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Fasting during Thanksgiving


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#1 Troy Duker

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 04:09 PM

Do the Orthodox Christian, during the Nativity Fast, fast on Thanksgiving?

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:13 PM

Like with many things, it depends. Local customs differ. Some bishops allow a dispensation for Thanksgiving. For Orthodox Christians following the Julian Calendar, it is not an issue because their Nativity Fast hasn't started yet. Non-American Orthodox Christians don't do Thanksgiving and Canadian Orthodox already had theirs.

#3 Troy Duker

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Posted 20 November 2007 - 08:11 PM

Thanks, I was just curious. I thought darn that must be a sacrifice. HAHA!

#4 Andrew

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 01:07 AM

Vladyko Dmitri says that we should relax the fast on Thanksgiving, one reason being that it is truly a day with spiritual significance.

#5 Glenn Turner

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 04:11 AM

Do the Orthodox Christian, during the Nativity Fast, fast on Thanksgiving?

My wife and I converted from protestantism and we do observe this fast. However, all our family members are protestant, so, when we are with them, we eat what they eat.

#6 Nicolaj

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 10:41 AM

My wife and I converted from protestantism and we do observe this fast. However, all our family members are protestant, so, when we are with them, we eat what they eat.


The Fathers says us that the first sin committed was the breaking of the Fast!

They did commit this, just to please the 'others'!

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj

#7 Mary

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 01:33 PM

The Fathers says us that the first sin committed was the breaking of the Fast!

They did commit this, just to please the 'others'!

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj


I'm sure this has come up in ALL threads that have anything to do with fasting. When we've been invited for a meal by un-fasting family or friends, it is because they love us, not because they wish to tempt us. I know they're not tempting us, because they do not know about the nativity fast, or our other fasts during the year. As I recall, there's a command somewhere that we're to fast in secret, therefore, we do not go around telling everyone that we're fasting, and if it comes up in conversation, and we have indeed mentioned it to them sometime in the past, we do not expect them to remember. There is a slight chance that they may remember Great Lent, but not everything else.

So, instead of drawing attention to our ascetic endevours, which are pathetic enough to begin with, we graciously accept their invitation, and avoid pigging out. We take something full of vegetables if they'll let us contribute to the meal, if not, we don't. I know there's a balance somewhere, and I don't think a relationship is worth sacrificing for a meal, especially in this time, when relationships are becoming more and more rare.

In Christ,
Mary.

#8 Nina

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 02:04 PM

With the blessing of your spiritual father you can do anything he blesses you to do.

#9 Nicolaj

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 10:41 AM

When we've been invited for a meal by un-fasting family or friends, it is because they love us, not because they wish to tempt us.


When they really did love you they know about your faith and your fasting and they really made some thinking about what to offer to eat!

And the rule that Jesus gave his disciples about fasting is just about fasting, not about breaking the fast!

I know there's a balance somewhere


What balance do you mean? Why is it that you are ashamed for your religion?
A muslim nor a budhist would never ever reject his fasting just to please others!

Nor did the Fathers, neither they were monks or living in the world.

I don't think a relationship is worth sacrificing for a meal


What about the heavenly meal, this is for sure the meal you are sacrificing!

I myself always was very sloppy in this things, but my father told me that this all is connected and this is also a cross to bear. So it is vital for a fulfilled Christian life.

Don't be upset, just try as hard as you can, and allow God to add what is needed.

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:32 PM

Sitting up here in cold, snowy Canada where Thanksgiving was over a month ago I wonder if there ever was an answer to the question of what is done on American Thanksgiving if you have already begun the Nativity Fast?

Is there a general practice about this? This is one of those situations where I can understand the need for a dispensation. Especially when it comes to participating in larger family meals with non-Orthodox relatives and friends.

Come to think of it as I see that American Thanksgiving actually is on a Thursday is there a particular day on which the thanksgiving meal is held?

Thanks.

-A Canadian on the Old Calendar who has not yet begun the Nativity Fast.

#11 Katerina

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:40 PM

This subject is something I personally learned from since I was married to a Catholic. His family, particularly his mother, when they slowly learned of Orthodoxy and how I do things ( I was quiet and tried to do what I could in picking the foods that I ate- otherwise they would think I was high and mighty- and this does not teach anyone anything), they said-"oh, yes, this was a rule we used to have or now we don't have to do that anymore." By my humililty (or at least I tried, as humility is something that one has to work on every minute of the day!!) and quiet observance, and then just accepting what they were offering, they slowly learned of the ways that they themselves had once before, and the whys of it, and the seed was slowly planted. As a result, they went out of their way to make sure I had food I could eat. If I had simply said "I do not eat meat because of lent, and that is the end of that etc....I would have been met with stony silence and then uproar, etc. The world is not an easy place, nor was it before our time, but we must, with prayer, quiet perseverence , humility and discernment continue to "teach" in this quiet way. Each situation warrants something different and you feel which is appropriate to mention and when to discuss your fasting and its reasons.


A muslim nor a budhist would never ever reject his fasting just to please others!


