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Fasting during Thanksgiving


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#21 Glenn Turner

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 01:15 AM

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


Who are these "others". My understanding is they ate because they thought they would gain wisdom. I see nothing in here regarding pleasing others.

ggt

#22 Kypreos

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:02 AM

So let me get it straight: we should fast only when it is convenient for us? when it becomes difficult we should break fast? And it is better to break our fast rather than risk offending the host of a dinner party?

How about we fast according to the guidance of our spiritual father, and the holy canons of our church? I think that is more important than offending someone.

"No wonder, then, that it is so hard to be Christian--it is not hard it is impossible... And that is way we constantly rebel, try to make life easier, try to be half-Christian, try to make the best of both worlds. We must ultimately choose--our felicity lies in one world or the other, not in both." Father Seraphim Rose


P.S. Thanksgiving is not an Orthodox holiday.






#23 Mary

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:35 AM

So let me get it straight: we should fast only when it is convenient for us? when it becomes difficult we should break fast? And it is better to break our fast rather than risk offending the host of a dinner party?

How about we fast according to the guidance of our spiritual father, and the holy canons of our church? I think that is more important than offending someone.


Those are excellent questions! I have found the Church to be a lot gentler on me than I have been, even on myself. I believe we all strive to the best of our ability. The idea is to not judge others, because we don't know what their lives are truly like, and we do not know what their spiritual fathers have given them blessing for. We only know our own, and we work as hard as we can to stick to the instructions we've received.

Since we are all of varying strengths and weaknesses, each person's striving will be different. For instance, it's extremely easy for me to show up at church for every single service. However, we have some people who only come for Pascha. If they start coming every week, it's a great thing, an incredible accomplishment. But for me to come every week, is nothing.

P.S. Thanksgiving is not an Orthodox holiday.



Neither is it a dishonor to Orthodoxy. I believe being thankful for your blessings is a good thing. The world celebrates all kinds of vile things. Should we not encourage them, when they try to do something good, like setting aside a day to be thankful for what they have and share with their families? Of course, it's not going to be 'perfect' - in that, many will celebrate because they love food, and many hate the family members they gather with and only do it out of obligation, etc, etc, etc. But then, are all of our celebrations perfect and done with a pure heart?

In Christ,
Mary

#24 Kypreos

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:00 PM

I believe we all strive to the best of our ability. The idea is to not judge others, because we don't know what their lives are truly like, and we do not know what their spiritual fathers have given them blessing for. We only know our own, and we work as hard as we can to stick to the instructions we've received.


I agree 100 percent.


Neither is it a dishonor to Orthodoxy. I believe being thankful for your blessings is a good thing.


When we break our fast to celebrate Thanksgiving that is a dishonor! We should be thankful, yes absolutely, but we celebrate within the context of our faith.

Abstaining from foods is the easiest part of a fast. We should be focused on fasting our passions, that's the real challenge. But what does that say about our dedication when we cannot even do the simplest and easiest things, like have a vegan dinner?

I agree with Nicolaj, we would never expect a Muslim or a Jew, or a Budhist, or even someone on the Atkins diet to break fast. But it is acceptable as Orthodox Christians? We cannot tell someone, "Is it alright if I bring a vegan dish to the party? Im on a special diet?" Is that insulting? If they do get insulted over that, do we really want to be having dinner with them anyway?

#25 Mary

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:56 PM

If they do get insulted over that, do we really want to be having dinner with them anyway?


Because of my infinite immaturity, I have been easily offended about far less insignificant things. However, I have one friend, who never abandoned me. If I have the teeniest shred of gratitude in me for the kindness I myself have received, when I've behaved worse than a beast, how can I not extend the same kindness to others?

#26 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 05:10 PM

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


I don't recall anyone saying this. Perhaps it would be best if you did not try to put words into the mouths of others.

Nikolaj, since you are not from the US and therefore do not really understand this national holiday and its significance and importance in our national culture and life, I would tend to ignore your ignorance here and simply note with approval the fervor of your faith. American thanksgiving is a holiday of such great import in our culture and it has always been a quasi-religious holiday and so many Orthodox Churches have made the celebration of this holiday part of their typicon - I know in my parish we always have services on this day (molieben and akathist of thanksgiving). One of the "hallmarks" of thanksgiving is the family meal (I just drove 5 hours each way to have dinner with my son and daughter in law - my daughter her husband will be driving a similar amount to be with her in-laws. Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest travel seasons of the year overall). Thus to just refuse to participate in the feast with family, especially for those of us who are converts, is almost invariably interpreted by our beloved family as a message that we do not love them. This is a reaction on an emotional level not rational and thus no amount of explanation or logic can suffice. Is it better then to love your neighbor or to keep the law?

