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Author Topic: Fasting question...  (Read 1886 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: February 20, 2012, 12:41:03 AM »

Say it's right in the middle of Lent and youre fasting from meat. Someone who isnt fasting invites you over for dinner and they serve you steak.  Since fasting is something personal and you aren't supposed to announce or make it known that you are doing it, would it be better to just eat the steak than to tell them you're fasting and turn it down? It seems like it might a) be rude to decline a meal someone prepared for you and b) put the emphasis on yourself by announcing your fast.

Just curious about your thoughts on this...
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 01:07:30 AM »

Ok cool. Just wanted to double check. That definitely makes sense for the sake of humility and not elevating yourself. 
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 01:08:43 AM »

Ok cool. Just wanted to double check. That definitely makes sense for the sake of humility and not elevating yourself. 

And sparing your brother's feelings.

By the way, any answer to the effect that you should politely or otherwise refuse the steak is yiayia theology.
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 01:45:27 AM »

There was a man who was leading an ascetic life and not eating bread. He went to visit an old man. It happened that pilgrims also dropped by, and the old man fixed a modest meal for them. When they sat together to eat, the brother who was fasting picked up a single soaked pea and chewed it. When they arose from the table, the old man took the brother aside and said: "Brother, when you go to visit somewhere, do not display your way of life, but if you want to keep to it, stay in your cell and never come out."

-- Apothegmata Patrum
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 02:45:28 AM »

I was taught hospitality is more important than fasting.

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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 02:47:46 AM »

I recall a story from the Desert Fathers, of one old monk who had taken a younger monk with him to visit someone, and they were offered food.  They ate, even though it not only was before the time that they would have normally eaten, but the food itself broke the fast, regardless of the time it was served.  As they were walking back to their cell, the younger monk stopped by a river to get a drink, and was promptly berated by the older monk telling him that you are not to refuse hospitality, but when you are by yourself, do not break the fast just because you are weak.  I think the moral of the story is, if you are at someone's house, and they offer food or a drink that violate the fast, don't refuse because of your fast, because you might as well have told them "I am fasting.  I fast from dairy and meat during lent." as such can lead to sinful thoughts either on your part or theirs.

Now, if - during the fast - you are invited to the house of someone who you have reason to believe will serve non-fasting food (say, they are a normal meat-eating non-Orthodox), if you accept the invitation, you have no right to then claim (when you are at their house), "I can't eat your non-fasting food."  You have put yourself in the position to.  If you care so much about the fast that you are willing to offend people by refusing their hospitality, and by necessity also informing them of the nature of your fast, it is better for you to simply decline the invitation.
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 10:45:10 AM »

There was a man who was leading an ascetic life and not eating bread. He went to visit an old man. It happened that pilgrims also dropped by, and the old man fixed a modest meal for them. When they sat together to eat, the brother who was fasting picked up a single soaked pea and chewed it. When they arose from the table, the old man took the brother aside and said: "Brother, when you go to visit somewhere, do not display your way of life, but if you want to keep to it, stay in your cell and never come out."

-- Apothegmata Patrum

That is awesome.
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 02:06:29 PM »

Thanks everyone.  And this is just a hypothetical question by the way.  I dont know that this situation will happen.  I just got to thinking about it and wasnt sure what would be the right thing to do.
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 06:42:41 PM »

The Lenten fast is actually longer than 40 days, because we do not count Sundays. Further, there is Cheese Week prior to Clean Week, in which we are currently...no meat is to be eaten during this time. Then, Holy Week is added at the end of Lent (not as part of it) and should be as strict if not more so than Clean Week. From Clean Monday until Pascha we abstain from all animal products, allowing only wine and oil on some weekends. Annunciation and Palm Sunday allow fish. I do know the rubrices of the Fast...please do not insult me.

Your point is correct, but actually we do count Sundays. It's 40 days from Clean Monday to Friday before Lazarus Saturday. We don't count the days of Holy Week. (I'm told the western churches do the opposite, which is why their Lent begins on a Wednesday.)

So yes, it is 48 days of fasting, plus the Cheesefare Week as you described it. It took me several years of counting and re-counting to figure out how you get 40 days  Tongue.
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 07:26:07 PM »

People no less hardcore and unquestionably orthodox than the Desert Fathers have already answered Timon's question for us.
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2012, 07:34:12 PM »

People no less hardcore and unquestionably orthodox than the Desert Fathers have already answered Timon's question for us.

