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3 days fasting before Communion

Zephyr7

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I was advised by my Godfather that it would be good for me to keep a 3 days fasting before Communion - he says monks in Athos do so and he also is trying to follow this rule.

My question is: is it allowed to fast on Saturday?

Let's say I decide to fast on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - in theory it should be OK - but I've heard there's a canon which forbids fasting on Saturday :)

Help? :)
 

IreneOlinyk

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What authority does your godfather have in the Orthodox Church?  Please discuss this with your parish priest.
 

isxodnik

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There is no such Canon. Fasting 3 days before Sunday Communion is a very common practice.
 

Dominika

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1. 3 days fasting before the Communion is Russian practice and it's appeared because of very rare Communion and not-churchy people.
Life on Saint Mount Athos is a completly different story. If you want to follow their rules, just move there.
The fast before Communion is:
a) from midnight/after Vespers (there are various attitudes) and
b) following all the fasts prescribed by the Church.

2. Fasting in the old and Semitic terms means not eating nothing until the sunset, so such fast is prohibited on Saturdays as in fact they're festive days in the Orthodox Church, the exception is the Great Saturday and in some opinions/traditions Eves of the Christmas and Epiphany if they happen to be on Saturday.
So, in other terms, we fast on Saturdays during all the 4 main fasts.
 

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Zephyr7 said:
I was advised by my Godfather that it would be good for me to keep a 3 days fasting before Communion - he says monks in Athos do so and he also is trying to follow this rule.

My question is: is it allowed to fast on Saturday?

Let's say I decide to fast on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - in theory it should be OK - but I've heard there's a canon which forbids fasting on Saturday :)

Help? :)
So based on the threads you've posted lately, you're very zealous. That's good.

But a word of caution: You are not an Athonite. They have literally dedicated their lives to doing nothing but the business of monks. Trying to be keep the rules of monks while not living the monastic life is a good way to lose that zeal.

Pray at the normal times of day for a layman. Keep the normally prescribed fasts for one in your station in life that are normal for one in your Church (e.g. when in Russia, Greek, American Antiochian, etc.). When you do that consistently for a long time, maybe consider being more rigorous. The Evil One often uses one's searching for more and more "spiritual" life in deeper adherence to additional rules of devotion to turn someone who is a bright flame of devotion into a pile of ashes.
 

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Zephyr7 said:
with oil or without oil?  ;D
With the blessing of a priest. The most reliable option.

I mean, ask the priest.
 

WPM

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Ask Orthodoxy Priest reading the Calendars.
 

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Dominika said:
1. 3 days fasting before the Communion is Russian practice and it's appeared because of very rare Communion and not-churchy people.
No. In rare communion fasted for a week. The three-day fast is a relaxation, indulgence, iconomy. Including for those who commune quite often.
 

Iconodule

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isxodnik said:
There is no such Canon.
Yes, there is. The Apostolic canon 66 forbids fasting on the Sabbath (Saturday) and Sunday. This is confirmed by canon 55 of Trullo.
 

Dominika

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isxodnik said:
Dominika said:
1. 3 days fasting before the Communion is Russian practice and it's appeared because of very rare Communion and not-churchy people.
No. In rare communion fasted for a week. The three-day fast is a relaxation, indulgence, iconomy. Including for those who commune quite often.
I've heard about this being normal only from Russians.
 

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I heard from a Bulgarian a practice of not only fasting for three days before but the day after as well. It seemed quite extreme to me and I think making it a requirement obscures the nature of the sacrament.
 

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Iconodule said:
66 This is confirmed by canon 55 of Trullo.
64? You're right, I should be more precise. There is such a Canon, but it has nothing to do with the situation. In short: there's the Gnostics, and, as Dominica said, dealt with the more strict fasting.

After 55 can be read and 56 ))

Total: fasting on the Saturday before Communion is not a violation of any kind.

Dominika said:
I've heard about this being normal only from Russians.
Ok.
 

