The Fast of the Apostles is one of the oldest fasts in the church, and was previously known as the “Fast of Pentecost” or the “Fast of the Disciples.” However, during the Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., its name was changed to “Fast of the Apostles” which is carried through till today.

In the Holy Dioscolia (collected in the third century), it is written: “After you complete the Feast of Pentecost, have a feast for another week… then we fast after the rest.” However, in the book The Canon of the Apostles, which was one of the books of Clement of Rome (collected in the fourth century), it states: “They continued to speak in the new tongues of the nations, in which they preached, and He told them what must be done by the congregations with regards to prayer, worship, and the laws, and they thanked God for this knowledge they received.

They fasted for forty days, thanking God through it, and then Peter washed the feet of the disciples… then they departed to all the nations to call people to the faith.” As for the book The Lamp that Enlightens the Service, written by the fourteenth-century scholar Shams Al-Ri’asa Ibn Al-Sheikh Al-Akmal Al-As’ad, who is also known as the “Father of Blessings”, Ibn Kabar, the priest of a church referred to as the Hanging Church, wrote: “The Fast of the saintly Fathers, the Disciples, which is also called ‘Fast of Pentecost,’ begins with the Monday after the Holy Fifty Days, and it ends on the fourth of Epip, the night that commemorates the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul…” Currently, this is the accepted opinion of the Coptic Orthodox Church, as well as the Syrian and Greek Orthodox Churches.