Author Topic: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?  (Read 3843 times)

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Offline Kaste

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Just after their supper with Jesus, Jesus turned the wine and bread into His true body, and the Apostles ate Him. 

Should then Orthodox fast before the Eucharist?

K

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 12:47:18 AM »
Well Christ did say you don't fast while the Bridegroom is present but when he is not you will.

And most of us are not deified like the Apostles were. So fasting is of utmost importance for us to prepare ourselves.
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Offline Kaste

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 01:02:44 AM »
Thank you Fr. Anastasios.

We can close this one out.

K

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 01:47:09 AM »
And most of us are not deified like the Apostles were. So fasting is of utmost importance for us to prepare ourselves.

How were the apostles deified even before Pentecost?

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 02:00:18 AM »
And most of us are not deified like the Apostles were. So fasting is of utmost importance for us to prepare ourselves.

How were the apostles deified even before Pentecost?

The OT prophets were in deification, at least according to Met Hierotheos of Nafpaktos in The Mind of the Orthodox Church. Remember, though, that deification is not a 24/7 experience in this limited, imperfect world; people can be in illumination all the time and will have "bouts" of deification but deification is not permanent in this world for those who are granted it. So I could see a situation where the Apostles were enlightened and then fell back then were more enlightened at Pentecost; in fact, we sing on Holy Thursday, "when the Apostles were enlightened at the washing of the feet, then Judas the ungodly one..."

But, I was speaking more along the lines of Early Church practice, not the Last Supper per se.  The Last Supper would fall under the "you don't fast while the Bridegroom is present" injunction, though.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 02:02:04 AM by Fr. Anastasios »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2009, 07:04:27 AM »
Read what St. Paul said about what was going on at Corinth by those not fasting before communion.
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Offline GregoryLA

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2009, 09:36:39 AM »
I'd like to sieze upon this opportunity to ask two questions related to this topic:
1) What's the earliest explicit record of fasting before the Eucharist?

2) How does this not violate the prohibition against fasting on Sundays?

These are honest questions I've had and I look forward to hearing the answers!

Offline AWR

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2009, 10:18:53 AM »

2) How does this not violate the prohibition against fasting on Sundays?

The prohibition against fasting on Sundays, is a prohibition against fasting from the Eucharist on Sundays, not other kinds of fasting.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2009, 10:32:18 AM »



2) How does this not violate the prohibition against fasting on Sundays?

 

Actually the prohibition is for the Sabbath or Saturday, The Orthodox fast is loosened by allowing wine and cheese on Saturdays in the Greek tradition.
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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2009, 10:49:20 AM »
Just after their supper with Jesus, Jesus turned the wine and bread into His true body, and the Apostles ate Him. 

Should then Orthodox fast before the Eucharist?

K
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Offline Kaste

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2009, 05:06:13 PM »
Just a moment, is there a contradiction here with canon 66 of the Apostolic Canons?

http://www.voskrese.info/spl/aposcanon.html

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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2009, 05:11:13 PM »
Just a moment, is there a contradiction here with canon 66 of the Apostolic Canons?

http://www.voskrese.info/spl/aposcanon.html

K

No, we don't fast on Sundays. Even during Lent, we have wine and olive oil on Sundays. We also are not refraining from eating until the 9th hour.
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2009, 05:15:59 PM »
The Orthodox fast is loosened by allowing wine and cheese on Saturdays in the Greek tradition.

Cheese is not permitted on Saturdays. Oil and wine are.

Offline Kaste

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2009, 05:21:35 PM »
Quote
No, we don't fast on Sundays.

Something seems out of place.  Are or aren't Orthodox taught to fast before the Eucharist, which is on Sunday? 

K

Offline mike

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2009, 05:26:27 PM »
Something seems out of place.  Are or aren't Orthodox taught to fast before the Eucharist, which is on Sunday? 

K

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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2009, 05:32:01 PM »
Quote
No, we don't fast on Sundays.

Something seems out of place.  Are or aren't Orthodox taught to fast before the Eucharist, which is on Sunday? 

