Within this developed pattern of Great Lent, what precisely do the rules of fasting demand? Neither in ancient nor in modern times has there ever been exact uniformity, but most Orthodox authorities agree on the following rules:
(1) During the week between the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee and that of the Prodigal Son, there is general dispensation from all fasting. Meat and animal products may be eaten even on Wednesday and Friday.
By Father Seraphim (Rose) of Platina
In answer to numerous requests from readers, the rule of fasting is given for each day of the year. Where no indication of fast is given, and during "fast-free weeks," all foods may be eaten (except during Cheese-fare Week, when meat alone is forbidden every day). Where "fast day" is indicated alone, the fast is a strict one, with no meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, wine or oil to be eaten. Where, underneath "fast day," is indicated "wine and oil allowed," the fast is relaxed for the sake of a feast day or vigil, to allow eating of these foods. Where "fish, wine and oil allowed" is indicated, then all three of these foods may be eaten.
Grace and Peace to you as we approach, together, the wreath of Great and Holy Lent!
Our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates annually on the First Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the radiant feast of the Restoration of Holy Icons of March 11th, 843under the aegis of Empress Theodora, together with her young son, Emperor Michael III and the aged Ecumenical Patriarch Methodius, known as the Triumph of Orthodoxy, or Orthodox Sunday. All of you, without exception, are to join in local Pan-Orthodox celebrations as a visible manifestation of our unity in Christ. A sterling example was given in 1952 for us to follow by our Holy Bishop Nicholai in Cleveland, Ohio. His famous sermon given on that day continues to resonate within Orthodoxy in America.