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Author Topic: I have some questions about Syriac Orthodox fasting  (Read 3356 times) Average Rating: 0
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Blissfully Unaware
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« on: May 07, 2010, 11:01:37 PM »

Hi everyone,

I have begun attending the divine liturgy at a Syriac Orthodox church and reading about the Oriental Orthodox faith. I love this church and I want to convert. Unfortunately I have not been able to meet with the priest to discuss the conversion process.

Until then, I would like to ask some of my questions here:

How do I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays? I read that I must abstain from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, oil, and wine. When does fasting begin? Do I start on Tuesday evening for the Wednesday fast and break the fast on Wednesday evening or is it midnight to midnight?

Also, as for abstaining from oil - I heard that many types of bread are cooked with oil. How can I know which bread I can eat? Does soup have oil in it?

I would be so grateful to have these questions answered. I tried reading Syriac Orthodox websites but I find the rules listed to be complex and difficult to understand.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2010, 11:15:39 PM »

I tried reading Syriac Orthodox websites but I find the rules listed to be complex and difficult to understand.

Just like the Jewish Law! J/K! Or am I???  Huh
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2010, 11:19:39 PM »

Hi everyone,

I have begun attending the divine liturgy at a Syriac Orthodox church and reading about the Oriental Orthodox faith. I love this church and I want to convert. Unfortunately I have not been able to meet with the priest to discuss the conversion process.

Until then, I would like to ask some of my questions here:

How do I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays? I read that I must abstain from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, oil, and wine. When does fasting begin? Do I start on Tuesday evening for the Wednesday fast and break the fast on Wednesday evening or is it midnight to midnight?

Also, as for abstaining from oil - I heard that many types of bread are cooked with oil. How can I know which bread I can eat? Does soup have oil in it?

I would be so grateful to have these questions answered. I tried reading Syriac Orthodox websites but I find the rules listed to be complex and difficult to understand.

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I wanted to welcome you to the forum Smiley

I tried reading Syriac Orthodox websites but I find the rules listed to be complex and difficult to understand.

Just like the Jewish Law! J/K! Or am I???  Huh

Be nice, Alveus!  police
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2010, 11:28:07 PM »

Welcome to the forum!

We have some members from the Syriac Orthodox tradition.  Hopefully they will see this and answer your questions.  In the meantime, you may want to click on the fasting tag below and see if there is any useful information in other threads about fasting.
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Blissfully Unaware
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2010, 01:11:39 AM »

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone Smiley

A parishioner last Sunday helped explain some of the fasting rules to me.

I mentioned that the rules online were confusing to follow because it lists the rules for every single fast day and the language used is a bit archaic and confuses me a bit when I read about the Wednesday and Friday fast. Basically I have summed it up to "go vegan" on Wed and Fri. I was raised Catholic, so remembering to abstain meat is easy, but the rest can be difficult - especially dairy!

I am also having trouble finding Oriental Orthodox information. I heard that the book by Bishop Kallistos Ware is a great book on Orthodoxy, but when I read a sample of it on Amazon.com he states that very little of his book is dedicated to Oriental Orthodoxy.

Thanks again and I am enjoying this wonderful site! The design and web layout is beautiful and there are so many people on here! Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2010, 02:47:32 AM »

Welcome to the forum Blissfully Unaware.

I'm Coptic, so I can't really answer your question, but I hope some Syriac Orthodox members will read this.

Just some experience from Indian Orthodox friends.  I noticed that they don't abstain from dairy, but they abstain from all meat.  I'm not sure if the Syriac Orthodox is the same.

Mina
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2010, 03:34:35 AM »

How do I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays? I read that I must abstain from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, oil, and wine. When does fasting begin? Do I start on Tuesday evening for the Wednesday fast and break the fast on Wednesday evening or is it midnight to midnight?

The fasting is from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening... and again Thursday evening to Friday evening. It is not from midnight to midnight.  At least here in India, we Syriac Orthodox don't abstain from wine. It is only meat, fish, dairy, eggs and alcohol.

Mathew G M
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2010, 03:52:14 AM »

How do I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays? I read that I must abstain from meat, fish, dairy, eggs, oil, and wine. When does fasting begin? Do I start on Tuesday evening for the Wednesday fast and break the fast on Wednesday evening or is it midnight to midnight?

The fasting is from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening... and again Thursday evening to Friday evening. It is not from midnight to midnight.  At least here in India, we Syriac Orthodox don't abstain from wine. It is only meat, fish, dairy, eggs and alcohol.

Mathew G M

Thanks! This helped me a lot. I've been fasting wrong (midnight to midnight) for the past four fasting days. Now I can start fasting correctly Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2010, 07:37:37 AM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".

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Blissfully Unaware
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 02:59:32 PM »


On which site are you seeing the "rules".



