Fasting rules provided in Chapter 33 of the Typicon

It is fitting to know, that during the fast of the Holy Apostles, and of the Nativity of Christ, on Tuesday and Thursday, we do not eat fish, but oil and wine only. On Monday, on Wednesday and Friday, we taste neither oil nor wine, but we fast until the ninth hour, and on these days we eat dry food.* On Saturdays and Sundays we eat fish.

If a saint having the [Great] Doxology occurs on a Tuesday or on a Thursday, we eat fish.
If on a Monday, likewise.

If on a Wednesday or a Friday, we permit oil and wine only; we eat once a day.

If a saint having a vigil [occurs] on a Wednesday or a Friday, we permit oil and wine and fish.

If the memorial of the saint whose temple it is occurs on a Wednesday or a Friday, we do likewise.

A instruction provided in the Typicon under 14 November

"It is fitting to know that on the morrow we begin the fast for the Nativity of Christ, the holy forty days. During these forty days, we ought to keep three days in each week, fasting from oil and wine: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Only if a great saint occurs, do we permit [a relaxation] on his memorial, and we do [this] for the love of the saint [and] for the sake of his feast, which [during] this month [of November] are the 16th, 25th and 30th [days], [and in] December [are] the 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 17th and 20th days. For, on these days, if on a Tuesday and on a Thursday, we eat fish. On a Monday, on a Wednesday and on a Friday, we permit only oil and wine; we do not eat fish, except [on the feast of] the temple. If one of these [is the feast of] the monastery's temple, we permit fish and wine. On the Entry of the Theotokos [into the Temple], on whatever day it occurs, [even] if on a Wednesday or a Friday, we permit fish also. Some typica command [us] to fast from the 9th day of December, and not to permit fish, except on Saturdays and Sundays and [on the feast of] the temple of a saint. From the 20th day, even until the 25th, if a Saturday and a Sunday occur, we do not permit fish."

A summary of the above prescriptions is as follows:

1. Fish is permitted on all Saturdays and Sundays, except 20 and 21 December.

2. Fish is permitted on the following weekdays: 21 Nov/4 Dec (Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple), 25 Nov/8 Dec (Apodosis of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple), 4/17 Dec (Great-martyr Barbara), 9/22 Dec (Conception of the Theotokos).

3. Wine and oil are permitted on all Tuesdays and Thursdays.

4. Wine and oil are also permitted on the following weekdays: 24 Nov/7 Dec (Great-martyr Catherine), 5/18 Dec (Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified), 12/25 Dec (St. Spyridon), 17/30 Dec (Prophet Daniel).

5. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, except as indicated in paragraphs 2 and 4 above, fish, wine and oil are not permitted.

*The term, "dry food," refers to "xerophagy," which means unboiled food that is either raw, dried, salted or pickled, as well as plain bread.

**Permission for oil and wine on the feast of the Great-martyr Catherine (4/17 Nov) is not mentioned in the Typicon, but is mentioned in the Menologion that is appended to the Great Horologion.

***If a vigil is served for Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified (5/18 Dec), then fish is permitted.

It should be noted that local practices may require the modification of the above provisions. For example, if a local commemoration, such as St. Innocent of Irkutsk (26 Nov/9 Dec) or the Kursk Icon (27 Nov/10 Dec), occurs on a weekday and a vigil is served, then fish is permitted on that day.

In some places, the prescription to obstain from fish on weekdays that occur after 9/22 December is not observed. If such is the case, then, when a local commemoration, such as St. Herman of Alaska (12/25 Dec), occurs and a vigil is served, fish is permitted on that day.

Summary Tables

  No Special Feast Polyelaion
or vigil rank Saint
Parish Feast
Monday
Wednesday
Friday
through Dec 20
Strict Fast Wine & Oil Wine & Oil
Tuesday
Thursday
through Dec 20
Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Saturday
Sunday
through Dec 20
Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Monday
Wednesday
Friday
after Dec 20
Wine & Oil Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Tuesday
Thursday
after Dec 20
Wine & Oil Wine & Oil Wine & Oil
Saturday
Sunday
after Dec 20
Wine & Oil Wine & Oil Wine & Oil
  Mon Wed Fri Tue Thu Sat Sun
Nov 16 / 29 Ap. Matthew Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Nov 17 / 23 St. Gregory the Wonderworker Wine & Oil Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Nov 21 / Dec 4 ENTRY of the Theotokos Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Nov 24 / Dec 7 St. Catherine, Great Martyr Wine & Oil Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Nov 25 / Dec 8 Hieromartyr Clement Wine & Oil Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil
Dec 4 / 17 Great Martyr Barbara Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil Fish, Wine & Oil

Thank you to Reader Daniel Olson for the Typicon Translation and some explanatory material, which was originally posted to the "Ustav" mailing list.





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