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Author Topic: Can I still receive communion if I don't keep the fasts?  (Read 2097 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 10, 2013, 11:35:14 PM »

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 11:38:46 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.
 
In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.
 
Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 11:47:32 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.
 
In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.
 
Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.
The subject of whether one should be required to go to confession before every receipt of the Holy Mysteries is actually not as cut-and-dried as you would like us to think. In fact, the 1:1 correspondence of confession to communion you proclaim as normative is bad sacramental theology and not the ancient practice of the Church.
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 12:01:23 AM »

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.

Yeah, I'm not talking about the pre-communion fast from midnight as much as the weekly fasts and then the other fasting seasons.
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 12:03:29 AM »

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.

I think it's interesting that you find mandatory fasting to detract from the idea of the Church as "hospital".  No one takes pills, shots, IV's, submits to surgery, physical therapy, etc., etc. out of love.  They do it because they want to get better.  They may not particularly care for some of the things they have to do, they may find them burdensome, annoying, or hateful, but they do them because they want to improve, and without them they will either stay at their current level of sickness or grow worse.  

I didn't particularly care for fasting when I began to take my faith seriously; it was the hardest thing, for example, to get used to the Wed/Fri fasts, even when I had no problem with fasting seasons.  I find that, every year or two, I need to make adjustments to my fasting regimen based on whatever's going on in my life.  I'm no ascetic.  But as annoying as it can be at times, I am at the point where I can't imagine not doing them, at least to some extent.  The effort required to figure out what to eat on certain days, the hunger pangs, etc. remind me of why I'm doing it...they keep me mindful of God.  Sometimes, even when I'm really lax otherwise (e.g., when having trouble with daily prayer), that bit of fasting is what keeps me "in the game".  

It's important to do things with the right intent and spirit.  But sometimes it's important to do them because they're the right thing to do.  Ask your priest for guidance appropriate for your current situation and try to follow it, even if it seems like a drag at first.  

At any rate, the pre-communion fast is probably the absolute bare minimum you ought to do before communing, I can't see any priest dispensing from that except for reason of illness, even if they dispense you from other fasts.  But again, ask.  

Edited to correct spelling.   
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 12:14:30 AM »

I think it's interesting that you find mandatory fasting to detract from the idea of the Church as "hospital".  No one takes pills, shots, IV's, submits to surgery, physical therapy, etc., etc. out of love.

They also give me pills so I don't feel pain.
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 12:32:02 AM »

An Elder once told me, "You can eat all you want, you don't even have to fast, but in order to do this all you need to do is stop sinning, just don't sin anymore and you can eat anything you want. If you can't stop sinning, then you need to fast."


Also there is this one I've read from one of our church fathers. "Fasting without prayer is a fast of the devil, because know matter how much we fast the devil always beats us, for he never eats."
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 12:39:48 AM »

They also give me pills so I don't feel pain.

Well, it wasn't a perfect analogy, I admit, but if fasting causes you pain or other physical difficulty, I imagine your priest will be sympathetic and work with you on a more appropriate plan.  But if it's just "fasting sucks", I think his advice might be to work on fasting by gradually building up to it. 

Be careful how you phrase your complaint.  Tongue
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 01:10:42 AM »

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.

Fr. Alexander Schmemann made a distinction between the pre-Communion fast as the fast of the Church, and the ascetical fasts as the fast of the individual in the Church.  This does make sense as we know that the growth of the ascetical fasts came about as "built in" epitimia to combat compounded ordinary sins for monks, later also applied for laity. 
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 04:46:58 AM »

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.

Fasting is not mandatory, but necessary for salvation, for our own good, both now and forever; and it is a preparation for communion, it goes "together" with communion. You have to remember that communion, by the same logic, is not mandatory either. Why would you require communion in favor of fasting? Sounds like a sort of obsession with communion (and I don't mean it in an offensive way whatsoever).
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 04:51:07 AM »

IMO the general answer is "no" but priests can and probably will grant a dispensation.
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 06:02:51 AM »

The requirements for receiving Communion are fear of God, faith and love.

All the forms of preparation we undergo fall into one of those three categories, whether it's reading pre-Communion prayers, attending Vespers and Matins before the Liturgy (and making sure we come on time to that), going to confession regularly, asking forgiveness from those we've wronged, or general things like keeping up with our regular prayer rule, giving a portion of our income to charity and observing the fasts of the Church.

