New here, catechumen. Pls HELP - feeling overwhelmed!

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Hello all! Longtime lurker in the process of (possibly?) converting from Lutheran (haven't been in years, but raised, confirmed, baptized in it) to Orthodox Christianity, and my journey from despair over what the Lutheran church has become (unrecognizable from my fond childhood memories!) to even discovering the Orthodox Christian faith about 10 months ago.

Fell in love with it, but right now I'm starting to get really intimidated.

For the TL;DR please just scroll down to "Why I'm starting to feel overwhelmed." I need help!

Once I discovered this faith, starting reading about it, etc. I felt this "click" inside of me, this, "oh my gosh I've found my HOME, this is what I've been searching for forever." I'm lucky enough to live in an area with quite a few options, but by the time we were ready to make a visit, the lockdown begain that VERY WEEK! We were disappointed as a family, and I was close to devastated (that's a bit dramatic, but it was so, so sad for me).

So, I just kept reading, reading, reading, watching YouTube videos, trying to avoid the "sketchy" sources, trial and error and such. And just fell more and more in love with it all.

FINALLY this summer my husband and I were able to meet with the priest of the local church we were most interested in (Antiochian). We talked with him for well over an hour and just felt like, "this is it." Welcoming to converts of all types, diverse membership of all ethnicities including plenty of American converts, and so on. Open, warm, welcoming doors there.

Following Covid guidelines of social distancing and masks and so on, we were finally able to start attending services in early August. Love it all even more now. With the exception of standing - holy cow the stamina that takes (I have rheumatoid arthritis, I'm just NOT used to standing that long). I have to take quite a few "sit" breaks and I feel self-conscious when I do, but no one looks at me so it's probably just my own hangup - and I'm getting better at it.

The distance thing is depressing, no "coffee hour," no social gatherings there, it makes me sad, I want to connect with others but, well, can't do anything about that at the moment so just soldiering on. Everyone we have met - admittedly only for like a few minutes given the current times - has been so friendly and welcoming, so that's good! We were able to go through roughly a month of weekly Zoom meetings for enquirers.

Then, starting 2 weeks ago we were able to finally meet once per week for IN PERSON "official" catechumen classes - YAY! Still, masks, social distancing, yadda yadda. Sigh. Enjoying them very much though and learning a lot more in depth. I've purchased and read at least 10 books about Orthodox Christianity (I'm someone who loves to read, I'm not forcing myself to do this) And the more I read, the more I love. So here we go....love it in theory....I can't get enough. Ditto watching countless hours of YouTube videos. It's fascinating, very enjoyable!

So then,

"Why I'm starting to feel overwhelmed."

It's starting to hit me (and this is why I'm finally making a post here), I've felt this sad, awful sinking feeling of "I don't know if I have the emotional, mental and physical fortitude to actually DO this." And here is where I have THE most embarrassing (for me) concern, like geez, I'm just lazy: the Orthodox way of life is......while beautiful and feeling "right" for me........it seems so, well, HARD to me. Really, really hard. :(

Prayer:
I've created my daily prayer rule. Doing "meh" on it, but every day I manage morning and daytime ones. I DO love using a prayer rope and love reciting (out loud or in my head) the Jesus Prayer throughout the day, as well as "arrow prayers." The longer prayers are, how should I put this, I'm not feeling it. The words are too fancy, it feels exhausting, not uplifting at all - and on top of that - the many lines about "angering God" cause major internal conflict inside of me - how am I supposed to feel so loved by a merciful God if by messing up I "anger" Him? This is a huge concern for me. ☹

Fasting - Weds and Fridays, I've done very well, haven't had any problems or felt deprived at all. BUT.....I see this looming massive fast coming up for the Nativity in November through Christmas and guys (and gals), I don't know if I can pull that off. Okay, almost sure that I cannot. To say it's a massive mental block for me is putting it mildly, I'm telling you, I don't think I'm up to that. And it makes me already feel like a failure. No meat I have zero problem with. But no eggs or dairy, or oil for so long? It's more than daunting to me, it feels downright impossible! AND I HATE FISH, HATE IT. It's such a huge challenge for me personally I already feel I'll fail at, miserably. Wow, I feel like a whiny baby writing that, but I have to be totally honest here if I want honest feedback, so...

