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Author Topic: Metropolitan Philip's Thanksgiving Dispensation  (Read 1743 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tsavong Lah
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« on: November 25, 2011, 04:34:12 PM »

Do any of the Antiochian posters around here know where one might find Metropolitan Philip's dispensation relaxing the Nativity fast for Thanksgiving Day in America? Is it even available still?

Also, a corollary question for everyone: how do you deal with visiting non-Orthodox or even non-Christian homes while fasting? There's a bit of a tension between the desire to fast and the desire to not break hospitality and charity—how do you resolve it?
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 05:23:09 PM »

Do any of the Antiochian posters around here know where one might find Metropolitan Philip's dispensation relaxing the Nativity fast for Thanksgiving Day in America? Is it even available still?

Also, a corollary question for everyone: how do you deal with visiting non-Orthodox or even non-Christian homes while fasting? There's a bit of a tension between the desire to fast and the desire to not break hospitality and charity—how do you resolve it?

Saint Paul already gave to us the relevant "dispensation" in Romans :
Romans 14:3  "Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him." There are other passages that stress the essentially private nature of fasting/prayer, the need not to give offence, etc... I would think that you will find only a few spiritual fathers who will stress 100% adherence to fasting in any circumstance.
 
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 05:29:10 PM »

Can't answer your first question... but you should allow hospitality and love trump "keeping the fast"  We are not pharisees who keep every jot and tittle of the law but forget love.

HTH

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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 05:34:21 PM »

I'll be honest. I get together with my non-Orthodox family and friends and enjoy Thanksgiving, food and all.  I do try not to overdo it and not eat too much. I am usually successful in that regard.  I do eat some turkey, but even on Thanksgiving, I eat far more vegetable dishes and casseroles than I do flesh meat. I allow myself one piece of dessert and enjoy coffee and conversation afterwards.  I do not have to worry about leftovers because I am from a big family and I am always invited to eat with them as a guest.  I never host the Thanksgiving meal in my home. I travel to a relative's house for it, and usually take fruit as a gift for the hostess. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I immediately return to the discipline of the Nativity Fast.  Today I had a Nativity fast breakfast of Russsian rye bread and black cherry preserves (no butter) and some black coffee.  I find all sorts of foods to eat during the fast that are both nutritious and that taste good.  I rarely loose any weight during the Fast because I don't exercise enough. But I really don't go hungry or get dizzy from lack of nourishment. I eat peanut butter, rice, textured vegetable protein (use it in vegan chili), bread, pickles, sauerkraut, oatmeal, almond milk, apples, cabbage, peppers, onions, beans etc.  I actually feel BETTER in the fast. I feel lighter, my joints don't hurt as much, and I seem to have more energy.  However, it took years of being Orthodox and experimenting with the fast and with food and recipes to find the right balance.  
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 07:31:10 PM »

Metropolitan Philip isn't the Pope of the Antiochian Church in America.  I find it troubling that we place so much emphasis on pronouncements such as these.  If the Bishops & Archbishops follow suit, great.  Otherwise...

This isn't supposed to turn into a Met. Philip discussion, nor am I attacking the OP, just expressing my concern.
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 08:45:59 PM »

With the grace-filled blessing of my Spiritual Father Protosyncellus Amphilochius once the hut dweller, now dwelling atop a pillar , I am having the turkey leftovers as i write this, may his prayers be with us now and always and unto the ages of ages.
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 09:49:13 PM »

But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 12:39:49 AM »

Metropolitan Philip isn't the Pope of the Antiochian Church in America.  I find it troubling that we place so much emphasis on pronouncements such as these.  If the Bishops & Archbishops follow suit, great.  Otherwise...

This isn't supposed to turn into a Met. Philip discussion, nor am I attacking the OP, just expressing my concern.

While he isn't the pope, technically, Metropolitan Philip is the only ruling bishop in the Antiochian Church in America. The rest are only auxiliaries, per the decision of the Synod of Antioch that only Archbishops and Metropolitans in the Church of Antioch are ruling bishops. So, his pronouncements carry all the weight that's really needed.

I don't mean to start anything about Met. Philip...just clarifying that the metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese is the only ruling bishop in that Archdiocese. This doesn't really have anything to do with him, anyway, as this is Patriarchate-wide (and not limited to Antioch, actually).

As for Thanksgiving, I've heard that many bishops and Synods in the US have made this dispensation. When Thanksgiving is used for the idea of getting together with family and remembering what we have and giving thanks to God, then it's beautiful. If it's just an excuse to eat and watch football then it loses its meaning.

