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Author Topic: How many keep the days from eve to eve?  (Read 688 times) Average Rating: 0
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orthonorm
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« on: September 20, 2011, 06:55:40 PM »

A while ago more than a few folks were scoffing (me included) about some people making the distinction for a pizza party on Friday night for parish youth because it was not technically a "fast" day, as it was Saturday being night and we acting Jewish.

So lately, I've been considering this notion seriously.

When we "celebrate" a fast day at the parish in a "vesperal" manner, it kinda goes without saying the fast has started that night. Weird to leave and hit McDonald's and go dancing.

I've "experimented" a little with starting in the evening and have found it more conducive to "being in" the fast the next day, much like when I don't go out on Saturday night or play around here before DL and spend some quiet time in the evening like I am supposed to, the DL seems to flow more easily to use terrible language.

What do you all think?
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 07:31:50 PM »

I think that, whatever you decide to do, be consistent.  When you want a pizza on Friday night, don't tell yourself it is OK (even for a special occasion), despite the fact that you try to keep the fast on Friday - because it is technically Saturday - while at the same time starting your fast only once the clock strikes 12:01 AM on Friday, as opposed to evening on Thursday.  Likewise, don't use the fact that it is still considered Thursday, by secular folk, to justify having a pizza, when you normally keep the days from evening to evening instead of a twenty-four hour period. 

This is just my own advice, coming from someone who has not yet kept the Wednesday/Friday fast, or such things.

P.S. If you reside north of the Arctic Circle, I recommend not keeping the days from evening to evening.
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 08:03:44 PM »

I think that, whatever you decide to do, be consistent.  When you want a pizza on Friday night, don't tell yourself it is OK (even for a special occasion), despite the fact that you try to keep the fast on Friday - because it is technically Saturday - while at the same time starting your fast only once the clock strikes 12:01 AM on Friday, as opposed to evening on Thursday.  Likewise, don't use the fact that it is still considered Thursday, by secular folk, to justify having a pizza, when you normally keep the days from evening to evening instead of a twenty-four hour period. 

This is just my own advice, coming from someone who has not yet kept the Wednesday/Friday fast, or such things.

P.S. If you reside north of the Arctic Circle, I recommend not keeping the days from evening to evening.

I know folks who did that - just so they could have pizza on Friday evenings.

Seemed kinda odd to me.

Whatever.
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 11:14:04 PM »

I asked my former priest about this when I was a catechumen several years ago.

He said that he doesn't really know the reason for it, but liturgically we count our days evening to evening (great vespers + Divine Liturgy = 1 liturgical day), but we keep our fasts and feasts on civil time. 12:00 AM to 12:00 A.M.
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 11:25:06 PM »

I do eve to eve, except when there's some sort of social event Tuesday/Thursday evening in which I would break the fast.  I generally try to do reader's vespers beforehand, or at least Psalm 140+Φῶς Ἱλαρόν. 
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 09:11:07 AM »

I asked my former priest about this when I was a catechumen several years ago.

He said that he doesn't really know the reason for it, but liturgically we count our days evening to evening (great vespers + Divine Liturgy = 1 liturgical day), but we keep our fasts and feasts on civil time. 12:00 AM to 12:00 A.M.
"Evening to evening" is correct, though I wouldn't define it quite as you do. The Divine Liturgy is not part of the daily cycle, so it should be from the start of one Vespers to the start of the next.

Midnight to midnight fasting is a good rule, too, though I'd rather define it as "bedtime to bedtime" to avoid pigging out at 11:30 - 11:59 pm and then 24 hours and two minutes later feasting again. That's why I also avoid matching fasting to the liturgical day, though if one were truly observant and pious, it would be good to acknowledge in some way the fasting time during the eve preceding the day.

My own priest fasts according to the liturgical day and I know he is of the mindset to avoid the legalism of the 24 hours + 2 minutes scenario. I don't have that strength, so bedtime to bedtime is better.

That being said, I will confess here that my fasting is rarely as strict as it should be because my meals are shared with my non-Orthodox wife. My priest is supportive of this situation.

Long before I became Orthodox, I realized that my body rhythm seemed to want quiet evenings and then be "rarin' to go" in the morning. Yes, I'm one of those obnoxious morning persons. I was thrilled to find that the Orthodox Church sees it my way  Wink, and that was indeed one of the hooks that drew me in long enough to examine the Faith more closely. The whole concept of darkness → light makes so much sense to me.
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 11:17:00 AM »

I think that, whatever you decide to do, be consistent.

I think this is the best way to handle it, except for when the fast (lent for example) starts with a vespers service the previous day, or a feast day ending a fast (Dormition for example) is being liturgically celebrated in the morning it's best to wait until the feast is celebrated in the liturgy first (don't say it's evening before the feast but before the midnight communion fast begins so I'm gonna eat a big cheeseburger).

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 11:23:45 AM »

"Evening to evening" is correct, though I wouldn't define it quite as you do.

Midnight to midnight fasting is a good rule, too, though I'd rather define it as "bedtime to bedtime" to avoid pigging out at 11:30 - 11:59 pm and then 24 hours and two minutes later feasting again.

I've done both, depending on my schedule. I generally do the "bedtime to bedtime" thing, but when working third shift I find it easy to go from evening (when I wake up) to evening. I get to keep the fast according to the correct timing without having to start the fast in the middle of my day (I find it confusing to eat meat for 2/3 of the day and then just switch over for the remainder of the day).
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 11:31:26 AM »

"Evening to evening" is correct, though I wouldn't define it quite as you do.

Midnight to midnight fasting is a good rule, too, though I'd rather define it as "bedtime to bedtime" to avoid pigging out at 11:30 - 11:59 pm and then 24 hours and two minutes later feasting again.

I've done both, depending on my schedule. I generally do the "bedtime to bedtime" thing, but when working third shift I find it easy to go from evening (when I wake up) to evening. I get to keep the fast according to the correct timing without having to start the fast in the middle of my day (I find it confusing to eat meat for 2/3 of the day and then just switch over for the remainder of the day).

I'm also a  "bedtime to bedtime" person. Don't know why, guess it is because it is the way my family did it when I was a kid. (we don't go to vespers every day). 
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 11:44:36 AM »

I keep evening to evening fasting, which is the practice of my parish. Feasting/fasting always follows vespers.
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 12:26:50 PM »

I keep evening to evening fasting, which is the practice of my parish. Feasting/fasting always follows vespers.

Not in the monasteries.
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2011, 12:53:32 PM »

I keep evening to evening fasting, which is the practice of my parish. Feasting/fasting always follows vespers.

Not in the monasteries.
I wouldn't necessarily describe my parish as a monastery.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2011, 02:11:55 PM »

Related to this point, Fr. Alexander Schmemmann discusses the difference between the Eucharistic fast and the ascetical fast here:

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/fastandliturgy.html
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