You da man!!!  laugh laugh laugh
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2012, 07:36:00 PM »

People no less hardcore and unquestionably orthodox than the Desert Fathers have already answered Timon's question for us.

Yes, but those saintly men could not have been close to God because they advised others to break the fast...

Oh, wait a second...
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2012, 07:51:16 PM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2012, 08:07:06 PM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

Delphine, is your non-Orthodox family religious? My non-Orthodox, but pious, relatives have long accepted that my declining an invitation to celebrate Easter with them is not intended as a slight.
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2012, 09:59:32 PM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

Delphine, is your non-Orthodox family religious? My non-Orthodox, but pious, relatives have long accepted that my declining an invitation to celebrate Easter with them is not intended as a slight.

They're Catholic. I think the very idea of celebrating Easter on a different date would be taken as a slight, especially if that meant that I couldn't celebrate with them. They're very sensitive to anything that could be seen as pulling away from the family.

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2012, 11:21:00 PM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

Delphine, is your non-Orthodox family religious? My non-Orthodox, but pious, relatives have long accepted that my declining an invitation to celebrate Easter with them is not intended as a slight.

They're Catholic. I think the very idea of celebrating Easter on a different date would be taken as a slight, especially if that meant that I couldn't celebrate with them. They're very sensitive to anything that could be seen as pulling away from the family.

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.

Im reading it now.  My plan was to actually finish it before Lent begins, but I dont know if Ill have time.  Im actually still following the western calendar for this year, but hopefully that will change soon!

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012, 11:44:16 PM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

Delphine, is your non-Orthodox family religious? My non-Orthodox, but pious, relatives have long accepted that my declining an invitation to celebrate Easter with them is not intended as a slight.

They're Catholic. I think the very idea of celebrating Easter on a different date would be taken as a slight, especially if that meant that I couldn't celebrate with them. They're very sensitive to anything that could be seen as pulling away from the family.

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.

Thanks, Second Chance. I'll have to get the book. Would this still be good advice after entering the Orthodox Church? A big part of my ambivalence toward Orthodoxy is due to breaking from my family, actually. Hurting them would be unavoidable if I convert, but I want to hurt them as little as possible.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2012, 11:52:40 PM »

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.

Im reading it now.  My plan was to actually finish it before Lent begins, but I dont know if Ill have time.  Im actually still following the western calendar for this year, but hopefully that will change soon!

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2012, 12:02:59 AM »

 We know that the Lord Himself fasted for forty days before He began His public ministry; that Moses, the holy God-seer, fasted also for forty days on Mt. Sinai before he was allowed to see God, receive from Him the Law, and present it to the children of Israel; and that the holy prophet Elias fasted for forty days on Mt. Horeb before he encountered God in the "still small voice" (III Kings 19:12) and proceeded from there to carry out God's commands.
^
^
What would they do if in the same situation as the op gave?

I (think) i see what you all are saying but instead of trying to prove me wrong do you see what I'm saying?
I will say it as clearly as i can:
The flesh and blood human is week and his mind plays tricks on him. its so easy to give yourself a way out, to rationalize something, to see the easiest way and adopt it as correct.

This is what i think you are saying:
We should break the fast if someone offers you hospitality in the form of a steak. You say break the fast in order to not offend or make them feel bad, that is the Christian thing to do.

What I'm saying is be carfull, that's the easy way out. and your mind brain devil will use that .
You could inform them before hand you don't eat meat. You can decline the offer to attend, you can take the steak on your plate cut it up but eat only the side stuff or hide it under your mashed potatoes.

The desert fathers were NOT teaching the masses, what you quoted was from there life.
You cant pick and choose to follow what they said in the given examples above and not the rest.
So if you follow the example of breaking the fast for kindness to your host, you should also follow there cell rule, poverty, ascetic lifestyle, celibacy...

All these aspects of there life eventually give you the strength to discern when and if you should break your fast.

What you are suggesting is like reading a book Tarzan wrote on how to train a tiger and then going out and trying it yourself.
Not a good idea you don't have the life experience that Tarzan has (ie: desert fathers) living in the jungle (monasticism)with the wild animals.

Try it and you will end up a steak dinner for the tiger.

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« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2012, 01:28:27 AM »

Watering down?
James and I quoted the Desert Fathers in favour of our position.
It doesn't get much more hardcore than the Desert Fathers ...