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Thanks :) I'm not saying about keeping a 3 days fast EVERY SINGLE TIME. I mean, sometimes you want to do "something extra", pray in a given intention, etc.

And I think I'm not over zealous :D It's just that in RC everything is codified, they have a catechism, etc. In Orthodox Church one person tells you this, the other something very different.

As to me, my confessor told me to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, normally, with oil :) Fish&chips and coke would not be any fast to me, so I try to take reasonable measures :D

 

Iconodule

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I don't think the RC's had such universal norms until the Council of Trent, and I think they are worse off for it.
 

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Iconodule said:
isxodnik said:
There is no such Canon.
Yes, there is. The Apostolic canon 66 forbids fasting on the Sabbath (Saturday) and Sunday. This is confirmed by canon 55 of Trullo.
Indeed so.  I knew these two canons existed; I could not remember the councils, and would have looked them up in my Pedalion, but I’m too busy working on the server right now, so thank you for quoting these Iconodule. :)
 

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IreneOlinyk said:
What authority does your godfather have in the Orthodox Church?  Please discuss this with your parish priest.
^ This.
 

Alpha60

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Zephyr7 said:
Thanks :) I'm not saying about keeping a 3 days fast EVERY SINGLE TIME. I mean, sometimes you want to do "something extra", pray in a given intention, etc.

And I think I'm not over zealous :D It's just that in RC everything is codified, they have a catechism, etc. In Orthodox Church one person tells you this, the other something very different.

As to me, my confessor told me to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, normally, with oil :) Fish&chips and coke would not be any fast to me, so I try to take reasonable measures :D
This sounds like the standard and reasonable practice.  I once in the first year following my conversion  inadvertantly observed a three day fast to an excessive degree, during a week, to the appreciative amusement of the clergy.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Zephyr7 said:
Thanks :) I'm not saying about keeping a 3 days fast EVERY SINGLE TIME. I mean, sometimes you want to do "something extra", pray in a given intention, etc.

And I think I'm not over zealous :D It's just that in RC everything is codified, they have a catechism, etc. In Orthodox Church one person tells you this, the other something very different.

As to me, my confessor told me to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, normally, with oil :) Fish&chips and coke would not be any fast to me, so I try to take reasonable measures :D
We too, have a Catechism.  It's lengthy and filled with great information.

As for the fasting, it is a Dominika stated.  This stricter fasting is required of those who do not fast, or commune regularly.

If one communes each week, and has to fast 3 days before and a day after.... then there's only one non-fasting day per week. 

If you do this out of piety, to strengthen your resolve, and work on your penance, that 's one thing.  However, this should not be a weekly rule, in my opinion.
 

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Dominika said:
1. 3 days fasting before the Communion is Russian practice and it's appeared because of very rare Communion and not-churchy people.
Life on Saint Mount Athos is a completly different story. If you want to follow their rules, just move there.
The fast before Communion is:
a) from midnight/after Vespers (there are various attitudes) and
b) following all the fasts prescribed by the Church.

2. Fasting in the old and Semitic terms means not eating nothing until the sunset, so such fast is prohibited on Saturdays as in fact they're festive days in the Orthodox Church, the exception is the Great Saturday and in some opinions/traditions Eves of the Christmas and Epiphany if they happen to be on Saturday.
So, in other terms, we fast on Saturdays during all the 4 main fasts.
I totally agree with Dominika.
 

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By Fasting and Prayer ~ It means watch your appetite and abstaining from fleshly desires. For example, control your eating habits.
 

Zephyr7

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Lol, the truth is, after following Great Lent rules for the first time, I ended up not eating at fast foods anymore :D
 

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Zephyr7 said:
Thanks :) I'm not saying about keeping a 3 days fast EVERY SINGLE TIME. I mean, sometimes you want to do "something extra", pray in a given intention, etc.

