How to Spend Cheesefare Week
By St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
Cheese Fare Week is the threshold and the beginning of the fast. That is why for the true children of the Church it is necessary to act all the more temperate in Cheese Fare Week than in the previous days, although they should always do so. However, will the Christian listen to the sweet odes of his loving mother? She ordains to revere these days more, but they commit more excesses; she commands to abstain, and they betray less control; she makes rules to cleanse body and soul, and they defile them more; she orders to lament committed sins, and they add more iniquities; she inspires God to be merciful, and they all the more anger the Most High God; she appoints a fast, and they overeat and revel more; she offers repentance, and they become more violent. A worthy voice of pity and weeping: “Sons are born and raised up, for you reject me! Listen, O heaven and inspire, O earth”! Children have turned away from their mother, Christians do not listen to the holy Church, those who renounced Satan and all his works are again converted to the works of an evil spirit, a lamentable and altogether terrible work! And whoever does not listen to the Church, is not the son of Church; whoever is not the son of the Church, the Christ is not his shepherd; for whoever Christ is not the shepherd, he is not the sheep of Christ; whoever is not the sheep of Christ, vainly expects eternal life. Such are the results of a licentious celebration of Cheese Fare Week. The very celebration of butter week (maslianitsi) in the aforesaid manner is pagan work. The Pagan false god (the inventor of intoxicated drink) to whom they have established a special annual feast (so-called Bacchanalia) was and spent these festivals in every dissolute abomination. Look, do not Christians also do the same in observing butter week (maslianitsi), and is the same for many of these festivals? I do not have to show it to you: see it in the light of the midday. And once again I will say, that whoever spends butter week (maslianitsi) in excesses, it becomes obvious that he is disobedient to the Church and shows himself unworthy of the name of Christian. In order to spend Cheese Fare Week according to the Christian obligation, it is needful to act according to how the Holy Church commands during this time, namely: to drop every indecent care and to drop evil customs, remembering the Last Judgment and our ancestral Fall.