We asked Father George Frangos from the Greek Orthodox Church of Altona North & Districts some questions about Lent and fasting.

1) Fasting involves abstaining from animal products and following a vegan diet throughout the period of Lent.

2) Fasting is not just about food. Even if you follow a vegan diet, it doesn’t mean that you don’g need to change anything during the period of fasting as abstaining from food is just one part of the process. Fasting is done primarily to keep us aware of the other virtues we should be practicing during Lent in order to keep us focused on the important things. Father George Frangos also suggests prayer, good works, acts of kindness, volunteering, helping those in need, not judging others, seeking and granting forgiveness. “These are virtues which we should practice increasingly over Lent,” he says.

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3) Many people have a lack of awareness when it comes to true fasting. According to abba Dorotheos, one of the desert fathers, “… fasting is not only a rule against gluttony in regard to food, it is refraining from every sin so that, while fasting, the tongue may also fast, refraining from slander, lies, evil talking, degrading one’s brother/sister, anger and every sin committed by the tongue. One should also fast with the eyes, not looking at vain things… A person that fasts wisely wins purity and comes to humility… and proves themselves a skillful spiritual builder.”

4) Children, sick people, pregnant women, travellers and the elderly that need sustenance or are in care are exempt from fasting.

5) “Holy Communion is the pinnacle of our communication with God, therefore the night before we prepare with prayers and on the morning we take communion we eat or drink nothing in anticipation of receiving God within us”, Fr Frangos said.

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Do you have a question you’d like to ask a Greek priest? Send your question to mary@neoskosmos.com.au and we’ll try and get some answers.