And I think I'm not over zealous :D It's just that in RC everything is codified, they have a catechism, etc. In Orthodox Church one person tells you this, the other something very different.

As to me, my confessor told me to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, normally, with oil :) Fish&chips and coke would not be any fast to me, so I try to take reasonable measures :D
Do as your confessor says.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Zephyr7 said:
Lol, the truth is, after following Great Lent rules for the first time, I ended up not eating at fast foods anymore :D
Isn't it great how that works?

My grandfather put his pipe on the fireplace mantel on first day of Great Lent (Memory Eternal)... and never picked it up again.

Lent is a great way for us to fight our bad habits.
 

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Orest said:
Dominika said:
1. 3 days fasting before the Communion is Russian practice and it's appeared because of very rare Communion and not-churchy people.
Life on Saint Mount Athos is a completly different story. If you want to follow their rules, just move there.
The fast before Communion is:
a) from midnight/after Vespers (there are various attitudes) and
b) following all the fasts prescribed by the Church.

2. Fasting in the old and Semitic terms means not eating nothing until the sunset, so such fast is prohibited on Saturdays as in fact they're festive days in the Orthodox Church, the exception is the Great Saturday and in some opinions/traditions Eves of the Christmas and Epiphany if they happen to be on Saturday.
So, in other terms, we fast on Saturdays during all the 4 main fasts.
I totally agree with Dominika.
hecma925 said:
Zephyr7 said:
Thanks :) I'm not saying about keeping a 3 days fast EVERY SINGLE TIME. I mean, sometimes you want to do "something extra", pray in a given intention, etc.

And I think I'm not over zealous :D It's just that in RC everything is codified, they have a catechism, etc. In Orthodox Church one person tells you this, the other something very different.

As to me, my confessor told me to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, normally, with oil :) Fish&chips and coke would not be any fast to me, so I try to take reasonable measures :D
Do as your confessor says.
I agree entirely with a synthesis of these respective posts.
 

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As others have said, it is your spiritual father who should instruct you on how to prepare for Holy Communion, and it is best not to go "above and beyond" without a blessing because doing so can lead to pride which may lead to either a major carnal fall or delusion or both.  That said, while the canons forbid a "strict fast" (no alcohol, meat, dairy, oil) on Saturdays, some spiritual fathers require a lesser fast such as would be kept on Saturdays during the four major fasts, with at least oil being allowed all or part of the day. 
 

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Dominika said:
2. Fasting in the old and Semitic terms means not eating nothing until the sunset, so such fast is prohibited on Saturdays as in fact they're festive days in the Orthodox Church, the exception is the Great Saturday and in some opinions/traditions Eves of the Christmas and Epiphany if they happen to be on Saturday.
So, in other terms, we fast on Saturdays during all the 4 main fasts.
By fasting on Saturdays only on the 4 main fasts you mean Lent (including Great Saturday), Advent (including Christmas Eve), the Eve of Epiphany, and... what is number 4 that you mean?
 

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Zephyr7 said:
The best way to do it is no food or drink several hours before taking Communion.
 

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isxodnik said:
Iconodule said:
66 This is confirmed by canon 55 of Trullo.
64? You're right, I should be more precise. There is such a Canon, but it has nothing to do with the situation. In short: there's the Gnostics, and, as Dominica said, dealt with the more strict fasting.

After 55 can be read and 56 ))

Total: fasting on the Saturday before Communion is not a violation of any kind.
Canon 64 of the Apostles, my translation per your link:
Canon 64 of the Holy Apostles.
Who of the clergy will be seen fasting on the Day of the Lord, or on the Sabbath, besides only on individual days (Great Sabbath): may he be deposed. If it's a layman, may he be excommunicated.
The commentary underneath says that Saturday is celebrated for being the 7th day of the world's creation by God, making it a day of joy. The commentator's footnote says that Tertullian in his essay “De corona militis” noted that one should not fast on Saturday. The commentor notes that we fast on Great Saturday only, and that it is because Christ spoke of fasting on that day (Mark 2:20)
The commentary says that in layman's terms, this Canon 64, when it forbids fasting on Saturdays and Sundays, is only talking about a full, strict, dry fast like the one that is performed on Great Saturday. That is why during Lent we do fast from meat on Saturdays and Sundays but don't perform a strict fast on the weekends in Lent. The weekends in Lent have more lenient fasting.