You'll have to work out yourself (with your priest) whether your non-observance of the fasts would be indicative of a lack of one of the above, or whether it is for another reason. I think the answer to that question would then be the answer to whether or not fasting would exclude you from Communion the same week.
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 08:27:20 AM »

I'm pretty sure this is one of those questions that are tailor made for an "ask your spiritual father" answer.  Fasting is not intended to damage your faith, but strengthen it.  Perhaps you are not strong enough to keep the fasts at this time and time is needed to develop into being able to fully participate in all the fasts.  That would not be an answer anyone here would be qualified to give you, only your priest or spiritual father could advise you on that.

This is coming from someone who is equally if not more frail in my ability to fast, so that that FWIW.
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2013, 09:21:44 AM »

An Elder once told me, "You can eat all you want, you don't even have to fast, but in order to do this all you need to do is stop sinning, just don't sin anymore and you can eat anything you want. If you can't stop sinning, then you need to fast."


Also there is this one I've read from one of our church fathers. "Fasting without prayer is a fast of the devil, because know matter how much we fast the devil always beats us, for he never eats."

Fasting from sin and sinning is the greatest fast.  But it also requires a prayerful life.  Fasting Wed and Fri is not as tough as one would think.
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 09:26:52 AM »

The requirements for receiving Communion are fear of God, faith and love.

All the forms of preparation we undergo fall into one of those three categories, whether it's reading pre-Communion prayers, attending Vespers and Matins before the Liturgy (and making sure we come on time to that), going to confession regularly, asking forgiveness from those we've wronged, or general things like keeping up with our regular prayer rule, giving a portion of our income to charity and observing the fasts of the Church.

You'll have to work out yourself (with your priest) whether your non-observance of the fasts would be indicative of a lack of one of the above, or whether it is for another reason. I think the answer to that question would then be the answer to whether or not fasting would exclude you from Communion the same week.

To not fast at any time would be reason for me not to receive.  Fasting is a way of offering up something to God.  Christ did it for 40 days.  Can we not at least do a minimum amount ?
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2013, 09:57:16 AM »

When all said and done, this boils down to one's honesty and integrity as a Christian. We are all able to pretend to be pious Christians but that works only with people--God knows the truth. We can lie to our father confessor but God knows the truth. So, you know that you should fast on fasting days and also strictly fast before Communion. You also know that you should refrain from sinning. You know that you should have a regular prayer life. In short, you know how to act with integrity as a Christian. Therefore, you must be the primary judge of yourself.

If you feel that your own fasting rules are better than those established by the Church, aren't you somehow elevating yourself above the Body? Lay aside for a moment whether you are right or wrong, isn't this an occasion for adding to your pride--probably the greatest cause for sinning? Of course, I may be wrong here because you may be receiving instructions from the Lord Himself. If that is the case, please forgive me for presuming otherwise.
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2013, 10:00:03 AM »

When all said and done, this boils down to one's honesty and integrity as a Christian. We are all able to pretend to be pious Christians but that works only with people--God knows the truth. We can lie to our father confessor but God knows the truth. So, you know that you should fast on fasting days and also strictly fast before Communion. You also know that you should refrain from sinning. You know that you should have a regular prayer life. In short, you know how to act with integrity as a Christian. Therefore, you must be the primary judge of yourself.

If you feel that your own fasting rules are better than those established by the Church, aren't you somehow elevating yourself above the Body? Lay aside for a moment whether you are right or wrong, isn't this an occasion for adding to your pride--probably the greatest cause for sinning? Of course, I may be wrong here because you may be receiving instructions from the Lord Himself. If that is the case, please forgive me for presuming otherwise.

Speaking from some 50 years of experience in Orthodoxy, the advice Carl has given is faultless. Not a word out of place, and every word needed to be said.
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2013, 11:06:02 AM »

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.
 
In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.
 
Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.
The subject of whether one should be required to go to confession before every receipt of the Holy Mysteries is actually not as cut-and-dried as you would like us to think. In fact, the 1:1 correspondence of confession to communion you proclaim as normative is bad sacramental theology and not the ancient practice of the Church.

"thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries."

Wow, you must be doing great in the peace making business.

Please don't make pronouncements about what is 'real Orthodox' practice based upon the practice within your own jurisdiction or the rule of your diocesan Bishop etc.... You can respect the rigor of your own jurisdiction without issuing tomes as if you were speaking as the Pope of Rome 'ex cathedra' on behalf of Orthodoxy.

