – common fast
- Fast of the Apostles Peter and Paul – common fast
- Fast of the Dormition of the Mother of God (August 1-14) – common fast
- Fast of Christmas (November 15 – December 24) – common fast
5. Dispensation from fast:
a) Wednesdays and Fridays (hârţi):
- From Christmas to the Vigil of Holy Theophany
- During the week of the Publican and Pharisee
- On the day of the following Feast-days: Christmas, Holy Theophany, Three Holy Hierarchs, Meeting of the Lord in Temple, Annunciation to the Virgin Mary, Saint George, Saints Constantine and Elena, Nativity of John the Baptist, Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Saint Elijah, Transfiguration of Our Lord, Dormition of the Mother of God, Nativity of the Mother of God, Saint Demetrius, Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple, Saint Nicholas
b) On the day of the Patron Saint of the church
c) All children younger than 14 years of age, the sick and the elderly. It is recommended, however, that the sick and elderly try to keep at least the common fast on the days prescribed for abstinence.
d) They who cannot fulfill the fasting requirements due to specific, good-faith reasons, may ask for a dispensation from their own parish priest or spiritual director.