I do not believe that the Desert Fathers favor your position. I would posit that the situation described is specific for monastics but I would accept the possibility that this applies between Orthodox adherents as well. In my neck of the woods any invite for dinner I receive would not be from Orthodox Christians and with some significant probability would be from someone who is an atheist or agnostic. This is a different situation from what the Desert Fathers describe and the response to the invite should be different.

People no less hardcore and unquestionably orthodox than the Desert Fathers have already answered Timon's question for us.
They are but they haven't  (practicing my Ialmisry-style response, so the appropriate thing to do is just ignore the empty rhetoric).

Getting back to the question at hand. My response to an invitation is that I am fasting for Lent. Generally I would finagle into participating in the the preparation of dinner but this is not the point. This is my opportunity to express who I am and what I believe in response the questions that I receive. I am not going to give up the usual multi-hour-long philosophical conversation that ensues based on etiquette that is irrelevant. In my opinion this is the situation where you should be a witness to your faith to those that are clueless.

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

My opinion would be to celebrate Easter with them with great joy and to love them dearly. If my situation is any example, they will, eventually, in their love for you, accept and respect your fast during their feast.

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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2012, 01:43:21 AM »

Thank you, Opus118. I appreciate your response and agree with it.  But to avoid the drama altogether, I just decline dinner invites during Lenten periods and reschedule them for a later date. Although there are exceptions. My sister and I share birthdays in December and it means a lot to my family to celebrate them by taking us to our shared favorite restaurant. It would do irreperable harm to my relationship with my sister and my parents, not to mention their view of Orthodoxy, if I refused their invitation, as this is a tradition that predates my conversion to Orthodoxy by many years. Also, the fast is broken on December 25th, to celebrate NC Christmas with my family for the same above cited reasons.
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2012, 01:54:45 AM »

BTW, you do recognize that Timon is merely an inquirer who hasn't even made a decision yet to convert and that this thread is, for right now, on the Convert Issues board? If he's not Orthodox yet, is he bound to follow our fasting rules even when he's NOT a guest in someone's home? Without the guidance of an Orthodox spiritual elder and the grace to be received from the Holy Mysteries, your counsel that he follow the Fast strictly could be very destructive to his soul and could drive him away from the Church.

I don't think any would disagree with this.  Should Timon decide to pursue entrance into the Church, however, he should follow the fast prescribed by his priest, not those recommended by OC.net, be they lax or strict.
You won't see me disagreeing with that. Grin
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 06:00:49 AM »

Thank you, Opus118. I appreciate your response and agree with it.  But to avoid the drama altogether, I just decline dinner invites during Lenten periods and reschedule them for a later date. Although there are exceptions. My sister and I share birthdays in December and it means a lot to my family to celebrate them by taking us to our shared favorite restaurant. It would do irreperable harm to my relationship with my sister and my parents, not to mention their view of Orthodoxy, if I refused their invitation, as this is a tradition that predates my conversion to Orthodoxy by many years. Also, the fast is broken on December 25th, to celebrate NC Christmas with my family for the same above cited reasons.

This also applies, to an extent, to Opus' post.  I just want to say that I do agree with what you've said.  As I said in my own post, if you accept an invitation to dinner at a house you have reason to believe will not serve a Lenten meal, you have already made a decision to break the fast, and you have no right to then demand Lenten food, once you arrive at the house. 
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 09:08:03 AM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

Delphine, is your non-Orthodox family religious? My non-Orthodox, but pious, relatives have long accepted that my declining an invitation to celebrate Easter with them is not intended as a slight.

They're Catholic. I think the very idea of celebrating Easter on a different date would be taken as a slight, especially if that meant that I couldn't celebrate with them. They're very sensitive to anything that could be seen as pulling away from the family.

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.

Im reading it now.  My plan was to actually finish it before Lent begins, but I dont know if Ill have time.  Im actually still following the western calendar for this year, but hopefully that will change soon!

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

If you are talking about celebrating Easter in your current Church, don't worry about it and try to turn Orthodox style preparation for Easter to your spiritual advantage. Intensified praying, fasting, participating in church services and alms giving never hurt anyone. Western Easter will be celebrated on April 8th and Orthodox Easter will be on April 15th. You could, if there is an Orthodox Church nearby, attend Holy Week and Pascha (Easter) services. Now, I grant you that it would be weird for an Orthodox to do so because we do celebrate Bright Week (the week after Pascha) much more than the heterodox churches do. OTOH, if your church does not have intensive Great Lent, Holy Week and Paschal services, I would encourage you to "come and see."
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 09:12:46 AM »

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.