So Apostolic Canon 64 allows the common meatless fasting on Saturdays, because for instance it does not forbid Lenten fasting on Saturdays. Canon 64 is not in conflict with the practice of a consecutive 3 day meatless fast that runs from Friday until the time of Liturgy on Sunday morning.

Canon 66 of the Apostles on that page doesn't deal with fasting issues.

Canon 55 of the Council of Trullo seems to oppose the Romans' "fasting" on Saturdays in Lent. This might be aimed against the Romans having a strict fast of no food at all on Saturdays.
Canon 56 of Trullo opposes the Armenians' eating of dairy and eggs on Saturdays in Lent.
So the sense of Canons 55-56 of Trullo together seems to be that one must fast from meat and dairy and eggs on Saturdays in Lent, but must not observe a full, strict fast on those Saturdays.

So in sum, the canons cited ban a strict full fast on Saturdays (except for individual Saturdays), but they don't ban a meatless fast on Saturdays like Lenten or pre-Communion Saturdays.
 

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rakovsky said:
Dominika said:
2. Fasting in the old and Semitic terms means not eating nothing until the sunset, so such fast is prohibited on Saturdays as in fact they're festive days in the Orthodox Church, the exception is the Great Saturday and in some opinions/traditions Eves of the Christmas and Epiphany if they happen to be on Saturday.
So, in other terms, we fast on Saturdays during all the 4 main fasts.
By fasting on Saturdays only on the 4 main fasts you mean Lent (including Great Saturday), Advent (including Christmas Eve), the Eve of Epiphany, and... what is number 4 that you mean?
Besides Great Lent and the Nativity fast, there is the Apostles' fast and the Dormition fast.
 

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rakovsky said:
So in sum, the canons cited ban a strict full fast on Saturdays (except for individual Saturdays), but they don't ban a meatless fast on Saturdays like Lenten or pre-Communion Saturdays.
This is where the Western distinction between fasting and abstinence really comes in handy. Fasting is not eating, at least till the ninth hour, and abstinence is not eating meat (or eggs, olive oil, etc.). On Saturdays in Lent we abstain but do not fast.

The way I was taught to fast in the Orthodox Church was just abstinence - eating a vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And from what I understand this is the norm; although anyone who is not Orthodox associates the word fasting with not eating. But from reading I learned that until the 20th century we did both fasting and abstinence.
 

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platypus said:
The way I was taught to fast in the Orthodox Church was just abstinence - eating a vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And from what I understand this is the norm; although anyone who is not Orthodox associates the word fasting with not eating. But from reading I learned that until the 20th century we did both fasting and abstinence.
I think this is almost entirely a modern American/Western European phenomenon.  Perhaps the priests are actually teaching this interpretation of fasting in public, or else they are counseling their parishioners privately along these lines and when everyone inevitably compares notes, this is what seems to be the norm, or something similar.  But anyone who looks into the Church’s authentic fasting rule will see that fasting is one vegan meal for the day, taken at evening (certainly not before the ninth hour), and no food or drink before or after that meal. 

Not everyone can do that, and so there may be adjustments made, but the only publicly announced adjustment that I’ve ever heard priests offer (other than anticipated services, which is its own peculiar issue) was to fast from food and drink until noon if you cannot fast till sunset or 3pm.  The sick, pregnant/nursing women, the elderly, and others with complicated situations may need to eat breakfast because of their situation, and for them that is fasting, but to turn fasting for the general population into a vegan version of three square meals a day is not fasting, it’s a fad diet.
 
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