As others have said, showing love towards visitors is very important. As a priest once pointed out to me, Christ did not say that he would ask about fasting and such during the Last Judgement, but how we treat others. Not to mention, we are told to "hide" our fasting as that should be between us and God. If we tell guests that we refuse to eat meat or refuse meat when visiting someone else because we're fasting, then our fasting has been negated.

Fasting is important, but not the most important. The spirit of the law is much more important than the letter.
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Tsavong Lah
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 12:57:10 AM »

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I am the only Orthodox Christian in my family, the rest remaining Protestant. They are, however, aware that I fast during certain times of the year, and when I come home from university for the holidays or during Lent, they are quite willing to work around the fasting guidelines when we eat together. They'll either cook normally and include Lenten food for me, or they'll occasionally just make a Lenten meal for everyone. This is how my family has always functioned—when someone would fast individually, as Protestants sometimes do, everyone else would accommodate. That seems right to me, and it seems like most Orthodox folks I know agree. So I guess I'm wondering why we generally attempt to follow the fast with one group (family) but are willing to break the fast with another group (friends, coworkers, &c.). Or, more specifically, what circumstances cause us to switch from following the fast to breaking the fast?

I ask mostly because I agree that there is a time to hold to the fast and a time to break it, but I'm trying to clarify for myself the reasons behind choosing one over the other.

(also, maybe this should have been in convert issues, but for this question the two categories seemed to overlap... sorry)
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2011, 12:58:38 AM »

Metropolitan Philip isn't the Pope of the Antiochian Church in America.  I find it troubling that we place so much emphasis on pronouncements such as these.  If the Bishops & Archbishops follow suit, great.  Otherwise...

This isn't supposed to turn into a Met. Philip discussion, nor am I attacking the OP, just expressing my concern.

While he isn't the pope, technically, Metropolitan Philip is the only ruling bishop in the Antiochian Church in America. The rest are only auxiliaries, per the decision of the Synod of Antioch that only Archbishops and Metropolitans in the Church of Antioch are ruling bishops. So, his pronouncements carry all the weight that's really needed.

Ridiculously un-canonical (or not), that's a good point. Agreed with the rest of your post as well.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 12:07:12 AM »

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I am the only Orthodox Christian in my family, the rest remaining Protestant. They are, however, aware that I fast during certain times of the year, and when I come home from university for the holidays or during Lent, they are quite willing to work around the fasting guidelines when we eat together. They'll either cook normally and include Lenten food for me, or they'll occasionally just make a Lenten meal for everyone. This is how my family has always functioned—when someone would fast individually, as Protestants sometimes do, everyone else would accommodate. That seems right to me, and it seems like most Orthodox folks I know agree. So I guess I'm wondering why we generally attempt to follow the fast with one group (family) but are willing to break the fast with another group (friends, coworkers, &c.). Or, more specifically, what circumstances cause us to switch from following the fast to breaking the fast?

I ask mostly because I agree that there is a time to hold to the fast and a time to break it, but I'm trying to clarify for myself the reasons behind choosing one over the other.

(also, maybe this should have been in convert issues, but for this question the two categories seemed to overlap... sorry)

Based on what I've read and been taught, if you tell someone "I can't eat that, I'm fasting" when offered food, you've might as well have never been fasting. It is not something to be proud of or to flaunt. My mom's relatives know she fasts on Wednesdays & Fridays and will not typically offer us meat on those days. But, if they do and there's no way to avoid it without being obvious, we'll eat it. It's better to break the fast than risk boasting or letting others know of our fasting. It's also that hospitality thing. We don't want to refuse their generosity and we also don't want them to go out of their way to accomodate us. So, it's better to just break the fast, enjoy their hospitality and move on. Now, if you're at a restaurant, then it's your choice what you eat and no one needs to know why you chose a salad or fish (depending on your level of fasting). Fasting in Orthodoxy is too broad and there is no rulebook. There's no rule to break, really (well...maybe for monastics).
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 01:09:38 AM »

I was told that the practice of relaxing the Advent Fast for Thanksgiving goes back St. Tikhon, and was a practice that went back before Metropolitan Antony Bashir.  So, any pronouncement from Metropolitan Philip would be a reiteration of a longer practice.  The Arab community in the US has had a much longer history in the US than just the 1960's.
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2011, 07:49:40 AM »

Just another reason the Julian Calendar works for me...no dispensation necessary  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2011, 09:39:52 AM »

Just another reason the Julian Calendar works for me...no dispensation necessary  Grin
Until 2013. Then you might want to switch to the Canadian calendar  Roll Eyes.
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2011, 12:04:30 PM »

Just another reason the Julian Calendar works for me...no dispensation necessary  Grin
Until 2013. Then you might want to switch to the Canadian calendar  Roll Eyes.
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