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ST. MARY OF ZION

ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX TEWAHEDO CHURCH - LONDON

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'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit'

St Matthew 28: 19

Charity No. 282910

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Abiy Tsome/ The Great Lent Fast - Introduction

Duration

 

The duration of this great fast is 55 days.  This is almost eight weeks.  From Monday to Friday no food or drink is taken before noon-midday at the earliest or until 3pm.  Even at this time only a simple repast should be taken until evening dinner or supper.  This schedule is strictly adhered to except on the two Sabbaths Saturday and Sunday.  These two days are honoured as days of rest above others.  Saturday is the first Old Testament Sabbath day and Sunday is the day of our Lord.  It is the day of the resurrection, when our Lord defeated death by rising from the dead.  For this reason we do not afflict ourselves with fasting and prostrations; and therefore may take breakfast.  However, if we wish to partake of the Holy Communion on Saturday or Sunday we must fast from all food and drink for at least 12 hours before.

 

A Vegetarian/ Vegan Fast

 

During this great fast we must abstain from all meat animal products.  This includes fish.  Dairy products like cheese, milk, eggs, butter, etc are also not included in our diet during this period.  This diet is strictly adhered to throughout the 55 days from Monday to Friday including Saturday and Sunday.

 

The Purpose of the Great Lent Fast

 

The Great Lent Fast is the longest in the Christian Calendar.  It follows the example of our Lord Jesus Christ 40 days and nights fast.  St Matt 4:1-2  it is a period of spiritual discipline and reward.  A time of prayer, study, humility and fasting in preparation for the great festival of salvation, that is the resurrection.

 

Division of the Great Lent Fast

 

The eight weeks Great Lent Fast is divided into three basic parts:

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  • First division commemorates the fast of Herkal– the first week of Great Lent

  • Second division commemorates the 40 days fast of our Lord

  • Third division commemorates Passion or Holy Week the last week of our Lent starting on Hosanna/ Palm Sunday

 

The three divisions are collectively called The Great Lent Fast.

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