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« on: November 14, 2007, 01:51:06 PM »

I am aware that all fasting days are supposed to include abstaining from marital relations. Do most Orthodox honor this? Being fairly new to Holy Orthodoxy, I can see that there will be two very long periods of celibacy--The Nativity fast and The Great Fast.
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2007, 01:57:21 PM »

Properly following the fasts pretty much is OBC -"Orthodox birth control"  Cheesy

For us Julian calendar folks, the Apostles' fast is a long stretch, too.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 01:58:41 PM »

Properly following the fasts pretty much is OBC -"Orthodox birth control"  Cheesy
Or a sure road to insanity!  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007, 02:09:42 PM »

Or a sure road to insanity!  Grin 

Well.... As long as our focus isn't solely on that aspect of marriage, it should be tough but bearable, right? (lol) Grin Wink Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2007, 02:34:41 PM »

Properly following the fasts pretty much is OBC -"Orthodox birth control"  Cheesy

So is having a 2 1/2 year old nicknamed "pinball" and a teething six month old.  Maritial relations... yeah right!!!  angel
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2007, 02:38:56 PM »

I am aware that all fasting days are supposed to include abstaining from marital relations. Do most Orthodox honor this? Being fairly new to Holy Orthodoxy, I can see that there will be two very long periods of celibacy--The Nativity fast and The Great Fast.

I would not say that most Orthodox observe this aspect of fasting.And a lot of the ones I know do not fast from foods for 40 days before Christmas or Easter either. In fact a lot actually ignore the duration of the Nativity Fast - I did until a few years ago and I fasted only the week before Christmas.

As far as fasting from marital relationships is concerned, as it involves two persons of often varying spiritual maturity and strength, I guess, it is more complicated to say what the right thing would be. Marital relationships after all involve love and compassion not only desire for the flesh. I believe the Apostle Paul has said spouses should only deprive themselves of each other for prayer and fast and only shortly in order not to fall into temptation. I do not know whether 40 days is long or short for a married couple however! Wink Grin
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 02:56:07 PM »

It isn't long if one of them is deployed in service of the military Wink But otherwise, IMO, yes that is a long time. Akin to the time after giving birth when you have to abstain. Now if you could time a pregnancy and delivery to coincide with the fast, that would be good. laugh
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2007, 04:42:26 PM »

Now if you could time a pregnancy and delivery to coincide with the fast, that would be good. laugh

Lucky for Mr. Y and me (or not, depending how you view it Cheesy), we managed to do just that. 
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 09:54:01 PM »

Speaking for the Slavic traditions, no we Orthodox do not observe "fasting" from marital relations during Lent.
My priest said this is promoted by some Greek Orthodox jurisdictions however.  Our priests are not taught this in our seminary not are our laity instructed to follow this.
My priest also said it this were true then it would be reflected in the timing of births in Orthodox countries studied over a few centuries.
I remember reading on another forum the very good answer by Fr. A. Lebedeff of the ROCOR rejecting such a rule as thisas "fasting" from marital relations.  If anyone else has it saved please post it here.

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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 10:10:21 PM »

Speaking for the Slavic traditions, no we Orthodox do not observe "fasting" from marital relations during Lent.

I don't think you should attempt to speak so quickly for the "Slavic traditions."

Quote
My priest said this is promoted by some Greek Orthodox jurisdictions however.  Our priests are not taught this in our seminary not are our laity instructed to follow this.

What jurisdiction are you?

Quote
My priest also said it this were true then it would be reflected in the timing of births in Orthodox countries studied over a few centuries.

That would assume that the majority of Orthodox ever kept the traditions of the Church historically; I don't think that is the case.

Quote
I remember reading on another forum the very good answer by Fr. A. Lebedeff of the ROCOR rejecting such a rule as thisas "fasting" from marital relations.  If anyone else has it saved please post it here.

Orest

So you think it's ok to have sex at any time? For instance on Great and Holy Friday?

I would be surprised if all of ROCOR held to Fr Alexander's viewpoint. I will have to check with some of my ROCOR friends though.
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 10:40:32 PM »

Thank you for providing his first name.  Why don't you just e-mail him directly?
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2007, 11:41:11 PM »

Thank you for providing his first name.  Why don't you just e-mail him directly?

