Posted 16 October 2011 - 07:41 PM
Perhaps related to this thread are the following. St Afanasii (Sakharov) (1887-1962) was a Russian bishop (of Vladimir) who spent 33 years in the Soviet camps. In those camps, clergy would keep the fast by trading the meat they were given for other prisoners' bread. St Afanasii found that each Pascha, somehow, a tin of fish would be sent to him. On one occasion during Great Lent, he was being transported from one camp to another. On the journey, a tin of fish was given to him. Being very hungry, he reasoned that in the circumstances, it would be reasonable to eat this fish; but that Pascha, no tin of fish came to him. My wife and I took two Fathers from the Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra on a tour of Britain during the Apostles Fast. The Fathers has asked the hegoumen, Vladyka Feognost, if, travelling in Britain, they might relax the fast. They were told they could not and we had to find ways of enabling them to observe this obedience. A few years ago, we saw a documentary about a black Briton who spent two weeks with a family in Ethiopia. Their existence was a wretched as can be imagined; they lived on wild cabbage soup and lived in a hut made from branches and leaves. But they kept the fasting rule of the Ethiopian Church in not eating before 3pm. The only bread they ever had was one loaf given at church (to which they had a walk several kilometres) each Sunday. I think of such things when I think that fasting is difficult.