The Spiritual Watch

Below, please find the combined fifth and sixth issue of The Spiritual Watch, the new publication of the Metropolis of America, published with the blessings of His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius of America. In The Spiritual Watch, you will find news and information regarding our Holy Metropolis, as well as spiritual writings.

The Spiritual Watch, Vol I, Issue 5-6

Quote From the Fathers

I shall speak first about control of the stomach, the opposite to gluttony, and about how to fast and what and how much to eat. I shall say nothing on my own account, but only what I have received from the Holy Fathers. They have not given us only a single rule for fasting or a single standard and measure for eating, because not everyone has the same strength; age, illness or delicacy of body create differences. But they have given us all a single goal: to avoid over-eating and the filling of our bellies... A clear rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop eating while still hungry and do not continue until you are satisfied.
—St. John Cassian, On the Eight Vices.

About the Fast

The feast of the Resurrection, Pascha, is the most important feast of the liturgical year. In order to prepare for this great day, the Church has appointed a time of fasting and preparation, which is called Great Lent. Great Lent begins on Clean Monday (February 10/23 this year), and lasts 40 days. After the 40 days, we begin Holy Week with the Feast of the Raising of Lazarus and Palm Sunday.

There are five Sundays during Lent:

  1. Sunday of Orthodoxy
  2. St. Gregory Palamas
  3. The Holy Cross
  4. St. John of the Ladder
  5. St. Mary of Egypt

In addition, there are multiple other commemorations that the Church has arranged for our spiritual edification.

How do I Fast?

If you are new to fasting, or are not sure you have been doing it properly, know that the first step is to find an experienced spiritual father; a priest or monk of our Metropolis, or of one of the monasteries or parishes of our Church in Greece. Fasting is not a discipline that can be self-directed, and should be part of a balanced spiritual life including attendance at the Divine Services, private prayer at home, acts of charity, and the reading of Holy Scripture.

The general rules of Lent are simple; Monday through Friday are strict fast, when we refrain from meat, dairy, fish, olive oil, and wine. Saturday and Sunday we are permitted wine and oil.

If you are elderly, very young, sickly, or new to fasting, your spiritual father may give you a rule of fasting that is less strict than that which is described here. This is because fasting is not a set of rules and regulations, but a spiritual medicine that the spiritual father, as your spiritual doctor, determines will be for your benefit, taking in to account your state in life. We should refrain from judging those who do not fast as strictly as we do, while praying that they will grow in strength to do so.

In addition, there are extra services such as the Presanctified Liturgy and the Salutations that are prayed during the weekdays of Lent, and we should make every effort to attend these.

Fasting will be of no benefit to us, however, if we do not love our neighbors more than ourselves. Fasting is a tool in our arsenal against the Evil One, but it is useless if we bite the head off of our brother.

If you are living far away from a Church and cannot attend the services during Lent, contact our missions department below for advice on how to participate as best as you can. Spiritual growth is open to you even if you live a great distance.

Finally, dear readers, we pray that you will include us in your prayers, those who prepare this site for you, that we will remain firm, crossing the Sea of the Fast, and arriving at Pascha prepared.

The Icon of Christ used in the above banner is copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, MA, and used by permission.

About the Church

The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians (GOC) of America is The Traditionalist Orthodox Church serving the faithful of North and South America following the old (Julian) calendar. Having its roots in the Diocese of Astoria, founded by Metropolitan Petros (Astyfides) in 1954, it presently consists of two Metropolises (America and Toronto) and two dioceses (Etna and Portland, and Boston), shepherded by five hierarchs, under the Presidency of His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius of America.

The Church of the GOC of America is an autonomous Eparchy whose Mother Church is The Holy Synod of the Church of the GOC of Greece, under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece. The bishops belonging to the Eparchial Synod are also members of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. We resist the heresy of Ecumenism.

Orthodox Awareness

Bartholomew Prays at Iftar

Iftar, refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after sunset.

We report the following unchanged as it was published:

"The leaders of the Armenian, Roman, Jewish and Syrian communities of Turkey sat around the fasting Iftar dinner in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul." Read more...


Saint John of Kronstadt - Bunnell, Florida

St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church began as a mission parish in the year 2000, in a home chapel in Palm Coast, FL – a small town on Florida’s northeast coast located between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. After two years, it became necessary to have services in area community centers, rented for Sundays and other Holy Days. Read more...


Report and photos from the 2017 Youth & Family Conference

Ask A Priest

Forty Day Memorial Service

Q. Can you please explain the significance of the forty day memorial service? An Evangelical family asked one of our relatives that question. We said that it’s best to ask a clergy member. Thank you in advance for your response. (We will forward it to them as soon as possible).
-P. & M. G.