Because I am curious what you have to say, not him. If I wanted to find scholarly opinion, I could easily consult books on the topic such as "Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs" by Eve Levin.
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2007, 11:42:13 PM »

So you think it's ok to have sex at any time? For instance on Great and Holy Friday?

I would be surprised if all of ROCOR held to Fr Alexander's viewpoint. I will have to check with some of my ROCOR friends though.


I have just found the quote from Fr. Alexander himself.  He is a very prominent priest in the ROCOR.

Quote
Re: Fasting from the Flesh

--- In ask_the_archpriest@y..., "Marie Ward" <marieward@h...> wrote:
> Father, bless.
>
 (This is a marriage kind of a question, so I will understand if
you cannot answer it on a mailing list. Please forgive me if it is wrong to
ask about this sort of thing.)
>
> A.B. asked a question using this phrase:
> "the fast from the flesh of the Great Fast"
>
> Does this mean for the *entire* 8 weeks of fasting? Eight weeks?!
How is this possible? Fasting from food and tv effects only me, but
fasting from the flesh forces someone else to fast also. Whether or not he wants
to. The arguments that this would cause in our home if I tried to fast
in this way!
>
> Or worse: what if my husband went along with this and then a few
weeks into the fast, I wanted to stop fasting but he didn't? And he
refuses to stop the fast? Then what would I do? I could not go to the priest
and ask him to make my husband stop fasting.
>
> Why would the Church put such a huge burden on us? At a time when
we are so easily annoyed with each other because of the food fast, to keep
us separated in this way. It does not make sense to me...
>
> the handmaiden of the Lord,
> Marie

______________________________________________________________________


Dear Marie,

Here is what I posted recently about this subject on another list.

==============

This discussion reminds me of a true story from my own experience.

Not long after we were married, my wife and I (I was a third year
Seminarian at Jordanville then), were invited to have lunch by one of
the old Russian couples that lived in the so-caled "Russian village"
about a mile from the monastery. We gladly accepted (we were so poor, we were
subsisting mainly on macaroni, so any invitation "out" was deeply
appreciated). After a wonderful Russian meal, the old "babushka" of
the house took us over to the side and conspiratorily whispered: "I know
you're recently married, but you do know, of course, the Church rules on
when you can, and when you can't?"

It was pretty clear what she was talking about, so we just politely
nodded.

She went on: "Well, you can't do it on Tuesday, because that's the
eve of a fast day; you can't do it on Wednesday, because it's a fast day; you
can't do it on Thursday, because that's the eve of a fast day, also; you
obviously can't do it on Friday, because that's a fast day, too; you
can't do it on Saturday, because that's the eve of a Feast Day, and you
can't do it on Sunday, because that's a Feast Day."

"What about Monday?" I asked.

"Well, you can't do it on Monday, either, because of an old pious
custom, since Monday is dedicated to the Bodiless Powers, the Angels, who are
an example of purity--and it's also a fast day among monastics."

I asked the venerable Babushka, "And you followed these rules
strictly when you were young and just married?"

"Oh, no," she replied, "We were young and foolish, and didn't know
any better. . . "

The point of this story is that old babushkas are the first to point
out restrictions that do not at all exist according to the Church. The
scriptural admonition is for married couples *not* to deny each other
sexual relations, except by mutual consent for the purpose of prayer
and fasting.

Abstinence from sexual relations (by mutual consent) is certainly
appropriate the evening before receiving the Holy Sacraments, and
during the day that one receives them. It is certainly *not* an absolute
"requirement" of the Church to abstain on all fast days (and on the
eves of fast days), or during the 11 days after the Nativity when marriages
are not permitted.

The Russian Church in the 13th century issued guidelines for married
clergy on these issues, and they included as days of mandatory abstinence
only the first and last week of Great Lent, the two weeks of Dormition Lent,
and Wednesdays and Fridays during Nativity Lent and the Lent of the Holy
Apostles.

The married state is blessed and the marriage bed is undefiled. The
Holy Church in protecting the sanctity of marriage and the well-being of
the spouses, as well as encouraging procreation and the raising of "fair
children" has no interest in creating artificial impediments to
preclude spouses from "rejoicing in one another."

