Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Why is eating seafood allowed during the Nativity Fast but not during the Holy Great Fast? Also, why do we fast extra fifteen days before the Resurrection Feast?

Both fasts can be observed ascetically. However, the Holy Great Fast brings us closer to the cross with a vigorous call to repentance and an overwhelming gratitude for God's great mercy and salvation. That is why we don't eat seafood.

Many interpret the holy fifty-five days of the Great Fast as the forty days fasted by our Lord Jesus Christ plus the Holy Week. Then they have a hard time trying to justify  the extra first week of fasting. In the Greek Orthodox tradition it was attributed to the Emperor's request. Those not abiding by the Greek tradition tried to justify it calling it a Preparation week. However, the theory adopted from the Church of Jerusalem which interprets the forty days in terms of eight weeks, with each week containing only five days of abstinence is the correct reason for the holy fifty-five days of fasting that our Coptic Church is observing today. This is because we do not abstain on Saturdays and Sundays. Therefore, to have completed forty abstaining days, we need to fast eight weeks (fifty-five days).
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