I'm starting to really doubt myself. While, thankfully, the catechumen process is NOT "rushed" in this church, the fact is - I love it all in theory, but the actual practice is more than daunting. Even though I've immersed myself in reading, and the more I read the more I love - for whatever reason it's only now sinking in for me that in practice it is this demanding. I believe in a personal relationship with God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and I desperately yearn for that, no...I need that...but all these rules seem like they are - for lack of a better description - getting in the way of that?

Everything I've learned about with Orthodox Christianity I'm "in love" with in theory, in everything I read, it's like YES, THIS IS IT - and yet... maybe I've totally miscalculated, maybe I was wrong... my fears are escalating because this past week I've felt overwhelmed, like I cannot hack it - the rules, SO many rules... seem endless, and so, so hard. What have I gotten myself into? 😟

Is this at all a normal thing to feel? Does it ever get better? Did I make a huge mistake in thinking I've found my church "home" given that now I'm feeling like the rules are overwhelming, that I'll never be able to meet the standards? Will I ever find a church home again if I'm not cut out for this? Because I doubt it, Protestant religion is just a flat out NO for me. Lutherans, even LCMS, have gone super modern, and I (even in my large city!) cannot find any that aren't changing with the times, rapidly, and I can't stand it, can't stomach that. I'm feeling so lonely and lost right now.

I would be so very grateful for any advice or encouragement, and heck, if someone thinks "sounds like this isn't, in fact, a good fit for you," please, be honest - say so...I need FEEDBACK because I feel so very lonely on this journey right now. I won't take offense, I hope to get lots of replies so I can have plenty of food for thought...If you made it through this novella intro post, and are up for engaging, thank you! :)
 

LizaSymonenko

Hoplitarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
16,279
Reaction score
72
Points
48
Location
Detroit
Website
protectress.org
Dearest AnneFaye,

Take a step back and breathe!

The fact that you LOVE what you have thus far learned of the Church is the most important thing.

Standing... Standing is for those who "can" stand... sitting is perfectly permitted if you are not able to stand... and if anyone looks at you, or judges you for it, than it is their sin, not yours.

Fasting... First, will you be Orthodox by the time of the fast? If not, then don't worry about it... and if so, as it is your first year, speak with your priest, and he will most likely allow a less strict fast. (It does get easier with practice.)

I do not care for fish either... but, there are lots of yummy veggies out there... and we can get pretty creative with them. Indian restaurants offer a wide variety of fasting options. ...and remember, the fast is not really so much about food, as about contrition, self-examination, and an effort at self restraint to become more Christ-like.... for when our stomachs are full we are sleepy, groggy, and really lethargic.

I once heard a story about a monk:
  • A brother said to an old man: “There are two brothers. One of them stays in his cell quietly, fasting for six days at a time, and imposing on himself a good deal of discipline, and the other serves the sick. Which one of them is more acceptable to God?” The old man replied: “Even if the brother who fasts six days were to hang himself up by the nose, he could not equal the one who serves the sick.” Here we learn that love is above fasting, that we must not presume to put our fasting above “the more excellent way,” the “new commandment” to love one another. http://www.stshenoudamonastery.org.au/selected-sayings-desert-fathers-fasting/
Mostly remember that fasting, and constant prayer are tools to help you on the road to salvation. They alone will not ensure salvation. We are not Pharisees that we follow the law to the last iota but, our hearts are not filled with love.

Go one step at a time. Orthodoxy is a lifelong journey... not a sprint to the finish line. You can walk, you don't have to run.

Much love to you, as you find your way.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
2,628
Reaction score
31
Points
48
Age
56
Location
USA
Hello, may you have many years & blessings in the faith. As my id indicates, I am a convert but I have been Orthodox for over 15 years. I read very little of Orthodoxy when I started attending liturgy ( I will explain more further on).