If anyone wishes individual guidance on these matters, they should,
of course, consult with their Spiritual Father.

With love in Christ,

Prot. Alexander Lebedeff

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ask_the_archpriest/message

I have promived the web site so you can check for yourself or e-mail Fr. Alexander directly.
Also my parish priest has e-mailed me the info on the council mentioned: Synod of Volodymyr in 1274.
If you read Church Slavonic you can check the proceedings of the conference yourself.
Forgive me if there are any mistakes in the transliteration from Cyrillic to Roman alphabet:
Rususskaj Istoricheskaya Biblioteka 7,  Leningrad-S. peterburgu, 1872-1927, pp. 223-256.

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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2007, 11:55:47 PM »

Sorry, I did not see your other posting while I was typing.
Quote
Because I am curious what you have to say, not him. If I wanted to find scholarly opinion, I could easily consult books on the topic such as "Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs" by Eve Levin.


Firstly, I belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (www.uocc.ca) which is a canonical Orthodox Church under the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Secondly, I follow what I have been taught by my church and I agree with what the good Fr. Alexander has posted in the quote up above.

Thirdly, the book "Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs." by Eve Levin is not a theological scholarly work.  When it first came out everyone rushed to read it and it was the topic for the chattering classes.  However, Levin's work is not a theological balanced approach.  She is not a theologican and is not familar with Orthodox tradition or scholarly writings.  yes, she has shifted through materials to provide obscure examples of folklore etc., but not a balanced theological treatise.  This was the general opinion of people who read the book or revied the book in print.

Another example of a work dealing with folklore without a theological basis or grounding or understanding of Orthodox theology is Christine Worobetz.  Temptress or Virgin? The Precarious Sexual Position of Women in Postemancipation Ukrainian Peasant Society.  Slavic Review, 49/2 (1990).

This work like Levins is sensationalist and brings up obscure examples of sexuality and floklore but cannot be said to present an accurate account of Orthodox theology on marriage.

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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2007, 12:00:38 AM »

Quote
have promived the web site so you can check for yourself or e-mail Fr. Alexander directly.
Also my parish priest has e-mailed me the info on the church synod mentioned: Synod of Volodymyr in 1274.
If you read Church Slavonic you can check the proceedings of the synod yourself.
Forgive me if there are any mistakes in the transliteration from Cyrillic to Roman alphabet:
Rususskaj Istoricheskaya Biblioteka 7,  Leningrad-S. Peterburgu, 1872-1927, pp. 223-256.

Sorry I have just corrected the typing errors I made in my last reply in bold.  It is too late to be typing.
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2007, 05:28:52 AM »

Well, for the "Greek" perspective, and Coptic as well, I  understand:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/fasting_sex.aspx
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2007, 05:39:25 AM »

Apparently it was an old Coptic tradition--which I have heard is still practiced by some, though it is not, as far i'm aware, popular anymore--that the newly married couple abstain from sexual relations for the first three days of their marriage to strengthen their spiritual bond (or something like that).

Has anyone else heard of this practice in regard to any other ancient Christian tradition? It has always struck me as rather strange and a little extreme.
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2007, 06:11:04 AM »

Apparently it was an old Coptic tradition--which I have heard is still practiced by some, though it is not, as far i'm aware, popular anymore--that the newly married couple abstain from sexual relations for the first three days of their marriage to strengthen their spiritual bond (or something like that).

Has anyone else heard of this practice in regard to any other ancient Christian tradition? It has always struck me as rather strange and a little extreme.

Yes, I've heard of something similar in Byzantine practice, it was part of a hierarchy of relationships preceeding marriage. It began with a courtship, continued through the engagement (which was a legally binding contract, that could only be broken in a manner similar to divorce proceedings though it carried none of the post-divorce implications with the exception of a potential, relatively limited, alimony), then during the marriage ceremony the couple was crowned and would live as a married couple, but would not engage in sexual relations until a week later after the crowns were removed in their own special service...any more the crowns are removed during the marriage service. These customs, of course, have their origins in ancient pagan Rome (though I am not certain about the custom of abstinance, I would be curious to know if that had any link to ancient Rome), but this was their understanding around the middle of the first to the middle of the second millenium.
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2007, 06:31:16 AM »

Thanks GiC!

