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Author Topic: Feasts and fasting  (Read 854 times) Average Rating: 0
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jerry
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« on: August 14, 2012, 09:37:42 PM »

Feasts and fasting, as I'm ashamed to say, is somewhat new to me after just converting to Orthodoxy from Protestantism.  Can anyone recommend ad website or a document that not only gives me a calendar of feasts and fasts but also what I can and cannot do when fasting.
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 09:49:02 PM »

Some articles...

Fasting & Fast-Free Seasons of the Church
The Rule of Fasting in the Orthodox Church
The Fasting Rule of the Orthodox Church
On Fasting

Calendars can be bought from most orthodox book stores, such as Light N Life, St. John of Kronstadt Press, Eastern Christian Supply Company, etc.  Many parishes also have online calendars now as well.
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 09:53:20 PM »

Feasts and fasting, as I'm ashamed to say, is somewhat new to me after just converting to Orthodoxy from Protestantism.  Can anyone recommend ad website or a document that not only gives me a calendar of feasts and fasts but also what I can and cannot do when fasting.

Here is a calendar, if you're in a Rum/Greek church (Antiochian, Greek)

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/calendar/

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 09:54:09 PM »

Feasts and fasting, as I'm ashamed to say, is somewhat new to me after just converting to Orthodoxy from Protestantism.  Can anyone recommend ad website or a document that not only gives me a calendar of feasts and fasts but also what I can and cannot do when fasting.

Do you have a Smart Phone? If so, these Orthodox Apps can help you. If not, you can download a Meologion at http://www.orthodox.cn/software/index.html
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 09:56:54 PM »

You should really ask your priest about what to do. He will probably tell you not to do too much.
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 10:08:15 PM »

This didn't come up when you were a catechumen?  Somewhat rhetorical; don't answer if you don't wish to.

Aside from the apps, websites, and calendars, it's probably a good idea to run this one by your priest.
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 10:15:44 PM »

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This didn't come up when you were a catechumen?

I'm still a catechumen.  My priest isn't great about being available for questions and he may or may not answer email.  Nobody has really sat down to talk to me much.  My priest mentioned doing catechumen classes but they haven't happened.  He did say that he's using topics in Wednesday night Bible studies to talk about much of whats in catechumen classes.  The only thing about that format is that it doesn't give me much of an opportunity to ask questions.  I've done some research on the web but I just wasn't sure what I could trust.
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 03:02:05 AM »

Quote
This didn't come up when you were a catechumen?

I'm still a catechumen.  My priest isn't great about being available for questions and he may or may not answer email.  Nobody has really sat down to talk to me much.  My priest mentioned doing catechumen classes but they haven't happened.  He did say that he's using topics in Wednesday night Bible studies to talk about much of whats in catechumen classes.  The only thing about that format is that it doesn't give me much of an opportunity to ask questions.  I've done some research on the web but I just wasn't sure what I could trust.

My apologies, Jerry.  Thanks for explaining the context of your question.  I hope the links and articles provided help you out with this, and that your priest gets time to do the catechumen classes.  Keep us updated and fire away with other questions you have.

Regarding how stringently you should follow the Church's fasting guidelines? I really can't comment other than from my own experience.  Perhaps some of clergy on here could shoot you a PM with some guidance.
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 08:54:08 PM »

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My apologies, Jerry.  Thanks for explaining the context of your question.  I hope the links and articles provided help you out with this, and that your priest gets time to do the catechumen classes.  Keep us updated and fire away with other questions you have.

Regarding how stringently you should follow the Church's fasting guidelines? I really can't comment other than from my own experience.  Perhaps some of clergy on here could shoot you a PM with some guidance.

No worries and thank you.  I found a retired member of the clergy in my church whom I've started discussion with.  He's beginning to be quick to reply to my questions and has been very helpful.
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 09:03:48 PM »

Feasts and fasting, as I'm ashamed to say, is somewhat new to me after just converting to Orthodoxy from Protestantism.  Can anyone recommend ad website or a document that not only gives me a calendar of feasts and fasts but also what I can and cannot do when fasting.

I'm in the OCA and I use the icon calendar here. My church orders them every year. It gives feast/fast days along with daily scripture readings and saints.
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 09:14:24 PM »

Quote
I'm in the OCA and I use the icon calendar here. My church orders them every year. It gives feast/fast days along with daily scripture readings and saints.

Do those calendars say what you can and what you cannot eat?
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2012, 09:53:57 PM »

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I'm in the OCA and I use the icon calendar here. My church orders them every year. It gives feast/fast days along with daily scripture readings and saints.

Do those calendars say what you can and what you cannot eat?

It doesn't have a page dedicated to explaining the fasting rules, but all the fast days are colored pink and it does say when wine and oil are allowed, fish wine and oil are allowed, fish wine oil and dairy are allowed, and which days are strict fast days.

Your basic fasting guidelines are no meat, fish, dairy, wine, or oil on fasting days. Shellfish is allowed and so is the use of vegan forms of protein. The calendar will say if an allowance is made for something not normally allowed. On days labeled "strict", nothing is eaten until 3 pm. You should really talk to someone you know and trust for guidance on how strictly you should keep the rules. Especially starting out, I would suggest just observing the feast/fast days in some form without getting too hung up on the rules, but I also suggest getting advice from someone you know and trust.
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2012, 03:31:13 AM »

You should really talk to someone you know and trust for guidance on how strictly you should keep the rules. Especially starting out, I would suggest just observing the feast/fast days in some form without getting too hung up on the rules, but I also suggest getting advice from someone you know and trust.

