The Orthodox Church sets aside certain periods of time for the spiritual comprehension of her life. These periods in church tradition are called holy fasts.
For an Orthodox person, periods of fasting are not times of despondency and worries about the fact that one cannot eat food of animal origin. Fasting in the church tradition has never been thought of as a kind of diet. Abstinence in food is not the main component of holy fasting, but only an addition to a more important task - awareness of your life, struggle with your passions and vices, preparation for repentance, striving for spiritual improvement.
Holy Lent is the longest and strictest among all four periods of abstinence. Only for the holy Forty-days the church charter prescribes several preparatory weeks, attuning a person to the upcoming feat.
The Orthodox calendar of the Russian Church in 2018 testifies to the early time of the beginning of Great Lent. Already on the last Sunday of January 2018, the liturgical book Lenten Triode began to be used in all Orthodox churches, and the choirs sang penitential chants. Thus, already on January 28, the Orthodox celebrated Sunday, which is called the Week of the Publican and the Pharisee.
After the first preparatory week for Lent, Orthodox Christians are expected to have Sundays called the Week of the Prodigal Son, Meat Week, and the Week of the Last Judgment. Based on this, you can calculate the exact date of the beginning of Lent in 2018. In the church calendar, the first day of Holy Lent 2018 is February 19th.
All Orthodox believers in Russia enter Holy Great Lent on February 19, but it is worth remembering that a week before this date, the time begins when it is forbidden to eat meat (this week is called meat-eating).
Thus, from Monday, February 19, in all Orthodox churches, Lenten services will begin, readings of the Great Penitential Canon of Andrew of Crete. For those wishing to fast with spiritual benefit, it is necessary to know that participation in divine services, the sacraments of confession and communion is the most important component of keeping and observing the Holy Forty Day. In addition, at this time it is necessary to limit oneself in recreational activities, try to avoid quarrels with neighbors, foul language, condemnation and other passions, sins and vices. It is worth remembering that fasting is a time when a person must try to become better, bring repentance worthy of his life.