Philippian Fast or Nativity Fast - November 14 to December 24
The 40-day fast before the Nativity of Our Lord begins on the evening of November 14. This fast is traditionally called the Philippian Fast, or Philipost, because the feast of St. Philip the Apostle is celebrated on that date. It is one of the minor yearly fasts of the Church and was introduced in the 12th century.
By abstaining from certain foods, we are opening up a “space” in our lives through asceticism and obedience, into which God may enter. As such, this fast is a fast of preparation, like the pre-Communion fast.
Several popular feasts fall during the first three weeks of the Philippian Fast: the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple on November 21, the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6, and the Maternity of Holy Anna (Conception of the Theotokos) on December 8 or 9, as well as the feast of Thanksgiving. As a result, in many places the Philippian Fast either does not begin until December 10, or becomes stricter at that point.
Domestic Church: Put out the icon for this season, Our Lady of the Sign. Light one of six red candles in a Philipost Star for each week, and pray the prayers with readings for each day. Use a Jesse Tree with symbols of salvation history.
Fast: One of four yearly fasts.
Length of fast: 40 days
Our Lady of the Sign
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, And shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
“H Platytera Ton Oypanon” is Greek for “Greater than Heaven” The Virgin has conceived in her womb Him whom the heavens can not contain