Lenten Retreat

Please note that this event is in the past.

"Early Church Fasting Perspectives: Health of Body, Health of Soul"

Saturday, March 20, 2010 : 10 AM - 2 PM

Event will be held at Warner Lake Nature Center, 1485 County Rd. 143 in Clearwater, MN.


  • 9 AM: Silent nature walk in the park led by naturalist Milton Blomberg
  • 10 AM: Theology of Fasting by Rev. Fr. Nathan Kroll (Q&A session following)
  • 11 AM: Panel/workshop on practical fasting during Great Lent
  • 12:30 PM: Lenten lunch with vegetarian food served in the Orthodox tradition
  • 1:15 PM: St. Seraphim and Optina mystics on fasting for laymen by Dr. Mikhail Blinnikov
  • 1:45 PM: Sharing nature walk observations. Final prayer

Cost: $30 regular / $10 student (includes lunch and materials)

Email [Anti-spam device in use. Please enable images to view address.] or call 320-260-5883 to register and for more information. Payment by check should be mailed to: Holy Myrrh-bearers Orthodox Church, 601 7th Ave S., St. Cloud, MN 56301. Space is limited, so please register early.

About 5 miles SE of St. Augusta on Co. Rd. 44/143 (or cross I-94 from Co. Rd. 75) – at the park entrance turn right into the parking area in front of the Nature Center. The walk starts at 9 AM outside; the main program starts at 10 AM inside the nature center.

Click here to view map.

About this event:
Did you know that Christians are expected to fast on a regular basis following the commandments of Our Lord? Would you like to learn about the rigorous ancient discipline of fasting as still practiced today by the Orthodox Church? Will you be interested in finding out practical ways of applying this Divine Tradition to your life or to share your perspectives on what it means to fast in our time? Then you should join our Lenten retreat on March 20.

The Orthodox Church still follows the traditional fasting discipline as outlined in the Scriptures and early apostolic teachings. There are four long periods of fast during the year, including Great Lent, when no meat or dairy products may be eaten. Additional fast is prescribed on most Wednesdays and Fridays of the year. While unfamiliar now to most Christians in the West, this was in fact the discipline shared by all Christians until the time of Reformation (and even more recently for the Roman Catholics). Many people today are drawn to this ancient tradition again. Without guidance, however, fasting takes place in a haphazard and self-willed way in direct contradiction of the idea of submitting humbly to what God has truly revealed. When practiced properly, fasting may be a tremendous tool in helping us to overcome our ego and pride and a true blessing for the body and the spirit.

At the retreat you will be exposed to the teachings of the early church on the subject of fasting from food (abstinence and dietary aspects) as well as spiritual fast from harmful things of this world. We invite you to also participate in a Lenten meditative silent walk in the beautiful nature park, discuss practical aspects of fasting in the modern world with other participants, and try some of the fasting foods as part of a common Lenten lunch meal. Please bring your questions and ideas!

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