On Friday, November 28, a forty-day-long Advent starts for Orthodox Christians, which will end on January 7 on the day of Christmas, according to the Julian calendar adopted in the Russian Orthodox Church.
The main aim of this fast, established back in the early ages of Christianity, is to subjugate the soul and the body to the spirit. That's why fast is not only giving up some sorts of food, but also giving up sinful thoughts, pernicious lusts and habits. Bodily abstinence helps believers to cleanse the soul, discipline the will, focus on praying and celebrate the Nativity of Christ with an open heart and readiness to follow the Savior.
Advent is not a strict fast. It orders to abstain from meat, milk and eggs, including as part of some dishes, but allows eating fish.
God's commandments should be strictly observed during the fast; people should abstain from evil thoughts, wrath and other passions, as well as from participation in amusements.
Those believers who due to being sick or other good reasons can't observe the bodily fast should observe the spiritual fast - in prayers and abstention from worldly entertainment, priests believe.
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