Fast of the Apostles Bashons 20-Abib 4/May 28-July11

“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Mt. 9:15).

The Apostles’ Fast is the oldest fast and the first one kept by the Christian Church.

In the book The Canon of the Apostles, which was one of the books of Clement of Rome (collected in the fourth century), it states: “They continued to speak in the new tongues of the nations, in which they preached, and He told them what must be done by the congregations with regards to prayer, worship, and the laws, and they thanked God for this knowledge they received. They fasted for forty days, thanking God through it, and then Peter washed the feet of the disciples… then they departed to all the nations to call people to the faith.”

According to the writings of fourteenth century scholars, Fast of the Apostles begins with the Monday after the Holy Fifty Days and it ends on the fifth of Ebib, the day that commemorates the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul…”. Currently, this is the accepted opinion of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

“He appointed twelve, whom He also named Apostles” (Mark 3:14). The twelve apostles formed the inner core of the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. They were personally chosen by the Lord Himself, had the power of working miracles and were inspired to teach and to do extraordinary mission work. On the Feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles

On Pentecost day, the Holy Spirit descended with His gifts on the disciples and they became great, giving witness with the power of the life and death and the resurrection of Jesus as He declared they should. So they fasted with thanksgiving to God and to prepare themselves for service and preaching. In this way, the disciples did exactly as their Lord, who fasted for forty days after the Holy Spirit descended on Him. This is also evident in the Acts of the Apostles: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit… they proclaimed the word of God” (Acts 13:2-5). Therefore, the Fast of our Fathers, the Apostles, has an important place in our church, since it is related to the work of the Holy Spirit in the believers.

The preaching of the apostles did not stop at any time, it is continued everyday through our works. The Apostles’ Fast is a great opportunity for one to be reminded of the works that the Holy Spirit did through the Apostles, such as, St. Peter’s sermon, which converted approximately three thousand people

The fast always terminates on Abib 5th because that is the day for the commemoration of the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul and on that day we celebrate the Feast of the Apostles. Although their lives on earth was ended on that day, their work on earth is perpetuated by Christians. It is our duty to preach as they preached. Their stories always prove inspiration; their struggles are incredibly inspirational. Their lives are truly a model for every Christian. Their faith was truly firm.

It is of great importance to remember that all the works of the apostles were through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The same is with every decision made in church nowadays: It is always in light of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Any decision made otherwise is unwise; thus, it is vital to continually ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our life.

We pray that God may bless us throughout this fast.