Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
On 1st August 2011, two fasts begin: (1) The Dormition Fast; and (2) Ramadan.Salutations
to Our Holy Lady Maryam!
I'm an Old Calendarist, I'll join y'all next week in such a sacred occasion, though I am quite pleased you brought up Ramadan, its appropriate that we in Orthodox understand that Islam is no more inherently our enemy because of a few Koranic verses than we Christians are their enemies for similar passages in the Old Testament.
Rather, because Mohammad himself when in exile in Ethiopia of all places observed the strict piety of Orthodox Christianity and was inspired beyond the superstitious cultist religions he had lived in across the Red Sea in Arabia. Of course there were largely established Arab-Jewish kingdoms at that time but the rural folks of the Peninsula were more inclined towards their traditionalists beliefs, including the Ka'ba cult.
Anyways, while in Ethiopia Mohammad was inspired to incorporate Fasting specifically as a fundamental Pillar of Islam after seeing the notorious fasting culture of Ethiopian Christendom which was prevalent even over 1400 years ago! True, Mohammad did highly disagree all his years in exile with the religious imagery which is deeply embedded within the Ethiopian Faith, but that may also play into the pseudo-Jewish influence of the time which of course favored iconoclasm.
It is good to see connections and grounding Islam as a culture and religion separate from the Jihadists misappropriation of that religion, because Charity and Fasting as important as Prayer and doctrine in Islam. The sheer vast majority of Muslims are simple, pious folks who much like ourselves, spend a good deal of time in prayer, fasting, and doing charitable deeds as a form of common religious hospitality. During Ramadan then, when we Orthodox are serendipitously fasting at the same time as the Muslim communities, I enjoy to fellowship with them in the spirit of friendship and mutual tolerance.
Hey, if we can be nice to the Baptists and the Episcopalians surely we can be nice to the Muslims too