As to whether a confession is of a heartfelt nature or not is strictly within the ambit of the penitent, the father confessor and God - not you.
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2013, 11:10:43 AM »

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.
 
In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.
 
Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.
The subject of whether one should be required to go to confession before every receipt of the Holy Mysteries is actually not as cut-and-dried as you would like us to think. In fact, the 1:1 correspondence of confession to communion you proclaim as normative is bad sacramental theology and not the ancient practice of the Church.

"thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries."

Wow, you must be doing great in the peace making business.

Please don't make pronouncements about what is 'real Orthodox' practice based upon the practice within your own jurisdiction or the rule of your diocesan Bishop etc.... You can respect the rigor of your own jurisdiction without issuing tomes as if you were speaking as the Pope of Rome 'ex cathedra' on behalf of Orthodoxy.

As to whether a confession is of a heartfelt nature or not is strictly within the ambit of the penitent, the father confessor and God - not you.
You are replying to Peacemaker?
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2013, 11:12:05 AM »

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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2013, 11:17:53 AM »

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.
 
In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.
 
Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.
The subject of whether one should be required to go to confession before every receipt of the Holy Mysteries is actually not as cut-and-dried as you would like us to think. In fact, the 1:1 correspondence of confession to communion you proclaim as normative is bad sacramental theology and not the ancient practice of the Church.

"thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries."

Wow, you must be doing great in the peace making business.

Please don't make pronouncements about what is 'real Orthodox' practice based upon the practice within your own jurisdiction or the rule of your diocesan Bishop etc.... You can respect the rigor of your own jurisdiction without issuing tomes as if you were speaking as the Pope of Rome 'ex cathedra' on behalf of Orthodoxy.

As to whether a confession is of a heartfelt nature or not is strictly within the ambit of the penitent, the father confessor and God - not you.
You are replying to Peacemaker?

Yes, sorry for the confusion....multi tasking here on this end! 
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« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2013, 11:44:20 AM »

"thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries."

Wow, you must be doing great in the peace making business.

Please don't make pronouncements about what is 'real Orthodox' practice based upon the practice within your own jurisdiction or the rule of your diocesan Bishop etc.... You can respect the rigor of your own jurisdiction without issuing tomes as if you were speaking as the Pope of Rome 'ex cathedra' on behalf of Orthodoxy.

As to whether a confession is of a heartfelt nature or not is strictly within the ambit of the penitent, the father confessor and God - not you.

He still has his green leaf  sticker. He's been Orthodox for 1 year.
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2013, 03:11:16 PM »

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.

Of course, the norm varies greatly from parish to parish.

But you are right. If you want to get a better understanding of where the whole "hospital" thing comes from, you have to look into some of the Platonic literature, especially the Laws. For Plato, being just was "health," and the purpose of the punishments in his theoretical legal system was to correct an ill (=unjust=law-breaking) soul. The analogy is better understood when we consider that ancient medicine was extremely painful.

It is interesting that the Christians adopted this disciplinary approach.
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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2013, 03:15:41 PM »

The Russian Orthodox Church requires anyone who desires to receive Holy Communion prepare themselves with confession, the Precommunion Prayers and to  abstain from food or drink from midnight on. Most of the world's Local Orthodox Churches hold to this standard, recognizing that the clergy, as guardians of the Mysteries, must make sure anyone who approaches the chalice is Orthodox, and is properly prepared.

The Church's requirement that one must be a member of the Orthodox Church before approaching the chalice relates to the fact that communion is the outward expression of having all things in common, both in faith and worship, since receiving the Holy Mysteries is the fruit of unity.
 
In receiving Holy Communion, we are eating and drinking the very Body and Blood of the Saviour for the healing of body and soul. This is not simply the remembrance of a past event, but the very participation of the Heavenly Banquet. We enter into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in this eternal banquet for the transformation of our very being.

Since the Eucharist is a true participation and foretaste of heavenly things, it is imperative that we be proper prepared, for to eat and drink unworthily is to put our immortal soul at risk.
 