But WE are not muslims or buddhists! They can be extremist and this is what we must strive NOT to be. I for one understand that fasting is for one's own spiritual benefit, not others. I do what my spiritual father says is most beneficial for me and my situation, as it warrants and this may be different for others depending on their spiritual "status" so to speak, or what their strengths are. Not all fasting is beneficial for the soul, since some are too weak and sick, and therefore the fasting would be for naught since their focus would be on trying to feel well- even St. Seraphim says so!

Just my little two cents worth....

#12 Katerina

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:49 PM

Sitting up here in cold, snowy Canada where Thanksgiving was over a month ago I wonder if there ever was an answer to the question of what is done on American Thanksgiving if you have already begun the Nativity Fast?

Is there a general practice about this? This is one of those situations where I can understand the need for a dispensation. Especially when it comes to participating in larger family meals with non-Orthodox relatives and friends.

Come to think of it as I see that American Thanksgiving actually is on a Thursday is there a particular day on which the thanksgiving meal is held?

Thanks.

-A Canadian on the Old Calendar who has not yet begun the Nativity Fast.


As a matter of fact, I remember in years past, down in Nyack, NY the parish there held Thanksgiving the week before if the fast were to begin the Monday before, and they had a molieben too.

I know that people do get dispensation for eating on that special day with their families (Mostly as you said, those whose families that are large, and this is especially hardest for converts).

One year, my mom had a Tofurkey since the Nativity fast had begun (old calendar), and I can honestly say that was awful. I for one, don't like something that is made to be something it is not. Better to have good simple seafood or a vegetable dish...after all, we are giving thanks for our bounty and our wonderful friends and family!

#13 Michael Stickles

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:55 PM

In discussing fasting, let us not violate the call of the Scriptures not to judge, just as Paul says in Romans 14:

Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains, pass judgment on him who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?


Remember that even with the canons regarding the requirement to fast, the bishops allowed discretion regarding specific situations; thus, in the Canonical Answers of Timothy the Most Holy Bishop of Alexandria (one of the 150 Fathers gathered at Constantinople), he maintained that neither a woman in child-bed nor a sick man should be obliged to keep the Paschal fast.

The man who refuses to relax his fast out of pride, using adherence to the canons as an excuse, sins; while the one who relaxes his fast out of gluttony, using love for neighbor as an excuse, also sins. Yet the one who keeps the fast out of true love for God and His Church, and the one who relaxes the fast out of true love for the neighbor whom God also loves, may both do well. The difference is in the heart, more than in the act. Let neither judge the other, as one of the Desert Fathers relates:

I myself once harshly judged a monk whom I saw drinking milk during the Great Fast. He did it so routinely that I thought, "Why, he must think nothing of the ascetic life." It was I who had forgotten the rule of the inner life -- that one judges himself and excuses others. I later learned that the monk was ill and had to have milk to ingest his medication. I learned something about hasty judgments. Here we learn that we must never judge another person.


In Christ,
Mike

#14 Nicolaj

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 02:58 PM

So you think it is more important to please the world as to please God?

Nicolaj, the sinner

#15 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 03:07 PM

As a matter of fact, I remember in years past, down in Nyack, NY the parish there held Thanksgiving the week before if the fast were to begin the Monday before, and they had a molieben too.

I know that people do get dispensation for eating on that special day with their families (Mostly as you said, those whose families that are large, and this is especially hardest for converts).

One year, my mom had a Tofurkey since the Nativity fast had begun (old calendar), and I can honestly say that was awful. I for one, don't like something that is made to be something it is not. Better to have good simple seafood or a vegetable dish...after all, we are giving thanks for our bounty and our wonderful friends and family!


In My Personal Planner/Calendar with lists of civil holidays it says that for next year (2008) and the year after this American Thanksgiving will be on Nov 27 & then Nov 26.

I'm not familiar with the American tradition of when you have the thanksgiving dinner as a family. But unless it's on the Thursday of Thanksgiving itself then those on the Old Calendar face the same question as those on the New; ie what do you do about the meal with the family?

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#16 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 03:24 PM

Yet the one who keeps the fast out of true love for God and His Church, and the one who relaxes the fast out of true love for the neighbor whom God also loves, may both do well. The difference is in the heart, more than in the act.


This approach is actually very important. To fast while provoking others who host us & drawing unneeded attention to ourselves ends up negating the purpose of the fast and perhaps making it sinful on top of it all.

Certainly however we should not fear that during times of dispensation the fast entirely disappears. Some approach such meals as if the festive spirit involved is unavoidable while others first look to love of neighbour as what guides them to their door (ie not love of food). Some also without others noticing this restrain themselves at such meals from taking everything offered although often only modesty in helping oneself is possible without drawing undue attention to oneself.

In any case I recall at our small monastery in Quebec we had French-Canadian neighbours who grew to love us very much. Eventually it got to the point where these people took a positive joy in finding out how we ate as monastics and then preparing fasting food for us - of course in a festal way :)- whenever they would invite us over.

