I received a nice book from a parishioner who was in Serbia this past summer. Sometimes I receive books, leaf through them and put them on my shelf and forget about them. This book however, “Day to Day with Patriarch Pavle”, is 365 Q&A’s with our beloved Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose and it sits on my desk and everyday I look over the question of the day.
Today’s is the following:
Your Holiness, Many Christians don’t fast today regularly, even those who take communion. Some out of spiritual laziness, others take the position of modern theologians who say that fasting is unnecessary for our salvation because salvation, as they say, “comes only from God our Savior and not from human works”. Do those who purposely do not fast fall under any ecclesiastical penalties?
In the aim of preserving the importance of the fast, the Church has issues a number of regulations that provide for certain remedial measures, epitimia or penance, for violators of the fast.
If we consider them we will see that those measures are the same prescribed for those who commit the gravest of sins: murder, fornication, adultery, theft, perjury, etc.
The fast is not a human, but divine institution. The commandment of fasting the Church of Christ has kept holy from the beginning and throughout history.
Those faithful who do not keep the fast as the Church has prescribed whether in the types of food to be consumed or the length of the fast, according to the decisions rendered by the highest power of the Church, the Ecumenical Council, should either change their view or be excommunicated.