Orthodoxy in North America does not have a common practice in regards to preparation for receiving the Eucharist. Some jurisdictions allow members to approach the chalice without having confessed, thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries. Yet on the flip side, those who are required to confess before communing can fall into the habit of going through the motions of confession without giving the priest adequate time to offer spiritual direction. When this happens, confession is sometimes no different than refraining to confession at all, for we can easily run through the usual litany of sins, get absolution and start the week off without having made a heartfelt confession at all.

If we have made a good confession we must have a plan of action that will allow the Holy Spirit to transform our heart, for true repentance MUST include a commitment to go and sin no more! This requires the guidance of a confessor and takes more time than simply getting in a long line prior to the service.

The midnight fast that must precede the Divine Liturgy, together with the Precommunion Prayers, is an additionally important step in our proper preparation for receiving the Eucharist, for these become the tools by which we make the reality of what we are receiving something more than mere ritual. If we were simply reenacting or commemorating the last meal the Lord shared with His disciples, confession, fasting, and preparatory prayers would be unnecessary. The requirements the Church places on her faithful is clear evidence that the Lord did not say, this is "like" my body and blood. The Eucharist is no mere symbol.
The subject of whether one should be required to go to confession before every receipt of the Holy Mysteries is actually not as cut-and-dried as you would like us to think. In fact, the 1:1 correspondence of confession to communion you proclaim as normative is bad sacramental theology and not the ancient practice of the Church.

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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2013, 03:44:02 PM »

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.

I understand where some of the posters above are coming from in regards to fasting being a good exercise for the soul, but I have to admit I have had the same experiences as you, 100%.  I just feel uneasy missing out on a Holy Sacrament of the Church because you were imperfect at keeping a practice that should be there to help you rather than hinder you. 
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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2013, 09:09:19 PM »

"thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries."

Wow, you must be doing great in the peace making business.

Please don't make pronouncements about what is 'real Orthodox' practice based upon the practice within your own jurisdiction or the rule of your diocesan Bishop etc.... You can respect the rigor of your own jurisdiction without issuing tomes as if you were speaking as the Pope of Rome 'ex cathedra' on behalf of Orthodoxy.

As to whether a confession is of a heartfelt nature or not is strictly within the ambit of the penitent, the father confessor and God - not you.

He still has his green leaf  sticker. He's been Orthodox for 1 year.

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

(Edit for misspelling)
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« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2013, 10:36:57 PM »

"thus contributing to the abuse of the Mysteries."

Wow, you must be doing great in the peace making business.

Please don't make pronouncements about what is 'real Orthodox' practice based upon the practice within your own jurisdiction or the rule of your diocesan Bishop etc.... You can respect the rigor of your own jurisdiction without issuing tomes as if you were speaking as the Pope of Rome 'ex cathedra' on behalf of Orthodoxy.

As to whether a confession is of a heartfelt nature or not is strictly within the ambit of the penitent, the father confessor and God - not you.

He still has his green leaf  sticker. He's been Orthodox for 1 year.

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

(Edit for misspelling)
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« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2013, 10:40:50 PM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2013, 10:49:18 PM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police

Hey- should I "steal" an .mp3 at least I don't alter the tags attributing the original artists and replace it with my own band's name Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2013, 11:24:26 PM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police

HA! I'm not stealing, he has voiced that he doesn't care if people use his pictures, writings or anything else if they can help people.    Wink
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2013, 11:27:14 PM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police

HA! I'm not stealing, he has voiced that he doesn't care if people use his pictures, writings or anything else if they can help people.    Wink

Attribution is still polite, though. And though I'm not a mod, I believe it's required by board rules.
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« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2013, 12:40:14 AM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police

Plagiarism is legitimately wrong (whether this particular case constitutes plagiarism or rhetorical skill, I'll leave you to judge), as it amounts to claiming you created something you didn't, that is, deception and possibly fraud.

'Intellectual property', so-called, is a completely orthogonal issue. If there is a genuine moral principle on which intellectual property is based (I do not believe there is, but that's beside the point of this thread), it is entirely different from the principle that prohibits plagiarism, as copying an mp3 in no way constitutes deception or fraud.
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« Reply #32 on: July 12, 2013, 01:07:32 AM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police

HA! I'm not stealing, he has voiced that he doesn't care if people use his pictures, writings or anything else if they can help people.    Wink

Attribution is still polite, though. And though I'm not a mod, I believe it's required by board rules.
Yes, if you quote someone else's work, you are required by board rules to give credit to your source.
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« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2013, 03:49:38 AM »

The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom holds the answer to the OP. I can't add anything to the Golden Mouth.