It is great to learn new things and, I believe, not have to be overwhelmed. In our parish, most people are faithful, kindly, & intelligent but few are deeply steeped in theology. We have had our liturgy resumed since late July & hopefully, you can resume attending at yours. The Liturgy, Vespers etc. are our ongoing learning tools.

Personally, I believe, Orthodoxy reveals the fullness of the Lord’s Incarnation to us in His incarnation, life & preaching, resurrection, & ascension as we see via scripture, icons etc.

Have you read the ancient church manual titled: The Didache?:
 

hecma925

Stratopedarches
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Messages
19,892
Reaction score
198
Points
63
Age
159
Location
The South
The pearl of great price is obtained with difficulty.

Echoing Liza, relax, it will be ok. I would definitely bring these concerns to your priest, but I'd bet he'd say to do a little at a time. Build up to it as if you would build up endurance for a marathon. The rules help us along the Way, not as a hindrance but a guide.

As to the prayers that are difficult, think of it as an opportunity to humble yourself before God. He loves us so much and we fall short of perfection that He so desires for us. The prayers, prayed by saints and Fathers of Our Church, allow us to recognize those failings and return to God as the Prodigal Son. On a day-to-day basis, I know for myself, there are opportunities to humble myself and I don't take them. The prayer rule lets me examine myself and cry out to the Trinity. Because I want to be with Him and He is waiting. The prayer rule is a meeting with the Lord. Treasure it, no matter how short (St. Seraphim's Rule) or how long (super Megaloschemamonk Elder level) it happens to be.

My best wishes as your family enters the Church and many years.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
2,628
Reaction score
31
Points
48
Age
56
Location
USA
My post is incomplete & became disrupted & will have to complete it again later.
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Dearest AnneFaye,

Take a step back and breathe!

The fact that you LOVE what you have thus far learned of the Church is the most important thing.

Standing... Standing is for those who "can" stand... sitting is perfectly permitted if you are not able to stand... and if anyone looks at you, or judges you for it, than it is their sin, not yours.

Fasting... First, will you be Orthodox by the time of the fast? If not, then don't worry about it... and if so, as it is your first year, speak with your priest, and he will most likely allow a less strict fast. (It does get easier with practice.)

I do not care for fish either... but, there are lots of yummy veggies out there... and we can get pretty creative with them. Indian restaurants offer a wide variety of fasting options. ...and remember, the fast is not really so much about food, as about contrition, self-examination, and an effort at self restraint to become more Christ-like.... for when our stomachs are full we are sleepy, groggy, and really lethargic.

I once heard a story about a monk:
  • A brother said to an old man: “There are two brothers. One of them stays in his cell quietly, fasting for six days at a time, and imposing on himself a good deal of discipline, and the other serves the sick. Which one of them is more acceptable to God?” The old man replied: “Even if the brother who fasts six days were to hang himself up by the nose, he could not equal the one who serves the sick.” Here we learn that love is above fasting, that we must not presume to put our fasting above “the more excellent way,” the “new commandment” to love one another. http://www.stshenoudamonastery.org.au/selected-sayings-desert-fathers-fasting/
Mostly remember that fasting, and constant prayer are tools to help you on the road to salvation. They alone will not ensure salvation. We are not Pharisees that we follow the law to the last iota but, our hearts are not filled with love.

Go one step at a time. Orthodoxy is a lifelong journey... not a sprint to the finish line. You can walk, you don't have to run.

Much love to you, as you find your way.
What a beautiful and loving response, thank you SO much, Liza! I've read your response several times now, your words and wisdom are reassuring and insightful, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate them, and your taking the time to do so.

I will definitely talk to the priest about my sudden feelings of inadequacy, he's such a warm, relatable man, I am sure he'll have similar reassurance for me. I wanted to get all my thoughts out here to see what people who practiced the faith thought of my "little crisis" - little because I don't think it's insurmountable. And I'm so glad I reached out here.

Your words were like a cool breeze on a hot summer day, Liza. God bless you!
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Hello, may you have many years & blessings in the faith. As my id indicates, I am a convert but I have been Orthodox for over 15 years. I read very little of Orthodoxy when I started attending liturgy ( I will explain more further on).

