Commemoration of our God-bearing Fathers and Mothers Who Shone Forth in Asceticism
Commemorated on March 8
On this day, we commemorate all the righteous and God-bearing Fathers and Mothers, both known and unknown, who shone forth in asceticism. With these two weeks of Meatfare and Cheesefare, the Church gradually eases us into the full fasting of Great Lent.
The holy ascetics were virtuous men and women who contended against the devil and their own passions. By examining their lives and their struggles against the enemy, we take courage from the victory they have achieved, and are inspired to imitate their God-pleasing conduct. They also teach us that fasting is not merely abstinence from food, but involves refraining from inappropriate speech and unseemly actions.
Since these holy ascetics shared the same human nature that we have, their example is an encouragement to us as we embark on our own spiritual struggles. Their lives are a model for us to follow as we seek to acquire and practice the various virtues and to turn away from everything evil. If we undertake these same struggles of prayer, fasting, and good works, we shall receive from God the same rewards as they did.
Most of the holy ascetics commemorated today have their own separate Feast Days during the year, while some are remembered only on this day.
Troparion (Tone 8) –
Only Creator, with wisdom profound, You mercifully order all things,
and give that which is needed to all men:
Give rest, O Lord, to the souls of Your servants who have fallen asleep,
for they have placed their trust in You, our Maker and Fashioner, and our God.
Kontakion (Tone 8) –
With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Your servants,
where there is neither sickness nor sorrow, and no more sighing,
but life everlasting.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)