• Please remember: Pray for Ukraine in the Prayer forum; Share news in the Christian News section; Discuss religious implications in FFA: Religious Topics; Discuss political implications in Politics (and if you don't have access, PM me) Thank you! + Fr. George, Forum Administrator

fasting before communion

FinnJames

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
8
Points
38
Age
74
Location
Finland
Faith
Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Orthodox Church of Finland
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
 

HaydenTE

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Aug 13, 2015
Messages
1,490
Reaction score
21
Points
38
Age
21
Faith
Episcopalian-ish
Jurisdiction
I pray for all bishops
The reason why we fast is to focus on our real hunger, our hunger for unity with Christ, by making it physical. I don't know where the pre-communion fast came from, but fasting itself was a big part of the Early Church.
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
20
Points
38
Age
39
Location
PA, USA
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Patriarchate of Johnstown
I know some monasteries will typically celebrate the liturgy at the end of an all-night-vigil and it will be considerably earlier in the morning than parish practice. Whether this reflects a more ancient practice, I don't know.
 

Second Chance

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
8,025
Reaction score
4
Points
36
Age
76
Location
South Carolina
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Diocese of the South (OCA)
HaydenTE said:
The reason why we fast is to focus on our real hunger, our hunger for unity with Christ, by making it physical. I don't know where the pre-communion fast came from, but fasting itself was a big part of the Early Church.
Great answer. How close are you to becoming a catechumen?
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
Omaha
Faith
Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem.  That may be how Canon Law works in the western churches but not in the Orthodox Church.

But, let's for a moment assume that a council, "innovated" something.  To me your use of the word "innovation" with regards to fasting suggests that fasting really wasn't that important or shouldn't be regarded as important until it was codified.  Innovation can often have negative connotations as something that misses the spirit at the expense of making the letter the more important. 

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no.  I don't know quite how to read the tone of your post, but it sounds like your just dismissing it out of hand because it is in canon law. Do you not think the canons are good and useful for instruction and practice of the faith?

 

LenInSebastopol

Protokentarchos
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
3,596
Reaction score
1
Points
0
I often am in error, but The Church continued a practiced tradition inherited from the Jewish Way that fasted and probably did so for various "reasons", so an inquiry may start in that region of The Book.
Have to ask did Greeks practice it as well?
 

rakovsky

Toumarches
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
12,661
Reaction score
225
Points
63
Location
USA
Website
rakovskii.livejournal.com
Faith
Christian
Jurisdiction
Orthodox Church in America
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
Strictly speaking Matins are supposed to begin as the sun rises and the Six Psalms are prayed, starting with the one about rising in the morning. Right after matins comes liturgy. Our parish has liturgy at 9 AM.

If you go to sunrise Matins like the priest would, and it takes you serious time to get to church, like a half hour, then breakfast is not really an issue but a potential diversion.

Breakfast means BREAKING a FAST.

Orthodoxy is very very old.
 

rakovsky

Toumarches
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
12,661
Reaction score
225
Points
63
Location
USA
Website
rakovskii.livejournal.com
Faith
Christian
Jurisdiction
Orthodox Church in America
If people are coming to church just to eat small morsels for satiating hunger, first of all you probably have a big problem besides just lack of caring about the Eucharist.

But second of all if that was the issue, then I think fasting maybe could be argued against on scriptural grounds. But that is not what you are supposed to do .
 

HaydenTE

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Aug 13, 2015
Messages
1,490
Reaction score
21
Points
38
Age
21
Faith
Episcopalian-ish
Jurisdiction
I pray for all bishops
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
HaydenTE said:
The reason why we fast is to focus on our real hunger, our hunger for unity with Christ, by making it physical. I don't know where the pre-communion fast came from, but fasting itself was a big part of the Early Church.
Great answer. How close are you to becoming a catechumen?
I'm planning to start the processes soon. I only just found a parish that I can attend recently.
 

Bob2

High Elder
Joined
Sep 22, 2014
Messages
848
Reaction score
1
Points
18
Faith
Orthodox
rakovsky said:
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
Strictly speaking Matins are supposed to begin as the sun rises and the Six Psalms are prayed, starting with the one about rising in the morning. Right after matins comes liturgy. . Our parish has liturgy at 9 AM.

If you go to sunrise Matins like the priest would, and it takes you serious time to get to church, like a half hour, then breakfast is not really an issue but a potential diversion.

Breakfast means BREAKING a FAST.

Orthodoxy is very very old.

Sunrise is suppose to occur towards the end of Matins at "Glory to Thee who has shown us the light." That's part why I like when Matins is down in the evening and the 6 Psalms are read in darkness except for the readers candle and other lampadas/candles

Also 1st hour, 3rd hour, and 6th hour would be between Matins and Liturgy.
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
Omaha
Faith
Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
Bob2 said:
rakovsky said:
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
Strictly speaking Matins are supposed to begin as the sun rises and the Six Psalms are prayed, starting with the one about rising in the morning. Right after matins comes liturgy. . Our parish has liturgy at 9 AM.