Im reading it now.  My plan was to actually finish it before Lent begins, but I dont know if Ill have time.  Im actually still following the western calendar for this year, but hopefully that will change soon!

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.

Actually, all Orthodox (Old or New Calendar) celebrate Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, at the same time. The difference comes with fixed-date feasts, such as Christmas; in this case, New Calendar Orthodox observe it at the same actual day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. But, in my experience in the United States, community support means support of your local parish.
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2012, 09:17:45 AM »

What about in the case of family, where they know you're Orthodox and that you follow a strict fast? If I become Orthodox, and Pascha doesn't coincide with Easter, my family would be heartbroken if I could not participate in their Easter celebrations--and that includes my family spending hours in the kitchen preparing a non-Lenten feast. They would know that I fast, but rejecting the feast would still be very painful to them. Not visiting during this time would also hurt them.

Delphine, is your non-Orthodox family religious? My non-Orthodox, but pious, relatives have long accepted that my declining an invitation to celebrate Easter with them is not intended as a slight.

They're Catholic. I think the very idea of celebrating Easter on a different date would be taken as a slight, especially if that meant that I couldn't celebrate with them. They're very sensitive to anything that could be seen as pulling away from the family.

I see that you are ambivalent about being Eastern Orthodox. For all that I know you may be a member of the Roman Catholic church who is inquiring about Orthodoxy. One of the things that differentiates us is Orthodoxy's less legalistic, less concrete approach and an emphasis on a loving God. That being the case, loving your family and not hurting their feelings, particularly at this phase of your life, is very important. Fasting ultimately is about self-denial and not refusing to eat non-Lenten food that is prepared for you is also a form of self-denial IMO (You are sacrificing following the rules in order to please your family).

Let's review what Father Schmemann said in his book Great Lent, probably the best book on this subject: "How far are we now from the usual understanding of fasting as a mere change of diet,as what is permitted and what is forbidden, from all that superficial hypocrisy! Ultimately, to fast means only one thing: to be hungry..." (pages 96-97). I would urge you to read this book for in it you will find that fasting is but a part of the Lenten style of life. Whether you become Orthodox or not, you will become a better Christian.

Thanks, Second Chance. I'll have to get the book. Would this still be good advice after entering the Orthodox Church? A big part of my ambivalence toward Orthodoxy is due to breaking from my family, actually. Hurting them would be unavoidable if I convert, but I want to hurt them as little as possible.

Once you become Orthodox, you will have to pay less attention to Internet correspondents and much more so to your spiritual father.  Smiley  However, my answer is yes, it would equally important if not more important to be considerate of your heterodox family. I have a feeling that you are a smart, considerate and loving person, and I am confident that you will find a way to hurt them as little as possible.
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2012, 10:07:57 AM »

The OC.net is a community that spans Orthodox jurisdictions, continents, and all levels of orthopraxis in the Church. While it is an excellent place to start an inquirey into the faith or discuss Theolougumen or meet with men and women who wish a stimulating discussion of the Orthodox Church and its beliefs, I believe that when you look at the advice from its moderators, you will find they all will recommend that in matters of faith and practice (not Theolugemen) you consult your spiritual father and priest as the final resource .

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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2012, 10:45:40 AM »

BTW, you do recognize that Timon is merely an inquirer who hasn't even made a decision yet to convert and that this thread is, for right now, on the Convert Issues board? If he's not Orthodox yet, is he bound to follow our fasting rules even when he's NOT a guest in someone's home? Without the guidance of an Orthodox spiritual elder and the grace to be received from the Holy Mysteries, your counsel that he follow the Fast strictly could be very destructive to his soul and could drive him away from the Church.

I don't think any would disagree with this.  Should Timon decide to pursue entrance into the Church, however, he should follow the fast prescribed by his priest, not those recommended by OC.net, be they lax or strict.

For what it is worth, my priests strongly recommended that I not try to keep the Church's fasts, until after I decided to convert.

Even though I am not Orthodox, this certainly isnt the first time I have fasted for Lent.  When you say "fast prescribed by his Priest" does that mean in Orthodoxy the Priest will decide what you will fast from? Im used to giving up meat, and maybe something else on top of that like soft drinks, but I guess even my Anglican fasts arent as strict as Orthodox fasts.
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2012, 11:08:31 AM »

That is not the situation that has been put to us, though.