I found some guidelines on the website for the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch Archdiocese of the Eastern United States. Maybe I am trying too hard to find a very black-and-white regimen because if I don't have a cut and dry outline of what to do I find it easy to forget.

Thanks everyone! I am going to Divine Liturgy tomorrow and I'll bring my questions with me to ask the priest afterward (or if he is busy I can ask the other parishioners).
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2010, 03:04:50 PM »

Eastern Orthodox do not fast sundown to sundown, but on the day itself for the weekly fasts. It might be different for other fast days.
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minasoliman
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2010, 03:13:15 PM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".



Daily hours you say?  Where can I find these prayers of the daily hours?
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2010, 03:52:14 PM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".



Daily hours you say?  Where can I find these prayers of the daily hours?

Syriac Book of Hours online.

http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/SimplePrayer/index.html
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Salpy
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2010, 04:15:05 PM »


On which site are you seeing the "rules".



I found some guidelines on the website for the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch Archdiocese of the Eastern United States. Maybe I am trying too hard to find a very black-and-white regimen because if I don't have a cut and dry outline of what to do I find it easy to forget.

Thanks everyone! I am going to Divine Liturgy tomorrow and I'll bring my questions with me to ask the priest afterward (or if he is busy I can ask the other parishioners).

Asking your priest is a good idea.  Fasting rules are not the same everywhere and may even vary between different populations within the same tradition.  There is some variation within the Armenian tradition, for instance:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25101.msg390444.html#msg390444

Also, your spiritual father would know how to "ease" you into a fasting rule.  Fasting rules can be very strict and hard to follow (I know this, as I cheat all the time on it.)  Taking on a strict fasting rule all at once can be too much and can lead to discouragement. 
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2010, 08:11:07 PM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".



Daily hours you say?  Where can I find these prayers of the daily hours?

Syriac Book of Hours online.

http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/SimplePrayer/index.html

I was wondering if there are audio files of the ways these are prayed or sung?
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2010, 03:09:06 AM »

Thanks! This helped me a lot. I've been fasting wrong (midnight to midnight) for the past four fasting days. Now I can start fasting correctly Smiley

From Qyomto (Syriac for feast of Ressurection ie Easter) to Suloqo (Feast of Ascension of our Lord) there is no need for fasting on Wednessday and Friday. Also there are no prostrations in any of the prayers in this period. The fasting on Wednessday's and Fridays as well as prostrations begin only after the feast of Ascension of our Lord, which is May 13th this year.

So if you are worried about the law. You are not expected to fast on Wednessday's and Fridays till May 13th; atleast as far as I know.

Mathew G M.
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2010, 10:11:35 PM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".



Daily hours you say?  Where can I find these prayers of the daily hours?

Syriac Book of Hours online.

http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/SimplePrayer/index.html

I was wondering if there are audio files of the ways these are prayed or sung?


Recordings of the Syriac Orthodox Daily prayers (Shhemo) are here http://www.zmirotho.org/Shhemo/ShhemoIndex.htm (in Syriac)
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minasoliman
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« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2010, 04:58:38 PM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".



Daily hours you say?  Where can I find these prayers of the daily hours?

Syriac Book of Hours online.

http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/SimplePrayer/index.html

I was wondering if there are audio files of the ways these are prayed or sung?


Recordings of the Syriac Orthodox Daily prayers (Shhemo) are here http://www.zmirotho.org/Shhemo/ShhemoIndex.htm (in Syriac)

Wow!  This is awesome...

I know this is too much to ask, but is there an English version being sung, or at least a side-by-side English translation with the English transliteration of the Syriac?
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2010, 06:13:57 PM »

Blissful,

The laws of the Church are guideposts and ways to achieve the means.  It is indeed blessed to fast with the church, but I think we should also avoid falling into the temptation of straining the gnat.

I suggest speaking to a priest, and with his help finding a spiritual regimen of fasting on canonical fast days, praying the daily hours and so on, which suits you.

On which site are you seeing the "rules".



Daily hours you say?  Where can I find these prayers of the daily hours?

Syriac Book of Hours online.

http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/SimplePrayer/index.html

I was wondering if there are audio files of the ways these are prayed or sung?


Recordings of the Syriac Orthodox Daily prayers (Shhemo) are here http://www.zmirotho.org/Shhemo/ShhemoIndex.htm (in Syriac)

Wow!  This is awesome...

I know this is too much to ask, but is there an English version being sung, or at least a side-by-side English translation with the English transliteration of the Syriac?

I haven't found one. From what I understand, the Shhemo in the recordings I linked to is the "real" Syriac Office. What is on the SOR website is an "abbreviated" version. There is a printed English version here: http://www.gorgiaspress.com/bookshop/pc-217-4-griffiths-bede-the-book-of-common-prayer-shhimo-of-the-syrian-church.aspx  , but I've yet to find any recordings.
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