Do you have any more information as to why this was done? Is the whole "to strengthen the spiritual bond" rationale that I hear in relation to Coptic practice just a pious after-thought?

Quote
These customs, of course, have their origins in ancient pagan Rome (though I am not certain about the custom of abstinance, I would be curious to know if that had any link to ancient Rome)

I was told that the practice was based on the story in the Book of Tobit. Pious after-thought, again?
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2007, 12:58:32 PM »

Thanks GiC!

Do you have any more information as to why this was done? Is the whole "to strengthen the spiritual bond" rationale that I hear in relation to Coptic practice just a pious after-thought?

Well, the actions of engagement, crowning, and the removal of the crowns do have their origin, in form at least, in Ancient Rome. I'm sure their spiritual meanings were radically changed by rise of Christianity, but I don't know what forms, as opposed to meanings, that were contributed by Christianity (abstinance perhaps?).

Quote
I was told that the practice was based on the story in the Book of Tobit. Pious after-thought, again?

Quite possibly.
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« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2007, 02:19:24 PM »

How does someone fast from marital relations when the spouses are at different levels of endurance regarding the fast?  For example, one is able to keep the fast for 40 days with no problems, but the other can't make it 4 days without going nuts.  How do they compromise?
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« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2007, 02:24:12 PM »

How do they compromise? 

Spiritual Father.  That's why we consult with them: we don't want to drive the one spouse nuts (that's a major sin according to St. John Chrysostom), but we should push our abstinence endurance a bit.
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« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2007, 03:27:36 PM »

"The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer."

I, of course, take issue with Paul on some issues, but to me at least this seems to be pretty good advice.
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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2007, 03:31:19 PM »

"The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer."

I, of course, take issue with Paul on some issues, but to me at least this seems to be pretty good advice.

Right - mutual consent for a definite time for the sake of prayer; sound like Lent!
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2007, 03:35:52 PM »

Right - mutual consent for a definite time for the sake of prayer; sound like Lent!

Sure, that's as good a time as any to pick...but the key there was mutual consent.
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« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2007, 10:18:01 PM »

Sure, that's as good a time as any to pick...but the key there was mutual consent.


I am not an expert in Slavic Orthodox guidelines for fasting from marital relations...
All I can say is: I am Serbian Orthodox and my entire parish fasts (or at least attempts to) from marital relations during every single fast day of the year (including "normal" Wednesdays and Fridays).

Do my wife and I want to break the fast from marital relations?  Well, of course!  Wink  But we don't consider our own personal desires to be more important than the liturgical calendar

Yes, if we were in a fast-free time period and we both by mutual consent decided to STILL abstain (even though we could)... THEN, and only then, would the above-mentioned quote from St. Paul be applicable.  Otherwise, we are trying to use his words to excuse your own rebellion against the WILL of the Father (which the blessed Chrysostom would obviously never condone).
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« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2007, 10:18:40 PM »

Right - mutual consent for a definite time for the sake of prayer; sound like Lent!


Exactly!... or any other fast-day for that matter.
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« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2007, 10:37:18 PM »

Another thing:


If we indeed fast from marital relations on every single fast day of any kind, then we end up with ONLY TWO WEEKS out of the year that married couples can have relations 7 days in a row (an entire week).

Which is more blessed?...

"Wow, it is the week after Pascha/Pentecost and, glory to God, I have been intimate with my spouse for an entire week straight!Cheesy

or

"Wow, it is just some random week that my spouse and I (as we usually do) decided to just keep the 'food fast' and skip the 'marital fast'... glory to selfish desire!Undecided
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« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2007, 10:41:42 PM »

to alter a quote from the Disney version of Robin Hood,
"Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder." Grin
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« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2007, 11:25:13 PM »

the Disney version of Robin Hood...