I went back to the OP and I can see your point. If one has already accepted the invitation my post is not relevant.
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2012, 11:50:26 AM »

This topic has been split to follow the split topic please go to the Faith Issues Forum under the topic Fasting Discussion.

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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2012, 12:21:58 PM »

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.

Actually, all Orthodox (Old or New Calendar) celebrate Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, at the same time. The difference comes with fixed-date feasts, such as Christmas; in this case, New Calendar Orthodox observe it at the same actual day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. But, in my experience in the United States, community support means support of your local parish.

Everything you said is what I meant to say. Smiley I was thinking outside of the Paschal season, trying to draw a comparison to how people on different calendars within the Orthodox Church can have different fasting seasons, but I guess I wasn't very clear.


Thanks Opus and Second Chance for your thoughts on my situation. Of course I would also ask my priest if I convert, but I still like to hear how other people would handle it.
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2012, 12:26:15 PM »

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.

Actually, all Orthodox (Old or New Calendar) celebrate Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, at the same time. The difference comes with fixed-date feasts, such as Christmas; in this case, New Calendar Orthodox observe it at the same actual day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. But, in my experience in the United States, community support means support of your local parish.

Everything you said is what I meant to say. Smiley I was thinking outside of the Paschal season, trying to draw a comparison to how people on different calendars within the Orthodox Church can have different fasting seasons, but I guess I wasn't very clear.


Thanks Opus and Second Chance for your thoughts on my situation. Of course I would also ask my priest if I convert, but I still like to hear how other people would handle it.

So wait.... New calendar Orthodox celebrate Easter the same as RCs and protestants?
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2012, 12:30:55 PM »

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.

Actually, all Orthodox (Old or New Calendar) celebrate Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, at the same time. The difference comes with fixed-date feasts, such as Christmas; in this case, New Calendar Orthodox observe it at the same actual day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. But, in my experience in the United States, community support means support of your local parish.

Everything you said is what I meant to say. Smiley I was thinking outside of the Paschal season, trying to draw a comparison to how people on different calendars within the Orthodox Church can have different fasting seasons, but I guess I wasn't very clear.


Thanks Opus and Second Chance for your thoughts on my situation. Of course I would also ask my priest if I convert, but I still like to hear how other people would handle it.

So wait.... New calendar Orthodox celebrate Easter the same as RCs and protestants?

No. I guess I'm still being confusing, lol. But for other feasts and fasts in the Orthodox Church you follow your home parish, so I'd think that if your current parish is an Anglo-Catholic one, the same principle would apply. Follow the calendar of your parish, even though it's Western.
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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2012, 12:44:07 PM »

Even though I am not Orthodox, this certainly isnt the first time I have fasted for Lent.  When you say "fast prescribed by his Priest" does that mean in Orthodoxy the Priest will decide what you will fast from? Im used to giving up meat, and maybe something else on top of that like soft drinks, but I guess even my Anglican fasts arent as strict as Orthodox fasts.

Dude, they aren't even in the same league! Generally, Orthodox abstain from meat, dairy, eggs, fish and oil during Lent. The attitude is totally different though. It's not a matter of "giving up" something that you enjoy, but rather putting yourself into training, as if you decided to run a marathon.
When people talk about a "fast prescribed by his priest," you have to remember that our priests or spiritual fathers are our spiritual doctors - they may decide that for your spiritual or physical health, the fast must be modified for you personally.
This happened to my husband who is an insulin-dependent diabetic. Our priest modified the fast for him, taking into consideration his health.
(Btw, our priest recommends that we turn off the tv during Lent (surprisingly difficult) and read only spiritually edifying books.)
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2012, 01:12:45 PM »

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.

Actually, all Orthodox (Old or New Calendar) celebrate Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, at the same time. The difference comes with fixed-date feasts, such as Christmas; in this case, New Calendar Orthodox observe it at the same actual day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. But, in my experience in the United States, community support means support of your local parish.

Everything you said is what I meant to say. Smiley I was thinking outside of the Paschal season, trying to draw a comparison to how people on different calendars within the Orthodox Church can have different fasting seasons, but I guess I wasn't very clear.


Thanks Opus and Second Chance for your thoughts on my situation. Of course I would also ask my priest if I convert, but I still like to hear how other people would handle it.

