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Author Topic: Fasting in the Coptic Tradition  (Read 1568 times) Average Rating: 0
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Brigid of Kildare
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« on: February 23, 2003, 06:17:05 PM »

I've noticed in messages from another list some reference to a Fast of Jonah and wondered how fasting in the Coptic tradition differs from the Russian/Greek. Am I right in thinking that the Copts fast for longer?

In Christ,

Brigid
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2003, 09:11:49 PM »

Dear Brigid,

The Fast of Jonah, also known as the Fast of Nineveh, is a fast that originated in the Syrian Orthodox Church and gradually spread to other Oriental Orthodox Churches such as the Coptic Orthodox Church.  It is a three day fast commencing on the third Monday before Great Lent, and ending on that Wednesday, with Liturgy on Thursday morning (Syrian practice).  Traditionally, the fast, since it is only three days, involves not eating or drinking anything at all from Monday until Wednesday (with the pre-communion fast going until Thursday's Liturgy).  However, this is often lessened for most people.  

In my experience, it seems that the Oriental Orthodox fasting traditions are more rigourous than those of the Eastern Orthodox, although economy is often applied for members of both Churches.
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Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2003, 11:44:44 PM »

Dear Mor,

Does the Malankara Orthodox Church of India also observe the Fast of Jonah (Fast of Ninevah)?  

I'm impressed with the severity of such a fast (I think that in the Eastern Orthodox Churches one would find such rigorous fasts practiced only within the most traditionalist monasteries).  How do working people handle it?  The elderly?

Hypo-Ortho
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SamB
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2003, 12:53:45 AM »

The hard fast in the Oriental tradition includes an entire abstinance from all food and water until late afternoon, followed then by the traditional restrictions on animal products and so on.

Ramadan is derived from this Christian tradition.

And speaking of rigorous fasting, some pious women from mixed Melkite/Orthodox families may fast both Great Lents on the calendar.

In IC XC
Samer
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2003, 01:16:39 AM »

Dear Hypo,

The Orthodox Church in India, along with the Syrians, Copts, and others observe this fast.

As to how they fast, it is all a question of economy.  The traditional Nineveh Fast is as I said in my post above (it is different from the other fasts because of its length: only three days).  But what can one safely do?  The whole fast?  Fasting until sundown?  Or until three in the afternoon?  As always, these questions are ones that the individual and his priest must deal with.  We have the tradition, and it provides the guideline, but it can be tailored to suit our needs.  The working generation, a pregnant lady, a sick fellow, a retired couple, children, etc. all have different needs, and have different capacities for such penance.  So the fast is mitigated, more or less, depending on the person.  And when one is used to doing a certain amount and then comes to a point where one must do less, I'm sure that in itself is a form of penance.  I know that I'm used to a certain amount of fasting for now, but if I come to a point sometime in the future where I'll have to lessen it, I won't be happy about it since I'll feel like I'm "not doing enough" or as much as before, but at the same time, it is in obediently following the counsel of those in authority over me that real penance is done.
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Tags: Lent fasting Fast of Jonah Jonah OO Lent 
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