One of my favorites!  Cheesy


Jee Hosiphat, Trigger, put that pea-shooter daown!   Grin
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« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2007, 11:54:53 PM »


I am not an expert in Slavic Orthodox guidelines for fasting from marital relations...
All I can say is: I am Serbian Orthodox and my entire parish fasts (or at least attempts to) from marital relations during every single fast day of the year (including "normal" Wednesdays and Fridays).

Do my wife and I want to break the fast from marital relations?  Well, of course!  Wink  But we don't consider our own personal desires to be more important than the liturgical calendar

Yes, if we were in a fast-free time period and we both by mutual consent decided to STILL abstain (even though we could)... THEN, and only then, would the above-mentioned quote from St. Paul be applicable.  Otherwise, we are trying to use his words to excuse your own rebellion against the WILL of the Father (which the blessed Chrysostom would obviously never condone).
If you and your wife can remain celibate during the days that the Church recommends/requires/whatever-you-call-it fasting from marital relations, then God bless you!  However, this to me is clearly one of those pastoral issues where the guidance of your priest/spiritual father is absolutely necessary.  Your statement above regarding how some "use [St. Paul's] words to excuse your rebellion against the WILL of the Father" and your parenthetical about St. John Chrysostom actually comprise a rather black-and-white, cut-and-dried, simplistically dogmatic view of the issue that fosters a judgmentalism antithetical to Christian faith.  I hope you don't insist that ALL married couples be required to fast from marital relations during the appropriate seasons as rigorously as you and your wife do.  (FWIW, I'm not married, so the issue of when to be celibate and when to celebrate our union is actually quite simple. Wink)
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« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2007, 12:03:15 AM »

Yes, if we were in a fast-free time period and we both by mutual consent decided to STILL abstain (even though we could)... THEN, and only then, would the above-mentioned quote from St. Paul be applicable.  Otherwise, we are trying to use his words to excuse your own rebellion against the WILL of the Father (which the blessed Chrysostom would obviously never condone).

So why didn't Paul say 'by mutual consent AND on liturgically prescribed fast days'? In fact, I don't know of any place in scripture where it talks about not having sexual relations on fast days, neither do I know of any such canon, is it even in the rubrics that mandate the fast? And who was the first source to argue this, Chrysostom may have advocated greater restraint, but I don't think that even he, who essentially viewed sex as unclean, forbade it on every fast day.

If you're going to make such grandiose claims as your personal opinions being 'the WILL of the Father', you had best present some evidence to support them.
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« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2007, 06:10:50 PM »

If we indeed fast from marital relations on every single fast day of any kind, then we end up with ONLY TWO WEEKS out of the year that married couples can have relations 7 days in a row (an entire week).

Weeks with no fasting:

1. Between Sunday of Publican & Pharisee and Sunday of Prodigal Son.
2. Bright Week
3. Pentecost Week
4. Dec 25-Jan 4.
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« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2007, 02:48:41 PM »

To re-quote myself:

I am not an expert in Slavic Orthodox guidelines for fasting from marital relations...
All I can say is: I am Serbian Orthodox and my entire parish fasts (or at least attempts to) from marital relations during every single fast day of the year (including "normal" Wednesdays and Fridays).

This is the standard our priest has given the entire parish.  Therefore, for us to go against that is to go against the WILL of the Father.


this to me is clearly one of those pastoral issues where the guidance of your priest/spiritual father is absolutely necessary.

Our priest is the one who has given the entire parish this instruction.  The laity didn’t have a meeting to democratically decided our fasting regulations.


I hope you don't insist that ALL married couples be required to fast from marital relations during the appropriate seasons as rigorously as you and your wife do.

To again re-quote myself:

My entire parish fasts…
We indeed fast from marital relations on every single fast day of any kind…

My posts do not contain any reference to anyone outside of my parish.  I certainly wish people would actually read what is there and not assume everything must automatically apply to them personally (or everyone on earth).


So why didn't Paul say 'by mutual consent AND on liturgically prescribed fast days'?

Paul commends us:
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”  (Hebrews 13:17)

As I already stated, fasting from marital relations is the given instruction of our priest to the entire parish.


Chrysostom... essentially viewed sex as unclean...

While he did in his early life subscribe to this mentality, he later repented of it and affirmed the complete purity of martial relations.


If you're going to make such grandiose claims as your personal opinions being 'the WILL of the Father', you had best present some evidence to support them.