So wait.... New calendar Orthodox celebrate Easter the same as RCs and protestants?
Are you replying to what Second Chance posted above? If so, you may wish to read his post again, for he answers your question pretty clearly.
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« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2012, 02:04:27 PM »

Im scared to try the eastern calendar as I would literally be all by myself.  I know about 4 people who are Orthodox and im not particularly close to any of them.

Makes sense to me. I think you should probably fast and feast with whatever church you regularly attend, so that you'd have that community support. That seems to be how Orthodox churches on different calendars manage, in any case.

Actually, all Orthodox (Old or New Calendar) celebrate Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, at the same time. The difference comes with fixed-date feasts, such as Christmas; in this case, New Calendar Orthodox observe it at the same actual day as the Roman Catholics and Protestants. But, in my experience in the United States, community support means support of your local parish.

Everything you said is what I meant to say. Smiley I was thinking outside of the Paschal season, trying to draw a comparison to how people on different calendars within the Orthodox Church can have different fasting seasons, but I guess I wasn't very clear.


Thanks Opus and Second Chance for your thoughts on my situation. Of course I would also ask my priest if I convert, but I still like to hear how other people would handle it.

So wait.... New calendar Orthodox celebrate Easter the same as RCs and protestants?
Are you replying to what Second Chance posted above? If so, you may wish to read his post again, for he answers your question pretty clearly.

 i was, but I misread it. i got it now.
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2012, 02:10:21 PM »

sweets and soft drinks are a lenten staple. Tongue Really doesn't make much sense though. I've a feeling if they had those when they drew up the fasting requirements we wouldn't be allowed to eat them either. Personally, I wish they gave up the allowance for shrimp/lobster/crab etc. as well, because it is basically pointless for us to be allowed to eat such an expensive and luxurious food.
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« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2012, 05:46:58 PM »

We often try to second guess the church fathers why certain canons and church traditions have evolved---we probably should not do that. If it bothers you to eat shimp, lobster, clams etc then don't and donate the funds for it to the poor.

May I suggest that your line of questioning the fasting rules of the church is better done not on the Convert Issues Forum , you may want to participate in the Faith issues topic "Fasting Discussion" to discuss the fasting rules and any need for change.

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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2012, 09:21:25 PM »

From Vespers for Sunday evening (Sunday of Forgiveness); Vespers for Monday and Tuesday in the first week (Triodion)

"As we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion. . .
Let us observe a fast acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.
True fasting is to put away all evil,
To control the tongue, to forbear from anger,
To abstain from lust, slander, falsehood and perjury.
If we renounce these things, then is our fasting true and acceptable to God.
Let us keep the Fast not only by refraining from food,
But by becoming strangers to all the bodily passions."
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« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2012, 09:23:10 PM »

From Vespers for Saturday evening (Sunday of the Last Judgement).

"Knowing the commandments of the Lord, let this be our way of life:
Let us feed the hungry, let us give the thirsty drink,
Let us clothe the naked, let us welcome strangers,
Let us visit those in prison and the sick.
Then the Judge of all the earth will say even to us:
'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you.'"
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« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2012, 09:26:07 PM »

From Matins for the Sunday of the Last Judgement; Vespers for Sunday evening (Sunday of Orthodoxy).

"Consider well, my soul: dost thou fast? Then despise not thy neighbor.
Dost thou abstain from food? Condemn not thy brother.
Come, let us cleanse ourselves by almsgiving and acts of mercy to the poor,
Not sounding a trumpet or making a show of our charity.
Let not our left hand know what our right hand is doing;
Let not vainglory scatter the fruit of our almsgiving;
But in secret let us call on Him that knows all secrets:
Father, forgive us our trespasses, for Thou lovest mankind."
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« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2012, 09:31:17 PM »

One final one: from Matins of First or Clean Monday.

"With joy let us enter upon the beginning of the Fast.
Let us not be of sad countenance. . . .
Let us joyfully begin the all-hallowed season of abstinence;
And let us shine with the bright radiance of the holy commandments. . . .
All mortal life is but one day, so it is said,
To those who labor with love.
There are forty days in the Fast;
Let us keep them all with joy."

All of the above came from "The True Nature Of Fasting" By Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos Ware, published at http://www.orthodoxnotes.com/meaning-of-lent/the-true-nature-of-fasting
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