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« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2013, 04:18:21 AM »

The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom holds the answer to the OP. I can't add anything to the Golden Mouth.


Selam

From the OP:

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.


Let's not forget that this wonderful homily was written with Pascha in mind, the Feast of Feasts which transcends time, place and human frailty. I very much doubt that the blunt and acerbic Golden Mouth would have approved of someone foregoing fasting before communion simply because of some philosophical "objection" ....  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2013, 04:49:04 AM »

The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom holds the answer to the OP. I can't add anything to the Golden Mouth.


Selam

From the OP:

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.


Let's not forget that this wonderful homily was written with Pascha in mind, the Feast of Feasts which transcends time, place and human frailty. I very much doubt that the blunt and acerbic Golden Mouth would have approved of someone foregoing fasting before communion simply because of some philosophical "objection" ....  Roll Eyes


I am not a Priest or Deacon, so I am only offering my humble opinion here. But I think that anyone who truly desires to receive Christ will be truly received by Christ. If we only wish to receive the Mysteries out of fear of hell, then perhaps we should indeed refrain from approaching the chalice. But if we have failed in our fasting, or sinned without having availed ourselves of the sacrament of Confession, yet still earnestly desire to fall into Our Savior's arms like the prodigal son returning to his father, then I think we should come boldly to receive His Body and Blood with the certain confidence of God's unfailing mercy and love.


Selam
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« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2013, 05:02:09 AM »

The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom holds the answer to the OP. I can't add anything to the Golden Mouth.


Selam

From the OP:

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.


Let's not forget that this wonderful homily was written with Pascha in mind, the Feast of Feasts which transcends time, place and human frailty. I very much doubt that the blunt and acerbic Golden Mouth would have approved of someone foregoing fasting before communion simply because of some philosophical "objection" ....  Roll Eyes


I am not a Priest or Deacon, so I am only offering my humble opinion here. But I think that anyone who truly desires to receive Christ will be truly received by Christ. If we only wish to receive the Mysteries out of fear of hell, then perhaps we should indeed refrain from approaching the chalice. But if we have failed in our fasting, or sinned without having availed ourselves of the sacrament of Confession, yet still earnestly desire to fall into Our Savior's arms like the prodigal son returning to his father, then I think we should come boldly to receive His Body and Blood with the certain confidence of God's unfailing mercy and love.


Selam

Go back and look at the bolded part of the OP in my earlier post.
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« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2013, 08:43:46 AM »

Well that was sort of fun to sit back and watch all that happen.

That's all from Abbot Tryphons blog. He's been Orthodoxy for 40+ years, a priest and abbot of a Russian orthodox monastery.

Sorry, I should of put " " around it all and credited who wrote it, but I was hoping people would take it for what it was instead of making accusations on it thinking it came from a so called "green" Orthodox.

Never fear. Many people at this forum will defend stealing intellectual property in the form of mp3s, pdfs, etc. Thus a little plagiarism is almost certainly a minor issue.   police

HA! I'm not stealing, he has voiced that he doesn't care if people use his pictures, writings or anything else if they can help people.    Wink

Attribution is still polite, though. And though I'm not a mod, I believe it's required by board rules.
Yes, if you quote someone else's work, you are required by board rules to give credit to your source.

Indeed.
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« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2013, 09:20:10 AM »

The Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom holds the answer to the OP. I can't add anything to the Golden Mouth.


Selam

From the OP:

Seriously. Communion keeps me close to God when I feel my faith slipping, but all of this mandatory fasting stuff versus it being voluntary and out of love is really taxing and drains church of some of its "refuge" and "hospital" rhetoric.


Let's not forget that this wonderful homily was written with Pascha in mind, the Feast of Feasts which transcends time, place and human frailty. I very much doubt that the blunt and acerbic Golden Mouth would have approved of someone foregoing fasting before communion simply because of some philosophical "objection" ....  Roll Eyes


I am not a Priest or Deacon, so I am only offering my humble opinion here. But I think that anyone who truly desires to receive Christ will be truly received by Christ. If we only wish to receive the Mysteries out of fear of hell, then perhaps we should indeed refrain from approaching the chalice. But if we have failed in our fasting, or sinned without having availed ourselves of the sacrament of Confession, yet still earnestly desire to fall into Our Savior's arms like the prodigal son returning to his father, then I think we should come boldly to receive His Body and Blood with the certain confidence of God's unfailing mercy and love.


