The Ladder of Divine Ascent of St. John Climacus

Українська Греко-Католицька Церква св. Архистратига Михаїла, Тусон, Арізона

St. Michael Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, Tucson, AZ

Icon of the entire liturgical year

Copyright 2016-19. St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church. All rights reserved.


Fast periods  are a natural thing for Christians who are trying to grow in their faith.  Ascetical struggle is part and parcel of our Life in Christ.  It helps us to become more free and less weighed down by physical desires.  Our ancestors in the faith did not ask about minimum prescriptions for fasting. They fasted from all animal products (meat, eggs, and dairy) throughout the whole fast periods (yes, for 40 days in the case of the fasts that precede Pascha and Christmas).  Many Orthodox Christians still keep these fasts seriously.  If you cannot keep the strict fast, then at least do something! Perhaps you can keep the first and last week of a fast period, or three days a week.  Of course, if you are ill, aged, or work at hard labor, it is best that you moderate the fast. If you can, you should.  If you can't, then don't agonize about it.  The Fathers wisely said: " The most important thing about fasting is that we refrain from eating one another!"

MinimumPrescriptions for Fasting:

 According to the decision of the Episcopal Synods of the UGCC, the absolute minimumprescriptions regarding fasting are as follows:

To abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year, except when

a feast of the Lord or the Mother of God falls on a Friday, or
during the so-called zahal’nytsi, that is, periods when, owing to the nature of that period we do not fast.  These periods are:

The period from Christmas to Theophany
From the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee to the Sunday of the Prodigal Son
From Pascha to Thomas Sunday
From Pentecost to the following Sunday (Sunday of  All Saints).

To abstain from meat and dairy products on the first day of Lent and on Good Friday.
To abstain from meat products (dairy products may be consumed), according to local customs, on the following days:

The eve of Christmas(December 25/January 6) and Theophany(January 5/18)
Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14/27)
Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (August 29/September 11)

Traditional Fast Periods:

While the prescriptions for fasting listed above constitute a minimum requirement for Ukrainian Greco-Catholics, all Eastern Christians are encouraged to observe, to the best of their ability and with their spiritual father’s blessing, the following traditional periods of fasting.

The Great Fast – Lent:  Lent begins forty days before Palm Sunday, on the Monday after Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese-Fare Sunday) and lasts until the Friday preceding Palm Sunday.
The Fast of the Holy Apostles:  The Fast of the Holy Apostles begins on the Monday after All Saints Sunday (the Sunday after Pentecost) and lasts until June 29/July 12, the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.  This Fast varies in length depending on the date of Pascha.
The Dormition Fast: The Fast which precedes the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God begins on August 1/14 and lasts until the eve of the Feast, which is celebrated on August 15/28.
The Advent Fast: The Fast before Christmas begins on November 15/28 and and lasts until the eve of the Feast of the Nativity, December 24/January 6.

Fixed Feasts are marked in Green (Gregorian Calendar/Julian Calendar)

Moveable Feasts (Paschal Cycle) are marked in Red (These dates are for 2017 only, when both Julian and Gregorian Calendars coincide)

Fast Periods are marked in yellow

Memorial Saturdays (when we pray for our deceased brothers and sisters) are marked in violet.

Beginning of Liturgical Year   September 1/ September 14

Nativity of the Mother of God  September 8/ September 21

Exaltation of the Holy Cross  September 14/  September 27

Protection of the Mother of God  October 1/  October 14

Feast of St. Philip  November 14/  November 27

First day of pre-Christmas Fast (Pilipivka)  November 15/  November 28. This fast lasts until Christmas

Feast of St. Demetrius  October 26/  November 8

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael/  November 8/  November 21

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple  November 21/  December 4

Feast of St. Nicholas  December 6/  December 19

Feast of the Conception of the Mother of God By St. Anne  December 9/  December 22

Christmas Eve, December 24/ January 7

Nativity of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ: December 25/  January 7

Synaxis of the Mother of God:  December 26/  January 8

Feast of St. Stephen, Protodeacon, the first Martyr:  December 27/  January 9

The Naming of our Lord, Jesus Christ & The Feast of St. Basil the Great:  January 1/  January 14

Theophany Eve: January 6/18

The Feast of the Theophany:  January 6/  January 19

The Feast of the 3 Hierarchs (St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory,the Theologian) :  January 30/  February 12

Presentation of our Lord (Encounter of the Lord):  February 2/  February 15

 Sunday of Zacchaeus:  Janaury 29, 2017

Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee:  February 5, 2017

Sunday of the Prodigal Son:  February 12, 2017

First Saturday of Souls: February 18, 2017

Meatfare Sunday: February 19, 2017 (According to strict observance, this is gthe last day meat is consumed until Pascha)

Cheese-Fare Sunday (Forgiveness Sunday):  February 26, 2017
(According to strict observance, this is the last day that dairy products are consumed until Pascha)

First Day of the Great Fast (Day of strict abstinence):   February 27, 2017

First Sunday of the Great Fast (Sunday of Orthodoxy) :  March 5, 2017

Second Saturday of Souls: March 11, 2017

Second Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Gregory Palamas):  March 12, 2017

Third Saturday of Souls: March 18, 2017

Veneration of the Holy Life-Giving Cross (3rd Sunday of the Fast):  March 19, 2017

Annunciation: March 25/  April 7, 201

Fourth Saturday of Souls:  March 25, 2017 (Superseded by Annunciation)

Fourth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. John Climacus):  March 26, 2017

Canon of St. Andrew of Crete: Thursday March 30, 2017

​Akathist Saturday: April 1, 2017

​Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast (St. Mary of Egypt): April 2, 2017

Lazarus Saturday April 8,2017

Palm Sunday:  April 9, 2017

Great and Holy Thursday: April 13, 2017

Great and Holy Friday: April 14, 2017

Great and Holy Saturday: April 15, 2017

Pascha - The Resurrection (Easter): April 16, 2017

St. Thomas Sunday:  April 23, 2017

Sunday of the Myrrh Bearing Women: April 30, 2017

Sunday of the Paralytic: May 7, 2017

Mid-Feast of Pentecost:  May 10, 2017

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: May 14, 2017

Sunday of the Man Born Blind:  May 21, 2017

Ascension of our Lord:  May 25, 2017

Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council:  May 28, 2017

Fifth Saturday of Souls: June 3, 2017

Descent of the Holy Spirit  (Pentecost):  June 4, 2017

Monday of the Holy Spirit:  June 5, 2017

Sunday of All Saints:  June 11, 2017

Sunday of All Saints of Rus'-Ukraine: July 2, 2017

Apostles Fast (Petrivka): June 12-29, 2017

Nativity of St. John the Baptist: June 24/ July 7

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul:  June 29/  July 12

Dormition Fast (Spasivka): August 1-14

Feast of the Transfiguration:  August 6/  August 19

Dormition of the Mother of God:  August 15/  August 28