On this day, we commemorate all the righteous and God-bearing Fathers and Mothers, both known and unknown, who shone forth in asceticism. With these two weeks of Meatfare and Cheesefare, the Church gradually eases us into the full fasting which begins on Monday.
The holy acetics are virtuous men and women who contended against the devil and their own passions. By examining their lives and their struggles against the Enemy, we take courage from the victory they have achieved, and are inspired to imitate their God-pleasing conduct. They also teach us that fasting is not merely abstinence from food, but involves refraining from inappropriate speech and unseemly actions.
Since these holy ascetics share the same human nature that we have, their example is an encouragement to us as we embark on our own spiritual struggles Their lives are a model for us to follow as we seek to acquire and practice the various virtues and to turn away from everything evil. If we undertake these same struggles of prayer, fasting, and good works, we shall receive from God the same reward they did.
Most of the holy ascetics commemorated today have their own separate Feast Day during the year, while some are remembered only on this day.
- From OCA Website
The God-bearing Fathers, after preparing us through the preceding feasts for the stadium of spiritual struggles, now set before us the men and women who have passed their lives in a manner pleasing to God, so that by their example they might make us more eager in the work of virtue and more courageous against the passions. And as experienced generals, when they prepare their soldiers for battle, urge their soldiers on by recalling for them the heroic exploits of excellent men, so that the soldiers take courage and charge wholeheartedly against the enemy; even so the God-bearing Fathers do for our sakes now, by appointing this day as a common memorial and feast of all those Saints who by many labours overcame the passions and became well-pleasing to God; so that we too, looking to the life of the righteous, might imitate them as far as possible in contending courageously against the passions and accomplishing the virtues, having it always in mind that the Saints were of the same nature and of like passions with us.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As preachers of true piety who silenced all impiety, Lord, Thou hast made the whole host of God-bearing Saints shine forth with splendour on the world. By their prayers and entreaties, keep all them that extol and sincerely magnify Thee in perfect peace, to chant and to sing to Thee: Alleluia.
- From the Synaxarion of Holy Transfiguration Monastery