I recall once that I had to make a trip to visit my parents during Great Lent. My family is not Orthodox and has a "phobia" about legalism and so fasting is totally alien to them (even though they are very pious in their own way). My Mother, however, knowing that it was Great Lent and that I wasn't eating meat, struggled mightily to cook for me foods that were meatless. She is a wonderful cook and set a bountiful table of dishes with no meat out of love for me. However - all the dishes were brimming with cheese, and milk and eggs and fish. I didn't have the heart to tell her that this was not "fasting" food. Out of love, she offered me the best she had - if I had sanctimoniously refused to eat what she provided, I would have "kept the law" and demonstrated to her what "real Orthodoxy" is all about - but she would certainly have seen that I had no love in my heart for her and that my religion was nothing but a set of rules with no regard for the love of God and the love of neighbor. She understands much better now - but only because through the years she has seen the love of God for her through me, not the dry, dead adherence to the rules.

Fr David Moser

#27 Nicolaj

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 05:11 PM

Okay, as I see from the replies, it is al right not to fast when you are invited by folks who say they love you, but don't know anything about your religion and the fasting habits you may have. (what do they know about you at all??)

You do not inform them about this, because you are afraid to get them being upset, about you and your religious habits!

But what is, when you just got informed that you are ill, diabetes or allergic on some kinds of meat... well I guess you did tell them that you would like to come but you are not allowed to eat this and this and so on!!!!

So the point is, that we should talk about what is going on in our lives. As I did my first great Lent according to the monastic chart, the people I invited to come and visit us, they were surprised by my cooking (yes, I do the cooking in the Fast!), but after all the taste was fine and they wanted to have my receipts.

And at the canteen on the job or at the university I tell them early enough when I have my fasting days and they are glad to provide me with food that is allowed to eat.

As you see, it is all a matter of attitude!

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj, the sinner

#28 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 05:19 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.


Thanksgiving in the US is always the 4th Thursday of November - thus the actual date moves around a bit (unlike Thanksgiving in Canada). What can I say; we in the US were always a bit more rebellious and liked to do things the hard way. Usually in the US Thanksgiving is outside the Nativity fast - but about every 7-10 years Thanksgiving comes real late (when Nov 1 is on Friday, thus making the 4th Thursday Nov 28/15 - the first day of the fast).

Fr David Moser

#29 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 05:53 PM

P.S. Thanksgiving is not an Orthodox holiday.


I would beg to differ! Thanksgiving is indeed an Orthodox holiday. How is it that giving thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us in the past year is not Orthodox? Just because this holiday is not celebrated in in this way in all Orthodox nations or cultures does not make it "not an Orthodox holiday".
1 Thess 5:16-18

Fr David Moser

#30 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:03 PM

So the point is, that we should talk about what is going on in our lives. As I did my first great Lent according to the monastic chart, the people I invited to come and visit us, they were surprised by my cooking (yes, I do the cooking in the Fast!), but after all the taste was fine and they wanted to have my receipts.


Disclaimer: The following is offered as an example - it is not offered as a criticism of Nikolaj's practice but simply uses Nikolaj's practice as a vehicle for a parable

Nikolaj! How is it that you disregard the canons to such an extent that you actually boast how you eat cooked food during the fast. Are you not aware that it is the strict monastic practice to eat only uncooked or raw foods on strict fast days? Where is your respect for tradition. How dare you try to teach others about fasting when you yourself blatantly disregard the fast by cooking your food and then boast to us of this flagrant liberty that you take in circumventing the fast.

The above is simply an example of how easy it is to fall into criticizing and judging others

I ask forgiveness is my use of Nikolaj's words created an unnecessary offense. I need to say that I see clearly that Nikolaj is indeed a man of great zeal (greater than my own) and desire to serve God without compromise. Pray for me a sinner.

Fr David Moser

#31 Nicolaj

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:05 PM

Well I actually don't know much about Thanksgiving, but I was told that this is celebrated to commemorate the landing of some protestants in America.

But I was also told that this is also a traditional part of Thanksgiving:

Often guests bring food items or help with cooking in the kitchen as part of a communal meal.


So what is the problem about fasting on Thanksgiving?

Did the martyrs eat the flesh of the pagans not to upset them? Yes some did, many did not and those who did where forgiven and after some repenting exercises allowed to return to church.

I understand it, that it is difficult to give witness about your faith and the way you are living this and yes often we fail. But we shouldn't give up that easy! First really try, but saying on the forehand this is not going to go, that is no trying!

In Christ, Nicolaj, the sinner

#32 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:46 PM

Well I actually don't know much about Thanksgiving, but I was told that this is celebrated to commemorate the landing of some protestants in America.


Thanksgiving has really little to do with commemorating the landing of some protestants in America. It had its beginnings in the fact that "some protestants" that is the "pilgrims" who were very God-fearing and pious people had come to the new world to establish a settlement. After a nearly devastating year and a bountiful harvest they established a feast to give thanks to God for having preserved them and having given them food (the harvest), shelter (the new settlement) and friends (the natives with whom they became friendly) and many other blessings thus allowing them to survive the first year of their settlement in the new world. The aspect of Thanksgiving that continues today as a national holiday is a celebration of our thankfulness to God for His great providence and love for us (the bit about "some protestants landing in America" is only an historical sidelight to the origin of the feast - not the essence of it) Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks to God (the closest we in the US have to an actual national recognition of God - which in these days is one more thing to give thanks for.)