Selam

Go back and look at the bolded part of the OP in my earlier post.

And what's the problem with it?  Fasting is not a Holy Sacrament.  Communion is.  You cannot command someone to do something voluntarily and out of love.  Command and voluntary just don't jive.  By denying them something that Christ commanded us to do "in remembrance of Him" is fasting by coercion, plain and simple.  The Church has a monopoly on Communion.  I don't argue this point as God instituted this monopoly, but it still makes it the only place where you can receive the Body and Blood of Christ, short of an Angel or Saint actually coming down and administering it.  When access to this Sacrament is denied for some bizarre dietary law it is now getting in the way of salvation. 

And yes, I just called fasting a bizarre dietary law.  When I can have lobster but not a Big Mac I think the spirit of the rule is lost.  If the letter of the law and the spirit of the law do not match it might be time to look at things.  And there is nothing wrong with this.  Fasting as it is done would force you to have a simple diet by medieval standards, allowing those with money to save on food and give to charity.  Industrialization has changed the way we eat and many of the things that were simple back then are expensive, just plain unhealthy, or force us into medieval LARPing.  Seriously, when was the last time you willingly ate potato and barley porridge for forty days?
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« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2013, 09:34:18 AM »

And what's the problem with it?  Fasting is not a Holy Sacrament.  Communion is.  You cannot command someone to do something voluntarily and out of love.  Command and voluntary just don't jive.  By denying them something that Christ commanded us to do "in remembrance of Him" is fasting by coercion, plain and simple. 

St. Paul also says that those who partake unworthily (i.e. without adequate preparation or with the wrong mindset) do so unto their condemnation. We cannot be coerced into making any kind of preparation, nor be coerced into repentance either.

"By denying them something that Christ commended us to do "in remembrance of Him" is repentance by coercion, plain and simple."

Yes, fasting is just too difficult for some people, and therefore a sensible spiritual Father will take this into account when advising someone about participation in Communion, which is why most people in this thread have answered "No, but..." or "It depends why you're not fasting."

And yes, I just called fasting a bizarre dietary law.  When I can have lobster but not a Big Mac I think the spirit of the rule is lost.  If the letter of the law and the spirit of the law do not match it might be time to look at things.

The only thing that needs to be looked at there is ensuring that you follow the spirit of the fast. It doesn't mean the letter of the law needs to be revised. Any rule of the Church becomes bizzarre when divorced from its intent. Eating fancy food like lobster is not fasting. Spending more money on fasting days than you do otherwise is not fasting. If people don't realise this, it is their attitude which is bizzarre and which needs to be corrected (politely) by their spiritual father.

Industrialization has changed the way we eat and many of the things that were simple back then are expensive, just plain unhealthy, or force us into medieval LARPing.

Buying vegetables from the supermarket and cooking a simple meal is LARPing? It will be an issue of time for some people, hence the point of economia, but the idea that fasting needs to be expensive, complicated or difficult is nonsense. As is the idea that these things were simple "back then," when the range of produce available and the ease with which they are available to us today would have been unthinkable.
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« Reply #40 on: July 12, 2013, 09:49:46 AM »

Seriously, when was the last time you willingly ate potato and barley porridge for forty days?

Never.

Now substitute pasta with tomato sauce, and suddenly it's neither hard, nor expensive, nor pretentious.
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« Reply #41 on: July 12, 2013, 10:12:42 AM »

People live their whole lives vegan.  The Church asks us to do it for 40 days.
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« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2013, 11:34:37 AM »

Seriously, when was the last time you willingly ate potato and barley porridge for forty days?

Never.

Now substitute pasta with tomato sauce, and suddenly it's neither hard, nor expensive, nor pretentious.

And substitute a slender frame with morbid obesity, all the while a "fast".
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« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2013, 11:36:26 AM »

You cannot command someone to do something voluntarily and out of love.  Command and voluntary just don't jive.

Precisely.
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« Reply #44 on: July 12, 2013, 01:08:37 PM »

And what's the problem with it?  Fasting is not a Holy Sacrament.  Communion is.  You cannot command someone to do something voluntarily and out of love.  Command and voluntary just don't jive.  By denying them something that Christ commanded us to do "in remembrance of Him" is fasting by coercion, plain and simple.  The Church has a monopoly on Communion.  I don't argue this point as God instituted this monopoly, but it still makes it the only place where you can receive the Body and Blood of Christ, short of an Angel or Saint actually coming down and administering it.  When access to this Sacrament is denied for some bizarre dietary law it is now getting in the way of salvation.