K

We are not fasting because it is Sunday, we are fasting to receive communion, and we are not fasting all day, and we are not fasting from wine and olive oil that day.

Besides, fasting before communing is a universal practice; it is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Non Chalcedonians, Assyrians, and Roman Catholics. That is powerful proof that it is an ancient tradition.
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Offline GregoryLA

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2009, 07:14:25 PM »
Quote
No, we don't fast on Sundays.

Something seems out of place.  Are or aren't Orthodox taught to fast before the Eucharist, which is on Sunday? 

K

We are not fasting because it is Sunday, we are fasting to receive communion, and we are not fasting all day, and we are not fasting from wine and olive oil that day.

Besides, fasting before communing is a universal practice; it is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Non Chalcedonians, Assyrians, and Roman Catholics. That is powerful proof that it is an ancient tradition.

Thank you for this post, Fr. Anastasios! It's very helpful to know that all the "ancient" churches hold this practice. Surely it can't be wrong then- not unless one believes that the gates of Hell can conquer the Church.

Also, in answer to my own questions as to when this practice started I looked it up and it seems to have become widespread after the 4th century.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2009, 07:25:18 PM »
and we are not fasting from wine and olive oil that day.
Does that mean I can have wine for breakfast before Communion? :D
Seriously though, our Church holds the Communion Fast to be a strict fast. In our monastery Church, we break our fast straight after Communion in the narthex with wine and Antidoron then return to the nave for the dismissal. It's the custom of some Athonite monasteries.
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Offline mike

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2009, 08:06:20 PM »
Seriously though, our Church holds the Communion Fast to be a strict fast. In our monastery Church, we break our fast straight after Communion in the narthex with wine and Antidoron then return to the nave for the dismissal. It's the custom of some Athonite monasteries.

It's the custom in Poland. Not in every Parish antidorion is received by those, who did not participate in Eucharist, but in each Parish it is taken by those, who did.

Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2009, 07:12:43 AM »
and we are not fasting from wine and olive oil that day.
Does that mean I can have wine for breakfast before Communion? :D
Seriously though, our Church holds the Communion Fast to be a strict fast. In our monastery Church, we break our fast straight after Communion in the narthex with wine and Antidoron then return to the nave for the dismissal. It's the custom of some Athonite monasteries.
This is the custom of most Orthodox parishes I have been to. Ours breaks the fast with only Antidoron, and not wine, but our parish is an exception, from what I've seen. I find the Antidoron to be very helpful in regaining strength after such a long time without eating (for us, usually from about 8 pm until about noon the next day).
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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2009, 08:39:59 AM »
and we are not fasting from wine and olive oil that day.
Does that mean I can have wine for breakfast before Communion? :D
Seriously though, our Church holds the Communion Fast to be a strict fast. In our monastery Church, we break our fast straight after Communion in the narthex with wine and Antidoron then return to the nave for the dismissal. It's the custom of some Athonite monasteries.

I've seen it in a few OCA parishes/monasteries, too.  And why not?  They do gladden and strengthen man's heart after all! :)
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Re: Why do Orthodox fast before the Eucharist when even the Apostles didn't?
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2009, 08:02:27 AM »
This is the custom of most Orthodox parishes I have been to. Ours breaks the fast with only Antidoron, and not wine, but our parish is an exception, from what I've seen. I find the Antidoron to be very helpful in regaining strength after such a long time without eating (for us, usually from about 8 pm until about noon the next day).

I've never been to a parish that breaks the fast in the Narthex, as the Athonites do. Sure, some Slavic parishes serve half-harm-water/half-wine up near the front of the Nave, but that's different.

The Athonite monasteries preserve some of the older customs that properly separate certain actions into distinct liturgical spaces (e.g. Great Blessing of Holy Water outside in the courtyard's fountain; reading of the hours or Small Compline in the Narthex or Exo-Narthex, etc.).

After Communion, one processes to the Narthex itself, which is the space for "liturgical eating". If you didn't receive the Holy Gifts, then you have some Holy Water and antidoron. Sometimes, the Fathers serve wine, as ozgeorge mentioned. You also have wine and atroklesia in the Narthex at the proper time during the All-Night Vigil.
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