It is great to learn new things and, I believe, not have to be overwhelmed. In our parish, most people are faithful, kindly, & intelligent but few are deeply steeped in theology. We have had our liturgy resumed since late July & hopefully, you can resume attending at yours. The Liturgy, Vespers etc. are our ongoing learning tools.

Personally, I believe, Orthodoxy reveals the fullness of the Lord’s Incarnation to us in His incarnation, life & preaching, resurrection, & ascension as we see via scripture, icons etc.

Have you read the ancient church manual titled: The Didache?:
Hello and thank you for the warm wishes and words of encouragement! I see you wrote further in this thread that you had more to say, I'll be sure to check later, no pressure at all though!

I have not read The Didache, but it certainly sounds intriguing and helpful, thank you for mentioning it! God bless you and thank you.
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
The pearl of great price is obtained with difficulty.

Echoing Liza, relax, it will be ok. I would definitely bring these concerns to your priest, but I'd bet he'd say to do a little at a time. Build up to it as if you would build up endurance for a marathon. The rules help us along the Way, not as a hindrance but a guide.

As to the prayers that are difficult, think of it as an opportunity to humble yourself before God. He loves us so much and we fall short of perfection that He so desires for us. The prayers, prayed by saints and Fathers of Our Church, allow us to recognize those failings and return to God as the Prodigal Son. On a day-to-day basis, I know for myself, there are opportunities to humble myself and I don't take them. The prayer rule lets me examine myself and cry out to the Trinity. Because I want to be with Him and He is waiting. The prayer rule is a meeting with the Lord. Treasure it, no matter how short (St. Seraphim's Rule) or how long (super Megaloschemamonk Elder level) it happens to be.

My best wishes as your family enters the Church and many years.

Hello! Thank you for sharing - lots of wisdom in your words, and the quote you led with is so very true. Not easy to digest, but that's the point, I know. :)

I really like the metaphor about the marathon - it's such a good mental method of working through all of this sudden feeling of being pulled under a wave, so to speak. I've been calm about everything, joyful... and then this week, it's like I had this sudden feeling of massive doubt - in myself, not of the faith. I'm getting such good advice here, yours included, and it's really appreciated. God bless you!
 

Asteriktos

Hypatos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,289
Reaction score
118
Points
63
Age
41
I think it's normal to experience such problems, though the particulars will vary from person to person. Think of the Apostles: these guys walked all over the countryside with Jesus for years, watched him teach and do miracles--even resurrections!--and yet when it came time for Jesus to die they fled. St. Peter spoke of who Christ was by divine inspiration, and yet a short time later was said to be inspired by Satan (Matt. 16:13-23), he boldly cut off an ear in Gethsemane to defend Jesus, and yet suddenly became timid and denied his Lord soon afterward (John 18). I don't say this to make light of your struggles, just to point out that even those destined to be saints struggled with things sometimes.
 

Ainnir

Taxiarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
5,947
Reaction score
171
Points
63
Age
37
Orthodoxy is a good fit for everyone. ☺
I echo Liza and hecma... relax, take your time, and think of all the spiritual disciplines more as training you grow into than as something you either pass or fail. While you're learning about Orthodoxy and learning to practice it a little bit, let yourself unlearn Lutheranism and Protestantism in general. New wine, new wineskin. ;) Definitely talk to your priest; he should be able to help you more specifically.
 

