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Christmas fast


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#1 Nikita J.

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:26 PM

Hello all

I'd like to know how long the christmas fast is? 40 days or 25 days? I'm a member of the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, our priests have told us it's a 25 day fast but recently i read that it's 40 days in other churches..i may have read wrong but i just wanted to make sure...

If it is 40 days, well..what i want to know is, why the difference?

Help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you :)

#2 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:57 PM

In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Nativity Fast begins on November 15th and ends on December 25th; it is therefore 40 days. The Malankara Orthodox Church is a member of the Oriental Orthodox communion. Very likely there are many differences between our calendars; this should be expected, since we practice traditions that have developed under very different circumstances. As to the specific circumstances that have lead to your Nativity Fast being shorter than ours, I have no idea.

Jeremy

#3 Matthew

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:59 PM

That's interesting.

My priest specifically told me it was not 40 days. A 40 day fast would imply that Christmas has the same significance as Easter.

I'm Greek Orthodox and follow the fasting schedule calendar at www.goarch.org.

#4 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 05:13 PM

The fast of the Nativity is 40 days, precisely so that it is the same in length as the Paschal fast of Great Lent. Further, the services by which it concludes mirror those of Great Week prior to Pascha, including the Royal Hours, vesperal Liturgy of St Basil in white on the eve, etc.

#5 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 05:33 PM

There are even hymns that are mirrors of each other. Consider the 15th antiphon from Holy Friday matins:

Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree,
The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails.
The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection.


And the following hymn from the royal hours on Christmas Eve:

Today is born of the Virgin Him Who holdest all creation in the hollow of His hand.
He Whose essence is untouchable is wrapped in swaddling clothes as a babe.
The God Who from of old established the heavens lieth in a manger.
He Who showered the people with manna in the wilderness feedeth on milk from the breasts.
And the Bridegroom of the Church calleth the Magi.
And the Son of the Virgin accepteth gifts from them.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.
We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ.
Show us also Thy divine Theophany.


#6 Nitsa

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 03:44 AM

Matthew, I am Greek Orthodox also. My priest writes in the
weekly bulletin of fasting 40 days Advent Lent from meats, dairy, fish is permitted .

#7 Kathryn Conant

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:58 PM

Our Greek Orthodox priest spoke today about the Nativity fast and said that it was relaxed for Thanksgiving and also included fish. He suggested that we keep the fast at least on Wednesday and Fridays and that those of us who could should keep the fast.

He stressed that the Nativity fast is not as strict as that of Great Lent.

#8 Father David Moser

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:57 AM

The strict rule for the nativity fast is this: keep a "strict fast" (just like Great Lent - abstain from meat dairy fish wine and oil) on Monday Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday the fast is relaxed to include wine and oil and on Saturday and Sunday it is relaxed further to include fish. Of course for great feasts and major saints there is also a relaxation of the fast as is normally prescribed (usually to include wine and oil and sometimes fish but never dairy or meat) Now that's the letter of the law. In actual practice this fast is widely kept as a "fish fast" with fish wine and oil being eaten every day during the fast - but still dairy and meat are not permitted.

Any further relaxation of the fast, imo, undermines the integrity of the fasting rule since it elevates ordinary days (or secular holidays such as Thanksgiving) even above some of the great feasts of the Church (consider Annunciation, Palm Sunday or Transfiguration - all which fall within a fast and none of which allow for dairy and meat). But then that's my ignorant and probably not so humble opinion.

Fr David

#9 Nina

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 02:51 PM

Our Greek Orthodox priest spoke today about the Nativity fast and said that it was relaxed for Thanksgiving and also included fish. He suggested that we keep the fast at least on Wednesday and Fridays and that those of us who could should keep the fast.

He stressed that the Nativity fast is not as strict as that of Great Lent.


If you are under Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in USA follow the pointers for fasting in the calendar here: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/calendar

However you should talk to your priest (spiritual father) about it, when you go to confession, because many people have illnesses and dietary restrictions, or needs. And he needs to give you a blessing about the level of fast you should keep.

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:20 PM

If you are under Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in USA follow the pointers for fasting in the calendar here: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/calendar


Interesting. They have wine & oil only for Sat/Sun Dec 15/16 which is more strict than the typikon which prescribes fish for these two days.

#11 Nina

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:06 AM

Interesting. They have wine & oil only for Sat/Sun Dec 15/16 which is more strict than the typikon which prescribes fish for these two days.


Father, I do not know why. :) Sorry.

