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March 8, 2022

Despite the War, Many of the Greek Soldiers in 1940 Kept the Fasts of the Church


The Greco-Italian War took place between the kingdoms of Italy and Greece from 28 October 1940 to 23 April 1941. According to the eye-witness testimony of Archimandrite Haralambos Vasilopoulos, who wrote the book The Miracle of the Greeks of 1940, many soldiers who fought in the Pindus mountains continued to keep the fasts of the Church despite all the hardships they faced.

"An important thing is that the fast was observed by many soldiers, despite the difficulties, even more than the monks of Mount Athos. One soldier of the front lines told me the following during the retreat:

'With the help of Christ and the Panagia, I kept the whole of Great Lent. I ate only kommissbrot and a few grams of raisins that fit in the palm of one hand.'

During Holy Week, when the retreat took place, the soldiers, despite all the hardship, the sleepiness, the exhaustion, because all the soldiers had withdrawn in defense, they fasted and spent the rest of these days like ascetics. They only consumed bread and water. The supplies had plenty of cheese and canned food, but no one turned an eye towards them." 
Source: From the book Τό θαῦμα τῶν Ἑλλήνων τοῦ Σαράντα. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.