Asteriktos

Hypatos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
39,289
Reaction score
118
Points
63
Age
41
Regarding prayers, it might help to switch to another set of them. I remember having a similar experience with the Jordanville Prayer book, I just found it so disheartening at times.
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
I think it's normal to experience such problems, though the particulars will vary from person to person. Think of the Apostles: these guys walked all over the countryside with Jesus for years, watched him teach and do miracles--even resurrections!--and yet when it came time for Jesus to die they fled. St. Peter spoke of who Christ was by divine inspiration, and yet a short time later was said to be inspired by Satan (Matt. 16:13-23), he boldly cut off an ear in Gethsemane to defend Jesus, and yet suddenly became timid and denied his Lord soon afterward (John 18). I don't say this to make light of your struggles, just to point out that even those destined to be saints struggled with things sometimes.
Hello! Thank you for the words of encouragement, it didn't feel at all like you were making light of my struggles, it's actually quite a huge relief to remember these things. I'm working my way through Matthew right now, just did the reading about Peter's denials yesterday, in fact. It's a powerful reminder. And I really appreciate your taking the time to help me keep these things in mind. God bless you!
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Orthodoxy is a good fit for everyone. ☺
I echo Liza and hecma... relax, take your time, and think of all the spiritual disciplines more as training you grow into than as something you either pass or fail. While you're learning about Orthodoxy and learning to practice it a little bit, let yourself unlearn Lutheranism and Protestantism in general. New wine, new wineskin. ;) Definitely talk to your priest; he should be able to help you more specifically.
I love that line of thinking, the realiziation that this isn't "pass or fail" but training - like the marathon mentioned above. It's so helpful for me to think in these terms instead of expecting myself to get it "all right" out of the gate - no one ever gets it "all right" of course, I just mean I want to do my best and I've been floundering recently on whether or not I had it in me. Excellent advice, thank you and God bless!
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Regarding prayers, it might help to switch to another set of them. I remember having a similar experience with the Jordanville Prayer book, I just found it so disheartening at times.
Thank you for the advice! I made myself a prayer binder, in a 3 ring binder and I update it, take some out, add some in, just practicing different versions as I work on - not "perfecting" but "improving" - my prayer rule and keeping faithful to it. The night time rule is my biggest struggle, I get to the point where I'm just so tired but I at least try to say at least one prayer at night, and with practice I'm bound to improve! Finding different kinds has been a learning journey in itself, it's good that there are so many we have at our disposal. Thank you again and God bless you!
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
2,628
Reaction score
31
Points
48
Age
56
Location
USA
Hello again, I just wanted to add re the Didache, that it is ancient ( ca. 100 AD) & outlines our basic practices of alms giving, prayer, & fasting ( as the Lord teaches in Matthew 6:1-18), Sunday worship, keeping the commandments (Matthew 22:36-40 etc.), baptism, confession, Eucharist, Wed & Fri fasting etc.

As others have said, ease into things especially fasting. Health concerns are always first. Sometimes we may have to even break the fast if, for ex., if someone is being hospitable & unaware of our fasting. Then I have had rushed situations & grabbed a slice of pizza for lunch during Lent etc. ( things happen, do what you can).

As far as prayer, you might want to check out a compilation of Orthodox prayers by Fr Anthony Coniaris: https://www.google.com/search?q=fr+...j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

( Late) Fr Anthony also wrote, among many books, a book on the Orthodox Church:


Fr Anthony wrote in a friendly & substantive way. He wrote some deeper stuff.
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Hello again, I just wanted to add re the Didache, that it is ancient ( ca. 100 AD) & outlines our basic practices of alms giving, prayer, & fasting ( as the Lord teaches in Matthew 6:1-18), Sunday worship, keeping the commandments (Matthew 22:36-40 etc.), baptism, confession, Eucharist, Wed & Fri fasting etc.

As others have said, ease into things especially fasting. Health concerns are always first. Sometimes we may have to even break the fast if, for ex., if someone is being hospitable & unaware of our fasting. Then I have had rushed situations & grabbed a slice of pizza for lunch during Lent etc. ( things happen, do what you can).

As far as prayer, you might want to check out a compilation of Orthodox prayers by Fr Anthony Coniaris: https://www.google.com/search?q=fr+...j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

( Late) Fr Anthony also wrote, among many books, a book on the Orthodox Church:


Fr Anthony wrote in a friendly & substantive way. He wrote some deeper stuff.
Wow these are great resources, thank you! I'm always "hungering" for more to read (in addition to my daily Bible reading, of course ha ha). These two plus the Didache are more to add to my toolbelt. :)

Also appreciate the fasting advice. I think it's encouraging that I have no problems with the Weds and Friday fasts, so I'm sure I can slowly build from there to prepare for the longer ones. I think it was Liza that mentioned if I'm a catechumen to not worry about it, and that certainly does relieve pressure...on the other hand, I think easing into it to prepare for the future will be to my benefit. Even my kids don't mind the fasting style dinners I've been making, so that's cool!