It's funny, but all the people I know in real life who have such issues with fasting do not spend time talking to their friends and clergy about how coercive the Church is by insisting on such things.  They just do what they want at home, come to church, present themselves for Communion, and that's it.  There are no fasting police (or sex police, menstruation police, nocturnal pollution police, etc.) at any church I've ever been to.  No Church I am familiar with contracts spies or "schema-ninjas" to monitor the non-Sunday lives of its members.  I don't know of any priest who interrogates communicants on these and other questions at the chalice.  So what's the problem?  Love God, be humble and repentant, and follow your conscience--no one at the church is going to know what you do at home.  

But if something about the discipline the Church lays out for communicants (clergy and laity) in terms of fasting pricks the conscience of an individual who can't follow it, doesn't want to follow it, can't do it fully, doesn't understand it, doesn't agree with it, etc., then that person ought to talk to their priest/confessor about it, and take it from there.  The Church has had this discipline for centuries, holding it up as a model for our own preparation, and dispensing those who need dispensations from some or all of its rigours.  If it's worked for centuries, why should anyone think their problems with it will all of a sudden inspire a sweeping change?  I think there's value in having a default, model practice to aspire to, and allowing people to build up to it when and as they can.  It means there's always something "more" to shoot for, keeps us humble when we're not there yet, prevents us (ideally) from judging others who do differently, and encourages our fasting and other penitential disciplines to be done "within the Church" by having an accountability with one's priest/confessor.    

That fasting is not a sacrament and Communion is is a valid point.  But that doesn't mean that sacraments don't have certain prerequisites.  If fasting is a coercive, overbearing imposition on communicants, why is Baptism not considered such?  In order to receive Communion, you have to have been baptised.  In order to be baptised, you have to believe the Orthodox faith (which means you have to learn it), repent of your sins, firmly reject Satan and all his works, be exclusive in your worship of and acceptance of Christ above all other gods, idols, and so on, and pledge to continue doing so throughout your new life.  If you're doing that correctly, that's already a great inconvenience to the lives of Christians.  Why not chuck that out too?  The Church can't dispense from even one of those things, but it can dispense from some or all fasting.  Is fasting really such a grave burden?  

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And yes, I just called fasting a bizarre dietary law.  When I can have lobster but not a Big Mac I think the spirit of the rule is lost.  If the letter of the law and the spirit of the law do not match it might be time to look at things.  And there is nothing wrong with this.  Fasting as it is done would force you to have a simple diet by medieval standards, allowing those with money to save on food and give to charity.  Industrialization has changed the way we eat and many of the things that were simple back then are expensive, just plain unhealthy, or force us into medieval LARPing.  Seriously, when was the last time you willingly ate potato and barley porridge for forty days?

This is a different matter entirely.  It's important to recognise that the fasting traditions have changed over time, and even as we have them today, different traditions co-exist.

For instance, according to the canons of our tradition (Syriac), the default fast is a vegan diet, with no food or drink taken before dusk, and no alcohol at all.  But even in those canons, you'll see dispensations issued generally that you don't have to ask your priest about.  So you can break your fast at the ninth hour, or even at the sixth hour, if you can't wait till dusk.  Outside of Great Lent, there's an allowance for fish.  Beyond that, people can ask their priests for dispensations or they end up dispensing themselves according to their conscience.

I think we can legitimately talk about the current rules and discuss whether they need to be adjusted.  Lobster may have been a "simple" solution in Greece, for example, but here it definitely is decadent compared to a Big Mac.  Personally, I think the Byzantine rules are too complex and should be simplified, even if that means the "simpler" rule is more rigorous.  It shouldn't be something where you have to buy a church calendar for the year to help you figure out what to do on what day.  But again, that discussion can be useful in terms of how to go about revising the rules.  It doesn't mean that we don't have to follow or be dispensed from the current rules, or that we should ditch fasting entirely.  Our Lord never told us how to fast, but he most certainly told us we would have to fast.      

Edited to fix tags.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2013, 01:09:09 PM by Mor Ephrem » Logged

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