The day is moving toward supper-prep time, and it’s time to stop and acknowledge the Sts. Peter and Paul Fast. Having rejoiced for fifty days following Pascha (Easter – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ), the Apostles began to prepare for their departure from Jerusalem to spread Christ’s message. According to Sacred Tradition, as part of their preparation, they began a fast with prayer to ask God to strengthen their resolve and to be with them in their missionary undertakings. As Orthodox Christian Fasts go, it is a rather mild fast. From the Monday following the Sunday of All Saints, we abstain from red meat, poultry, meat products, eggs, dairy products, fish, oil, and wine. Fish, wine and oil are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays, and oil and wine are allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These fasting rules are much the same as those observed during the Nativity Fast. The Fast lasts until June 29 (July 12, old style), the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
This Fast has existed at least since Pope Leo I (461 AD), and is spoken of in his homilies. It has, however, been forgotten in the West. The Fast is thought to have been instituted out of thanksgiving to God for the witness of the apostles of Christ. With this Fast, believers express their thanks for the apostles’ endurance of persecution during their mission.