Thanks so much again!
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
2,628
Reaction score
31
Points
48
Age
56
Location
USA
Wow these are great resources, thank you! I'm always "hungering" for more to read (in addition to my daily Bible reading, of course ha ha). These two plus the Didache are more to add to my toolbelt. :)

Also appreciate the fasting advice. I think it's encouraging that I have no problems with the Weds and Friday fasts, so I'm sure I can slowly build from there to prepare for the longer ones. I think it was Liza that mentioned if I'm a catechumen to not worry about it, and that certainly does relieve pressure...on the other hand, I think easing into it to prepare for the future will be to my benefit. Even my kids don't mind the fasting style dinners I've been making, so that's cool!

Thanks so much again!
 

JTLoganville

High Elder
Joined
Jan 19, 2015
Messages
647
Reaction score
23
Points
18
Location
Pennsylvania
Wonderful advice being offered in all of the replies; all I can add is to remember that in some traditions the Nativity Fast is two tiered; the first stage from November 15 to the Feast of St. Spyridon (December 12) is "lighter" with fish (yeah, I know) permitted every day except Wednesdays and Fridays and considerable economia for American Thanksgiving Day and the day following--even though that is a Friday.
Second stage Lenten type fasting beginning with Spyridon through and including December 24.

It can be tough but compared with Great Lent it isn't even a half-marathon. But it will build your endurance for next spring.
 

SolEX01

Toumarches
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
13,791
Reaction score
10
Points
38
Location
Central Maryland
Website
www.goarch.org
Dear AnneFaye,

I echo the sentiments of the other posters in this thread. I'd focus on the praxis or practice of Orthodoxy instead of fasting. In my church's homilies, they tell us to establish a relationship with Christ by reading the Scriptures and doing the things he did. Some people give up the Internet or other bad habits during lengthy fasting periods. According to an old Greek saying, what comes out of your mouth (and by extension, what do you do) is more important than what you put in your mouth. Abstaining from food is just one aspect of fasting.

I hope your journey to Orthodoxy continues and take things one baby step at a time. Try not to feel overwhelmed. :)👍

In Christ,

SolEX01
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Dear AnneFaye,

I echo the sentiments of the other posters in this thread. I'd focus on the praxis or practice of Orthodoxy instead of fasting. In my church's homilies, they tell us to establish a relationship with Christ by reading the Scriptures and doing the things he did. Some people give up the Internet or other bad habits during lengthy fasting periods. According to an old Greek saying, what comes out of your mouth (and by extension, what do you do) is more important than what you put in your mouth. Abstaining from food is just one aspect of fasting.

I hope your journey to Orthodoxy continues and take things one baby step at a time. Try not to feel overwhelmed. :)👍

In Christ,

SolEX01

I love the way you explained the fasting, the spirit of it vs the technicalities. It definitely is a relief as I struggle to keep all of the myriad new rules I'm not used to into my life. I really am trying my best and also trying not to "beat myself up" when I make mistakes or miss something.

Thank you for your gracious and kind words, it means a lot to me. :)
 

AnneFaye

Newbie
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Location
USA
Wonderful advice being offered in all of the replies; all I can add is to remember that in some traditions the Nativity Fast is two tiered; the first stage from November 15 to the Feast of St. Spyridon (December 12) is "lighter" with fish (yeah, I know) permitted every day except Wednesdays and Fridays and considerable economia for American Thanksgiving Day and the day following--even though that is a Friday.
Second stage Lenten type fasting beginning with Spyridon through and including December 24.

It can be tough but compared with Great Lent it isn't even a half-marathon. But it will build your endurance for next spring.
Yes I've already thought about the Great Lent fast with worry, ha ha. But I'm taking baby steps. Thank you for your insight!
 
Top