If you are going to assume that everything in my posts was intended to apply you personally (or to every Orthodox Christian on earth) then some evidence of that would indeed be helpful.   Wink


Weeks with no fasting:

1. Between Sunday of Publican & Pharisee and Sunday of Prodigal Son.
2. Bright Week
3. Pentecost Week
4. Dec 25-Jan 4.

I knew there were more than two, but I couldn’t remember exactly when. 
Thanks!  Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2007, 12:03:11 AM »

To re-quote myself:

This is the standard our priest has given the entire parish.  Therefore, for us to go against that is to go against the WILL of the Father.

Do you mean THE father, as in God?  Or the Father, as in the priest?  Maybe I'm being a little nit-picky here, but I would say that to go against that is to go against the will of your priest, not THE father...

Our priest is the one who has given the entire parish this instruction.  The laity didn’t have a meeting to democratically decided our fasting regulations.

Just to clarify here, a spiritual father and a parish priest are not necessarily the same thing.  I think what PetertheAleut is trying to say is that this is a deeply personal, private, intimate issue between a husband and wife that should be taken up in confidence with prayer and repentence through confession with one's personal spiritual father.  That is, rather than following a blanket decree made by the parish priest (I don't mean that in an unkind way, if it reads that way I apologize).  I know that personally, my husband and I follow closely what our spiritual fathers tell us, rather than what the parish priest says.  Of course, my husband is a priest, so it is a little different in our situation, but BEFORE his ordination as well, we followed what our spiritual fathers said. 


Paul commends us:
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”  (Hebrews 13:17)

As I already stated, fasting from marital relations is the given instruction of our priest to the entire parish.

This is related to what I said above, but question: following your logic of obeying the priest, what do you do when your parish priest and your spiritual father are not the same person and they say two different things? 

I think that this:
"Wow, it is just some random week that my spouse and I (as we usually do) decided to just keep the 'food fast' and skip the 'marital fast'... glory to selfish desire!Undecided
is a bit harsh toward those who feel the need for spontanaity in their marital life, and don't want to have to check the church calendar every time they want to express their love.  I think calling it selfish desire is not quite fair.  This is implying that, if I want to have relations with my husband on a day that is a feast day, that is pure and holy.  But if I want to have relations on a day that is a fast day (nevermind that we obviously recognize different degrees in the fast), that it is selfish desire. 

IMHO, this is a topic that, like the whole deal with women and menstruation, women and headcoverings, etc., is not a blanket rule to be followed and should be taken up with one's spiritual father.  This is why we have spiritual fathers.  A doctor wouldn't prescribe Excedrin for every person that ever has a headache.  What if one is allergic?  What if it is caused by something more serious and they need something like narcotics and surgery instead?  My point is, not every case is the same, and a blanket application of every law and every verse of scripture works for every person.  After all, St. Paul was writing to specific communities because they each had their own, individual, specific ailment.  Isn't it the same for us? 

Either way, St. Paul did not write these things to divide married couples, he wrote them to unite them (this is the point of mutual consent).  Fasting from marital relations is more difficult than fasting from food because you are talking about the feelings of two people-- there are two involved in the relationship, that, whether one likes it or not, have to agree on when to fast from relations for there to be harmony. 


Fixed quotations  --  Friul
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« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2007, 12:03:49 AM »

^whoa.  Why does that look like that?
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« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2007, 12:14:07 AM »

^whoa.  Why does that look like that?

I think you didn't close the quote tags properly.  Let me go in and try to clean it up.

Edit:  Okay, all done.  Just remember that your quote tags start with [ quote ] and end with [ /quote ].
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2007, 12:16:43 AM »

This is the standard our priest has given the entire parish.  Therefore, for us to go against that is to go against the WILL of the Father.
Well, why didn't you explain it like this before? Wink  Now that you mention that it was your priest who gave you this mandate, I can read your statements in a totally different light.  You should have stated this clearly before to keep from implying something as sweeping and general as your previous statements. Wink  For you to go against the standard set by your priest IS to go against the will of the Father that you obey your pastor, but it's not necessarily the will of the Father that we abstain from marital relations during the fasting seasons.
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« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2007, 12:17:13 AM »

I think you didn't close the quote tags properly.  Let me go in and try to clean it up.

