Church Calendar and Feasts and Fasts of the Church

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The Orthodox church year begins on September 1st. The church venerates at least one saint or sacred event in the life of the Church every day of the year. Among these are thirteen major feasts. Pascha (Easter), which is the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, is the most important feast of the Church, and the week before Pascha, Holy Week, is observed with daily services. The other twelve major feasts of Orthodoxy are as follows:

  1. The Nativity of Mary – September 8th
  2. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross – September 14th
  3. The Presentation of Mary in the Temple – November 21st
  4. The Nativity of Christ – December 25th
  5. Theophany (Baptism of Christ) – January 6th
  6. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple – February 2nd
  7. The Annunciation of the Birth of Christ to the Virgin Mary – March 25th
  8. Palm Sunday – One week before Pascha
  9. The Ascension of Christ – 39 days after Pascha
  10. Pentecost – 49 days after Pascha
  11. The Transfiguration of Christ – August 6th
  12. The Dormition (Falling Asleep) of Mary – August 15th

Fasting is also an importance part of Orthodox life. Besides regular fast days on Wednesdays and Fridays, Orthodoxy has the following four major fasts:

  1. The Lenten Fast – Monday, seven weeks prior to Easter, through Holy Saturday
  2. The Fast of the Apostles – Monday, the eighth day after Pentecost, through June 28th
  3. The Dormition Fast – August 1st through August 14th
  4. The Christmas Fast – November 15th – December 24th