I second this. I started trying to keep the fasts far too strictly when I started and ended up being told to stop by both my wife and my priest. The advice I was given was to stop reading labels (I'd spend ages searching them looking for olive oil for instance), to definitely not keep to the strict one meal a day if I was working and that the most important thing was not strict adherence to the rules of what was and was not appropriate but to make sure that it was a fast and not a diet (i.e. pray more and not simply eat less). I now (over a decade on) have no particular difficulty keeping the fasts strictly but it took time and a lot of listening to advice from those who know better.

James
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2012, 06:27:53 AM »

top tip:
also speak with your family and take it slowly.
maybe fast from tv, computer games etc to start with (something that won't affect family meal times and will get u used to giving up some nice distraction, maybe to even spend more time with the family as well as to have more time to pray).

if u do start fasting and the family doesn't follow, then try these recipes so u can cook for the family and still fast.
http://tasbeha.org/content/community/index.php/topic,7779.msg101471.html#msg101471

if u are not the one doing most of the cooking, then this may have to change if u start fasting!
 Wink
may God guide u, and take it a bit at a time (this really helps with keeping the family harmonious)
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2012, 06:49:47 PM »

Great resources thus far, I recommend them. Also OP, since your tag says "OCA", know that St. Tikhon's Seminary Press puts out a wall calendar every year, and many parishes buy them in bulk (STS Press will even put their personalized parish info on the tab for them). Your parish may do this. If not, it might be a suggestion. I love this calendar, since it gives you the Liturgy readings for the day, the major saints of the day (and feasts) and marks fasting days, including saying when days are wine/oil, fish/wine/oil or strict fast (all as opposed to a "regular" fast day).

But, to give you a quick run-down of fasting guidelines:

Orthodox Christians fast, generally, from all meats (including fish) and animal products (cheese, eggs, milk, etc.) as well as oil and wine. This is what we usually mean when we say a day is a "fast" day. What the latter two (oil and wine) actually mean is different. Some refrain from olive oil but use other oils, some from all oils, some from just cooking with oil, etc. Likewise, some will refrain only from wine and others from both wine and liquors. Beer is generally permitted in moderated quantities (e.g., only one, maybe two, bottles/cans/glasses).

This type of fast is always observed on a "fasting" day...generally. Sometimes a fast is "relaxed" or "mitigated"...more on that later. This is the standard fast we keep on just about every Wednesday and Friday of the year. Wednesday remembers the betrayal of Christ, and Friday the crucifixion.

There are also four SEASONS of fasting, wherein fasting rules are applied to all days during the season. These four are:

Great and Holy Lent: 40 days, and is broken at Pascha. This is the strictest fasting season. wine and oil are permitted on weekends, and the Annunciation (March 25) and Palm Sunday (Sunday before Pascha) allow fish, wine and oil.

Nativity/Advent/St. Philip Fast: November 15 to December 24, 40 days before Christmas (or "Nativity") This is a very relaxed fast. Fish, wine and oil are permitted on most/all weekends and wine oil on some weekdays. This varies greatly based on local tradition.

Dormition Fast: August 1-August 14. Two weeks before the Dormition of the Theotokos. This is the second strictest fast of the year, allowing wine/oil on weekends. fish, wine and oil are permitted on the Transfiguration (Aug. 6th).

Apostles'/Ss. Peter and Paul Fast: From the Monday after All Saints until Ss. Peter and Paul (June 29). The length of this fast varies, since All Saints Day is determined by the date of Pascha. This is the least strict fast. Fish, wine and oil are permitted on weekends and wine/oil on most weekdays. On the New Calendar, this fast sometimes disappears completely (i.e., All Saints can fall after June 29th).

There are also some special days of fasting. For example, the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Aug. 29) and the Exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14) are always STRICT fast days...meaning one lenten meal (i.e., with the diet restrictions above) is taken. Strict fast is also observed on the Dec. 25 and Jan. 5, the eves of Christmas and Theophany, respectively. This is most likely because these days have Vesperal Liturgies, meaning that communicats observe the Eucharistic fast until evening. Which brings up...

The Eucharistic fast. This is a total fast (no food or drink...even water) from midnight until the time one communes. Of course, many dispensations are given for those who need them (e.g., those with dietary needs, especially pregnant and nursing mothers, diabetics, those who have to take morning medications etc.).

I hope that quick rundown is useful for you. I highly recommend reading the above links and regularly consulting an Orthodox calendar that details the fasting requirements for a given day! God bless.
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« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2012, 07:39:39 PM »

@Benjamin the Red

Very informative.  Thank you!
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2012, 07:30:12 AM »

Beer is generally permitted in moderated quantities (e.g., only one, maybe two, bottles/cans/glasses).

To my understanding beer is only generally permitted in Slav practice. It certainly isn't the norm for us. For us wine means all alcohol and I'm pretty sure that was the case with the Greeks also. I also tend to notice that it's in Slav practice where one is mostly likely to sea olive oil equated to all oils, whereas the rest of us would more normally consider it olive oil only. I'm sure there are variations both within and outside of Slav practice too, but it's always struck me that that's where the differences are most noticeable.

James
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