Directives for the Celebration of the Divine Liturgies during the Great Fast

February 8, 2024

On February 6, 2024, Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne, published in an official decree Directives for the clergy for the Celebration of the Divine Liturgies during the Great Fast.

Directives for the Celebration of the Divine Liturgies during the Great Fast

To the Glory of the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-giving and Undivided Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Peace be with you.



Bishop of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul of Melbourne,
Directives for the Celebration of the Divine Liturgies during the Great Fast.

Dear brothers in the priestly and diaconal ministry,

The blessed time of the Great Fast is approaching. Throughout the Fast, we have prescribed liturgies and prayers that differ from other times of the ecclesiastical year. “From Monday to Friday during the Great Fast, as a sign of the anticipation of Christ’s Pascha and glorious second coming, the Church does not offer the Eucharistic oblation, that is, the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom or Saint Basil the Great” (Catechism of the UGCC “Christ — our Pascha”, 393). An integral part of our fasting is the abstaining from the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, both of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great on weekdays of the Great Fast. These a-liturgical days are designed to cause us to have a sorrow of heart and a longing for the Eucharistic Christ.

In the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, we read:

Can. 704 — The Divine Liturgy can be praiseworthy celebrated on any day except those which are excluded according to the prescriptions of the liturgical books of the Church sui iuris in which the priest is enrolled.

Can. 715, § 1 — It is permissible for the priests to receive offerings for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the intentions which the Christian faithful make according to the approved custom of the Church.

§ 2 — It is also permissible, if it is thus established by lawful custom, to receive offerings for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts and for commemorations in the Divine Liturgy.”

In the Canons of Particular Law of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, we read:

Can. 88 § 2 — On all days of the Great Fast, except for Saturdays, Sundays and the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos, there is no Liturgy other than the Presanctified Gifts.

§ 3 — According to the prescriptions of the Liturgical books, there are also other A-Liturgical days on which we do not celebrate any Divine Liturgy. Such days are: Wednesday and Friday of Cheese fare week, Monday and Tuesday of the first week of Lent, Good Friday and the Friday before Christmas Eve and Epiphany, to which the Royal Hours are transferred.

According to Resolutions of the Soborchyk of the Clergy of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Melbourne, which took place on the 6–10 June 2022, at Millgrove (Melbourne), we decided:

§ 15 — To emphasize and remind the clergy and the faithful of the importance and practice of the A-Liturgical days during the Great Fast.

§ 16 — To remind and decide that during the Great Fast on weekdays only the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts can be served on Saturday — the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and on Sunday — St. Basil the Great.

§ 17 — To remind that the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts may be freely celebrated on all weekdays of Lent, not only on Wednesdays and/or Fridays.

§ 18 — If there is a need to commemorate (40th day or anniversary) of the departed during the Great Fast — this intention can be taken during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts or postponed to Saturday and be commemorated during the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

The Dicastery for the Eastern Churches has also issued Instructions for the “Application of the Liturgical Precepts of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches”. We read:

63. In order to restore an element that is so important in the heritage of the indivisible Church, it is necessary to go in the direction of restoring the practice of liturgical days where it has disappeared relatively recently.

I instruct all the priests and deacons of the Melbourne Eparchy that on A-Liturgical days, the Eucharistic Sacrifice is not to be celebrated and that the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is to be served on the days specified above by the Canons of Particular Law of the UGCC.

I mandate all Parish Administrators and Assistant of Pastors to carefully observe the liturgical prescriptions during the Holy Great Fast. I also oblige the clergy to explain to the faithful the spiritual heritage of the A-Liturgical days and the meaning of the prayer services of the daily Divine Office — Horologion and Triodion during the Great Fast in accordance with the prescriptions of the Canons of Particular Law of the UGCC and the liturgical books of our Church. In this way we can conform the liturgical life of our parishes to the authentic tradition of the Church and not celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice during the Great Fast except on Saturdays, Sundays and the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos.

This proclamation takes effect from the moment of its promulgation.

I pray the Good Lord to grant you His grace for the effective implementation
of the Canonical and Liturgical prescriptions of the UGCC for the spiritual good of our Eparchy.

Eparch of Melbourne

Rev Deacon Michael Zylan

Given in Melbourne at our Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul,
on the 6th day of February, in the Year of Our Lord 2024,
Our Venerable Father Boukolus, Hierarch of Smyrna and the Holy Hieromartyr Sylvanus,
Bishop of Emessa and those with him

See also