#12 Olga

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:37 AM

There seems to be a difference between the Greek and Slavic calendars with regard to fasting guidelines, hence the confusion. :-)

#13 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:40 AM

As I understand Greek fasting, fish is allowed every day of the fast (except Wednesdays and Fridays) from 15th November to 11th December (with the exception of the Entrance of the Mother of God which is always a fish day even if a Wednesday or Friday). From St Spyridon onwards it is more characteristic of the Great Fast with wine and oil only allowed at weekends and on certain feast days such as St Spyridon (12th), St Eleutherius (15th), Prophet Daniel (17th) and St Ignatius (20th).

In Christ
Rdr Alexander

#14 Nina

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:51 PM

There seems to be a difference between the Greek and Slavic calendars with regard to fasting guidelines, hence the confusion. :-)


Olga, I do not think in Greece is the same. :)

#15 Kathryn Conant

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:14 PM

If you are under Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in USA follow the pointers for fasting in the calendar here: http://www.goarch.org/chapel/calendar

However you should talk to your priest (spiritual father) about it, when you go to confession, because many people have illnesses and dietary restrictions, or needs. And he needs to give you a blessing about the level of fast you should keep.


Thanks, Nina. I know that is how I should do it, but our priest is only around on Sundays and I'll have to arrange it. Our parish also puts the fasting information from goarch.org on our own calendar:

http://www.dormition...ParishCalendar/

#16 Nitsa

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:07 AM

Fr. David, Why is it that the emphasis is on food fasting and rules and guidlines and not on the other forms of fasting that we should observe? I do not hear from our priests as much be said about fasting in our thoughts, tongue, eyes, ears,etc. the more "serious"of the fasts. The least of them, I think is food fasting, and yet we just concentrate on that and keep on analyzing it to death. My father, God rest his soul, would say, not what goes in but what comes out that is important. He was not a perfect man but never argued or cursed, and when he felt the need to take Holy Communion, he did without fasting. God will judge him of course ,but what I am saying is that we need to concentrate on the more serious passions and strive to "fast" from those. I think, but I may be wrong.

#17 Jean-Serge

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:38 PM

In fact, without food fast, the other fasts like gossip, tongue, eyes and so on are impossible simply because body and mind are related; the body having an influence on the mind.

#18 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

I think there's a pretty important difference here. It is not a sin to eat meat. Therefore, abstaining from meat can be properly called fasting. Gossiping, cursing, certain types of arguing, etc. are sinful. To abstain from them is something that we're supposed to do at all times, not merely during the fasts. So abstaining from them is not fasting. Of course, we can still talk about non food-based fasting. It isn't sinful to watch movies in moderation, so we can properly call abstaining from movie-watching a type of fasting. But not all people watch movies to begin with. All people do eat. That is likely part of why food is so emphasized. Fasting from certain foods is something that we can all do. Fasting from movie-watching can only be done by movie-watchers.

#19 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:29 PM

On Fasting - Homily I - by St. Basil the Great - Archbishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia

...Do you think that I am resting the origin of fasting on the Law? Why, fasting is even older than the Law. If you wait a little, you will discover the truth of what I have said. Do not suppose that fasting originated with the Day of Atonement, appointed for Israel on the tenth day of the eventh month. No, go back through history and inquire into the ancient origins of fasting. It is not a recent invention; it is an heirloom handed down by our fathers. Everything distinguished by antiquity is venerable. Have respect for the antiquity of fasting.

It is as old as humanity itself; it was prescribed in Paradise. It was the first commandment that Adam received: “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat.” Through the words “ye shall not eat” the law of fasting and abstinence is laid down. If Eve had fasted from the tree, we would not now be in need of this fast. “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” We have been wounded through sin; we are healed through repentance, but repentance without fasting is fruitless. “Cursed is the ground.... Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth for thee.” You were ordered to live in sorrow, not in luxury. Make amends to God through fasting. Yet even life in Paradise is an image of fasting, not only insofar as man, sharing the life of the Angels, attained to likeness with them through being contented with little, but also insofar as those things which human ingenuity subsequently invented had not yet been devised by those living in Paradise, be it the drinking of wine, the slaughter of animals, or whatever else befuddles the human mind.

Since we did not fast, we fell from Paradise; let us, therefore, fast in order that we might return thither.
...
Do not, however, define the benefit that comes from fasting solely in terms of abstinence from foods. For true fasting consists in estrangement from vices. “Loose every burden of iniquity.” Forgive your neighbor the distress he causes you; forgive him his debts. “Fast not for quarrels and strifes.”You do not eat meat, but you devour your brother. You abstain from wine, but do not restrain yourself from insulting others. You wait until evening to eat, but waste your day in law courts. Woe to those who get drunk, but not from wine. Anger is inebriation of the soul, making it deranged, just as wine does. Grief is also a form of intoxication, one that submerges the intellect. Fear is another kind of drunkenness, when we have phobias regarding inappropriate objects; for Scripture says: “Rescue my soul from fear of the enemy.” And in general, every passion which causes mental derangement may justly be called drunkenness.




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