Among the four multi-day fasts provided for by the charter of the Orthodox Church, Great Lent occupies a special period of time in the life of a Christian. Holy Forty-days is the longest and most severe period of abstinence.
The dating of Great Lent is subject to changes to the extent that this period depends on the number of celebrations of the main Orthodox celebration - Easter of Christ. Therefore, although fasting falls in the spring, its beginning should be determined according to the church calendar, which indicates the date of Easter and the immediate beginning of the Holy Forty Day.
In 2016, Orthodox Christians enter the “spring of the soul” (this is how Great Lent is called) on Monday, March 14 (modern chronology). It is this date that is the time of the beginning of Lent in 2016.
According to the Orthodox church charter, the Holy Forty Day in 2016 lasts until the Feast of the Bright Resurrection of the Lord, that is, until May 1. Accordingly, the last day of Lent in 2016 falls on Saturday, April 30th.
Those wishing to start fasting during this fast should take into account that eating meat products according to the Orthodox Church charter is prohibited already a week before March 14th. From the seventh day of the indicated month, a continuous week begins, referred to in the church charter as Cheese. The people called this week Shrovetide.
Believers need to understand the main essence of Orthodox fasting, which is not in diet, but in striving to purify their souls through the sacraments of confession and communion. During the period of fasting, an Orthodox believer should try to become at least a little closer to God. Christians think about eternity, pay more attention to their spiritual life through participation in divine services, reading the sacred texts of the Bible (especially the Gospel) and the soulful instructions of the holy fathers of the Church of Christ.