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The Orthodox Church began the 40-day Nativity Fast on November 15 in preparation for the Feast of our Lord's Birth (Dec. 25). This fasting season is also known as Advent from the Latin word adventus, meaning "arrival" (i.e., of Christ Jesus in the flesh at Christmas). Patterned after the 40-day fast of Great Lent, during Advent we likewise strive to the best of our abilities to abstain from fatty and alcoholic foods and drinks: meats and meat products (including fish); milk, eggs, cheese, and other dairy products; olive oil; and wine. Fasting coupled with prayer and works of mercy (Matthew 6) brings the passions of the flesh under control and frees the body and soul to serve God in purity of faith.
The example of the Virgin Mary shows that such a life is possible as we celebrate the Feast of her Entrance into the Temple when she was just three years old (Nov. 21). The ever-Virgin went to dwell in the Temple in detachment from worldly pursuits and in devotion to God, in preparation for her ultimate purpose - to be the living Temple and Mother of God as Christ was conceived and born of her. Are we not all called to be the Temple of God, a holy dwelling place of God in the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17)? So let us participate in this godly life embodied by the Virgin and her Son, our Lord, and experienced in the Church of God.
If you are interested in the Orthodox Faith, we welcome you to come and meet with us and pick up many interesting and informative pamplets that are available for you! If you should have any questions please feel free to call me at the Church at (330) 372-3895.
Thank you for visiting our website and we look forward to seeing you soon!