Minimum Prescriptions for Fasting:
According to the decision of the Episcopal Synods of the UGCC, the minimal prescriptions regarding fasting are the following:
1) To abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year, except when
a) a feast of the Lord or the Mother of God falls on a Friday, or
b) during the so-called zahalnytsi, that is, periods when, owing to the nature of that period, we do not fast. These periods (zahalnytsi) are:
i) The period from Christmas to Theophany
ii) From the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee to the Sunday of the Prodigal Son
iii) From Pascha (Easter Sunday) to Thomas Sunday
iv) From Pentecost to the following Sun day (of All Saints).
2) To abstain from meat and dairy products on the first day of Lent and on Good Friday.
3) To abstain from meat products (dairy products may be consumed) -according to local customs – on the following days:
i) The eve of Christmas (December 24/January 6) and Theophany January 5/18)
ii) Exaltation of the Cross (September 14/27)
iii) Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (August 29/September 11).
Traditional Fast Periods:
While the prescriptions for fasting listed above constitute a kind of minimum requirement for Ukrainian Greco-Catholics, all Eastern Christians are encouraged to observe- to the best of their abilities- the following traditional periods of fasting.
1) Lent- the Great Fast: Lent begins forty days before Palm Sunday, on the Monday after Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese-Fare Sunday), and lasts until the Friday preceding Palm Sunday. Holy Week is a special Fast in honour of our Lord’s Passion, and lasts from the evening of Palm Sunday until Holy Saturday inclusive.
2) 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 Easter.
3) 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 August 15 (28).
4) The Advent Fast: The Fast before Christmas begins November 15 (28) and lasts until the eve of the Feast of the Nativity, December 24 January 6).
5) Wednesday and Friday Throughout the Year – except for Fast-Free Weeks: Throughout the year Wednesdays, in remembrance of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, and Fridays, in remembrance of Christ’s Holy Passion, are traditionally kept as days of fasting and increased prayer.
(Source:The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology for Worship, pg.19-20).