Oops, sorry, didn't see your post in time, Veni.   Undecided
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« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2007, 12:17:40 AM »

I think you didn't close the quote tags properly.  Let me go in and try to clean it up.

Edit:  Okay, all done.  Just remember that your quote tags start with [ quote ] and end with [ /quote ].
I think Friul already jumped in and did it.  Thanks for the help, guys. Smiley  (That was a great example of recursive quotes, though.)
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« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2007, 12:19:52 AM »

Thanks for your help, guys!
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« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2007, 12:31:46 AM »

Well, why didn't you explain it like this before? Wink  Now that you mention that it was your priest who gave you this mandate, I can read your statements in a totally different light.  You should have stated this clearly before to keep from implying something as sweeping and general as your previous statements. Wink  For you to go against the standard set by your priest IS to go against the will of the Father that you obey your pastor, but it's not necessarily the will of the Father that we abstain from marital relations during the fasting seasons.

I worry about folks who have priests who demand this kind of control over their lives. There is fine line between obeying and blindly obeying a priest. There have been cases of abuse due to misunderstanding the concept of obedience. Especially in parishes with priests who are converts. In some parishes we see clericalism gone wild because newcomers to the faith do not have firm grasp of what it means to be a member of the royal priesthood (laity). I wonder if in some of the parishes who follow Slavic traditions if the Latinization which occured in the Russian Orthodox Church has even effected parishes who are mostly converts?
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« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2007, 03:00:10 AM »

Do you mean THE father, as in God?  Or the Father, as in the priest?  Maybe I'm being a little nit-picky here, but I would say that to go against that is to go against the will of your priest, not THE father...

The priest is the representative of the bishop, who is the representative of Christ the Son, Who seeks not His own will but that of the Father.
My priest has laid down this instruction to my parish, therefore my parish obediently follows this instruction.
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« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2007, 03:01:18 AM »

Well, why didn't you explain it like this before? Wink  Now that you mention that it was your priest who gave you this mandate, I can read your statements in a totally different light.  You should have stated this clearly before to keep from implying something as sweeping and general as your previous statements. Wink  For you to go against the standard set by your priest IS to go against the will of the Father that you obey your pastor, but it's not necessarily the will of the Father that we abstain from marital relations during the fasting seasons.

I suppose I just have a knack for leaving out the most vital piece of information in any given post.  Cheesy Wink
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« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2007, 03:03:28 AM »

Here is a link to an article written by Archbishop Chrysostomos on
An Answer to a Question About Sexual Abstinence During Fasting Periods

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/fasting_sex.aspx

some key quotes:

...Scripture establishes well the practice of fasting from the flesh (both in the Old and New Testaments). So do the ancient texts of the Church. If these people who question abstinence would read the lives of the Saints and the Fathers, they would understand that, in challenging us for adhering to the Faith, they show their own utter lack of understanding of what they claim to believe. How can anyone have the gall to challenge Church customs without reading such basic discourses as those by St. John Chrysostomos, who, in his "On Virginity," clearly states that married couples should abstain from marital relations when fasting?

Since they have also rejected our argument about the inspired and sacred nature of the Holy Canons, many modernists also ignore the canonical witness of Orthodoxy (when they are not using it in a legalistic way to justify their deviation from Holy Tradition). Hence, while it may be of little use in confronting those who war with Orthodoxy in the name of the Faith, you should note the canonical data in support of the ancient practice of fasting from the flesh: the commentary and notes on the sixty-ninth Apostolic Canon, which contain very enlightening and informative statements about fasting in general; the thirteenth Canon of St. Timothy, which, addressing fasting from the flesh on Saturday and Sunday, dates to the fourth century…

I might just say, from the standpoint of Church practice, to show how silly the contention over this matter truly is, that it stands to reason that the prohibition of marriages on Wednesday and Friday and during fasts is not unrelated to the issue of abstinence from the flesh by married couples. This point is so self-evident as to be embarrassing. As for those who cannot practice abstinence for short periods, this is often a sign of sexual maladjustment


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