Fr David Moser

#33 Nicolaj

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:21 PM

Yes, you are right Father! It is somehow like Erntedank here, which is also celebrated to thank the Lord of the Harvest for all being received in the last year and ask his blessings for the one year to come.

I have been told that it is somehow forbidden to have holidays like Christmas or Easter to be connected to their actual beginning, in Christ, just not to harm people from other religions!??

In Christ, Nicolaj who is cooking veggies

#34 Tim Grass

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 11:33 PM

Nicolaj... You're a very judgmental person........ quick to judge people about things you don't understand.

Learn how not to judge..... after that you can talk to people about how they should fast.

--tim

#35 Mary

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 01:55 AM

I found this article today, in The Orthodox Herald, about my favorite American President, who made Thanksgiving a national holiday:

On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation. In part it reads:

"No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with an anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be reverently, solemnly, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and voice, by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens of every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and prayer to our beneficient Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."



#36 Antonios

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 02:30 AM

This is I found on Orthodoxytoday.org:

The first Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims. These hearty folks sought religious freedom, boarded the little Mayflower, crossed the Atlantic, were blown off course and ultimately all came ashore in November 1620 in what is now Plymouth, Mass. Before disembarking, though, they drew up "The Mayflower Compact," which noted that the purpose of their voyage was "for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith."
They suffered dearly, with about half the colony perishing during that first winter. In the autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims gave thanks for their first harvest and for the local Indians, including Squanto, who helped them survive. Specifically, they were giving thanks to God, and this gave birth to our Thanksgiving tradition.
Fast-forward 242 years, and we discover that President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday was deeply religious. He noted that, even as the Civil War raged, the nation had much for which to be thankful.
Lincoln declared: "No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."
He called for Americans "to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens." (The date was changed decades later to the fourth Thursday.)
And given that it was a time of war, Lincoln recommended that the people "commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it."

In Christ,
Antonios

#37 Kypreos

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 02:58 AM

I would beg to differ! Thanksgiving is indeed an Orthodox holiday. How is it that giving thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us in the past year is not Orthodox? Just because this holiday is not celebrated in in this way in all Orthodox nations or cultures does not make it "not an Orthodox holiday".
1 Thess 5:16-18
Fr David Moser


"Thanksgiving Day was first officially proclaimed by the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual green corn dance. They were attacked by mercenaries and Dutch and English. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building...The next 100 Thanksgivings commemorated the killing of the Indians at what is now Groton, Ct. [home of a nuclear submarine base] rather than a celebration with them. The image of Indians and Pilgrims sitting around a large table to celebrate Thanksgiving Day is "fictitious" although Indians did share food with the first settlers.The people n the mayflower were the one who made thanksgiving." http://en.wikipedia....ki/Thanksgiving

Of course giving thanks is Orthodox. As Orthodox Christians we continually give thanks in the prayers of our church and in our private prayers. We also celebrate numerous feasts throughout the year. Our Protestant brothers and sisters living in the States lack this fullness of faith. Therefore, one day of thanks to them is monumental.

Therefore, if we choose to come together with family and friends to celebrate what has become a great and joyous holiday, let us do so within the context of our religion. I do not believe that friends and family will ever want someone to compromise their faith.

#38 Father David Moser

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 03:39 AM

"Thanksgiving Day ...The people n the mayflower were the one who made thanksgiving." http://en.wikipedia....ki/Thanksgiving


Ah yes, that ultimately reliable and unbiased source of factual information - wikipedia. Please try and cite some kind of reliable historical source. Of course there were conflicts between the settlers and the natives, of course atrocities were committed, no doubt on both sides, and no the pilgrims and indians didn't sit down at a big table all together; but it wasn't quite the way that wikipedia spun it either.

Fr David Moser

#39 Peter S.

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:02 PM

This is I found on Orthodoxytoday.org:

In Christ,
Antonios


It is good to know that the Squanto indians helped the settlers to survive. An example of love and God's allseeing mercy in history. Something to give thanks for.
I had not heard of the Squanto indians before...

Peter

#40 Nina

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 07:18 PM

When our dear friends who had invited us over for Thanksgiving, started packing food for us to take with, I started very nicely imploring them to keep the food because we would not be able to eat it. They completely disregarded that and continued to make their own case and putting even more food (meat etc.) in several containers like we were going to the dessert for a year, or so. Therefore I told them again and again not to because I did not want to see the food wasted. They asked me why I do not like the luxury of not having to cook for some days. I told them because I am cooking fasting food. They know very well that I am Orthodox (they are Catholic) because we have been talking about it when they are at my apartment and have seen icons, but probably they did not know that we are fasting. But at the moment I told them I am cooking fasting food, the host started making fun of the fast and started blaspheming Christ and Virgin Mary. I froze. I realized that sometime it is better to close my mouth and not tell, not because I am embarrassed for my beliefs, but for other people's sake.




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