But of course this was an exceptional situation and not to be expected.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#17 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 03:30 PM

So you think it is more important to please the world as to please God?

Nicolaj, the sinner


Yes, but that's the very point.

Asceticism & self-restraint needs to take into account our neighbour who is part of the scenario God puts before us.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#18 Rick H.

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 04:28 PM

Yes, but that's the very point.

Asceticism & self-restraint needs to take into account our neighbour who is part of the scenario God puts before us.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


Good point here--'the big picture' . . . lest Orthodoxy and an Orthodox asceticism is presented to our neighbour as being an insensitive legalism, completely self-ish/centered, void of consideration for our neighbor let alone love for our neighbor. Ultimately though this is a matter of the heart wherein the heart of the matter will be determined.

In Christ,
Rick

#19 Mary

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 05:14 PM

When they really did love you they know about your faith and your fasting and they really made some thinking about what to offer to eat!


My dear brother Nicolaj,

You have judged the love of my dysfunctional family. They can only give what they have. I have been given more, therefore, the love I show them should be greater than the one that can show me. I cannot expect from them, the same things that I expect of myself. I expect myself to be able to love/forgive/be caring, etc. And, to be honest, I don't do a very good job. From them, I expect nothing. Why should they care? They have no obligation. But I do. I have been loved by God.

Also - there's a great danger in their investing time to know more about my faith - the danger of converting! They know how drastic the changes are, they are wise to stay away and count the cost. When they are ready, they will want to know more about my faith. My hope is, that when they do, they won't stop wanting to know more till they too become orthodox.

There's precious little that we have in common. Family. Food. Weather. Kids in school. That's it. We used to have 'church' in common. And we spent many hours together on Sunday afternoons, talking about the sermon that day and how it's affected us and how we'd like to apply it in our lives, etc. Now, we have absolutely Nothing to talk about. Nothing of substance, that is. So, in a way, we have been reduced to getting to know each other as fellow human beings, because the greatest connection we had - a spiritual one- has been completely cut off. (I'm thinking of my husband's sister-in-law here).

For several months after our conversion, I felt the tension everytime we were together. We couldn't even look at each other when we spoke. But we had a good time together yesterday. Food gave us something useful to do and loosened our tongues so we could think of things to talk about and get to know each other a bit more. I was thrilled to find Fish on the menu! I had given myself a good talking to, and decided the best thing to do was to eat very little, because, in the crowd, I wouldn't be noticed, I could get away with that. That's very hard for me to do, because, I love food. =) And good food, always shuts off my 'Fullness Sensor' and I overeat. But it worked well yesterday.

What balance do you mean? Why is it that you are ashamed for your religion?


I don't think I'm ashamed of my Orthodox faith. At least, not that I have noticed.


What about the heavenly meal, this is for sure the meal you are sacrificing!


What heavenly meal am I sacrificing? I'm still on earth and I need food to keep my body alive. Are you saying the fast is so much more important than a person, that I should turn down an invitation, and stay home to eat my soup? What will my prayer sound like? "Dear God, I sacrificed an invitation to a meal with my brother, so I could fast and pray..."

Jesus said the Sabbath was made for Man and not Man for the Sabbath. Of course, that's not a license for doing whatever you want on the Sabbath. Jesus didn't mean Man is no longer supposed to observe the Sabbath. I think, the same principle applies to the fast as well, or else we'll be as legalistic as the pharisees were. That's the balance I was thinking of. The Fasts are extremely important - for my spiritual health. But if I hold on to it, at the expense of my brother's spiritual health, then I have only wounded both of us, and the fast wont' bring me any healing, in fact, it might do the opposite, and be bad for me!

Don't be upset, just try as hard as you can, and allow God to add what is needed.

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj


Don't worry. I don't upset easy. At least, not anymore. =) Happy fasting!

#20 Nina

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 11:06 PM

In My Personal Planner/Calendar with lists of civil holidays it says that for next year (2008) and the year after this American Thanksgiving will be on Nov 27 & then Nov 26.

I'm not familiar with the American tradition of when you have the thanksgiving dinner as a family. But unless it's on the Thursday of Thanksgiving itself then those on the Old Calendar face the same question as those on the New; ie what do you do about the meal with the family?

In Christ- Fr Raphael


Ah! Just as I wanted to suggest that we (NC) start a petition to reverse to the OC.

I have heard that GO here have a dispensation. I was not born here Father Raphael, but to reply to your question about the meal from what experience I have is that it is either Thursday early lunch, or late lunch, or dinner it always depends. Friday here is a major shopping day and it is called Black Friday (when I heard it first I thought that people were referring to Holy Friday because in my tradition we call Holy Friday also Black Friday).

Last year I managed to escape (at least) meat altogether on Thanksgiving, but this year alas I did not because it was another way of serving dinner, so I was on the spot. At least I got only one kind of meat from two offered, but still... there went my fast :(...

P.S It is already snowing in your area? Here yesterday was such a balmy weather that we had short sleeves during the day (I was reminded of hot Thanksgiving days in Florida). Today Mr. Frosty is visiting the area. :)




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