If you go to sunrise Matins like the priest would, and it takes you serious time to get to church, like a half hour, then breakfast is not really an issue but a potential diversion.

Breakfast means BREAKING a FAST.

Orthodoxy is very very old.

Sunrise is suppose to occur towards the end of Matins at "Glory to Thee who has shown us the light." That's part why I like when Matins is down in the evening and the 6 Psalms are read in darkness except for the readers candle and other lampadas/candles

Also 1st hour, 3rd hour, and 6th hour would be between Matins and Liturgy.
Actually, I have heard that the Ainoi (Psalms 148-150) especially the verse "Praise Him, O sun and moon" is supposed to correspond roughly to the rising of the Sun.  WHen I spent time at the monastery, it was always timed perfectly and the first rays of sunlight started peering through the dome at that time. It was beautiful.
 

FinnJames

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
8
Points
38
Age
74
Location
Finland
Faith
Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Orthodox Church of Finland
scamandrius said:
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem.  That may be how Canon Law works in the western churches but not in the Orthodox Church.

But, let's for a moment assume that a council, "innovated" something.  To me your use of the word "innovation" with regards to fasting suggests that fasting really wasn't that important or shouldn't be regarded as important until it was codified.  Innovation can often have negative connotations as something that misses the spirit at the expense of making the letter the more important. 

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no.  I don't know quite how to read the tone of your post, but it sounds like your just dismissing it out of hand because it is in canon law. Do you not think the canons are good and useful for instruction and practice of the faith?
Thank you, scamandrius, for using a request for information to throw the maximal negative light possible on the questioner. I'm exempt from fasting before mid morning communion for health reasons.
 

Indocern

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Aug 5, 2014
Messages
1,351
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Faith
Christian
Jurisdiction
Orthodox
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
Fasting means cleaning the body and spirit, fast days for orthodox christians are given directly by God.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,417
Reaction score
289
Points
83
Age
40
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Faith
Mercenary Freudianism
Jurisdiction
Texas Feminist Coptic
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?
Fasting is a form of spiritual preparation, like prayer, confession of sins, living according to the commandments, etc.  But fasting is among the forms of preparation that involve the body as well as the soul. 

Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
"Always"?  I'm not sure.  Very early on, it seems that the Eucharist was the final act, so to speak, of a community meal, so there would not have been a "pre-Communion fast" in the way we normally understand it.  But when the community meal was dropped (also relatively early), leaving only the celebration of the Eucharist, it seems that some sort of pre-Communion fast became attached to it.  I don't think any council mandated it and then it became a custom, I think it's more likely that it just became the practice and councils simply recognised it, if they addressed it at all. 

Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
The time of the celebration has varied and continues to vary even until today based on pastoral and liturgical requirements.  Where I live, the earliest Sunday morning Liturgy I am aware of begins at 5am and the latest begins at 11am.  In between is a lot of 7am, 8am, 9am, and 10am.   
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,417
Reaction score
289
Points
83
Age
40
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Faith
Mercenary Freudianism
Jurisdiction
Texas Feminist Coptic
scamandrius said:
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem. 
Actually, both exist.

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no. 
Perhaps you define "vital" differently, but assuming a typical dictionary definition, I disagree with you.  It is vital. 
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
20
Points
38
Age
39
Location
PA, USA
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Patriarchate of Johnstown
The monastery closest to me as weekday liturgies at the convenient hour of 3:30 am.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,417
Reaction score
289
Points
83
Age
40
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Faith
Mercenary Freudianism
Jurisdiction
Texas Feminist Coptic
Iconodule said:
The monastery closest to me as weekday liturgies at the convenient hour of 3:30 am.
White Haven?

My local monasteries are much more reasonable.  :p
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
Omaha
Faith
Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
FinnJames said:
scamandrius said:
FinnJames said:
I know that Orthodox Christians are supposed to fast before receiving the Eucharist, but why do we do it?

Related questions for church historians:
Has the per-communion fast always been a part of Orthodoxy, or is it an innovation agreed on at one of the councils or later?
Was there once a time when liturgy started early in the morning rather than mid-morning (10 a.m. seems common)?
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem.  That may be how Canon Law works in the western churches but not in the Orthodox Church.

But, let's for a moment assume that a council, "innovated" something.  To me your use of the word "innovation" with regards to fasting suggests that fasting really wasn't that important or shouldn't be regarded as important until it was codified.  Innovation can often have negative connotations as something that misses the spirit at the expense of making the letter the more important. 

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no.  I don't know quite how to read the tone of your post, but it sounds like your just dismissing it out of hand because it is in canon law. Do you not think the canons are good and useful for instruction and practice of the faith?
Thank you, scamandrius, for using a request for information to throw the maximal negative light possible on the questioner. I'm exempt from fasting before mid morning communion for health reasons.
I wrote "I don't know how to read the tone of your post."  I didn't know something, I admitted I didn't know something and I made a n assumption. Get over yourself.
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
Omaha
Faith
Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem. 
Actually, both exist.

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no. 
Perhaps you define "vital" differently, but assuming a typical dictionary definition, I disagree with you.  It is vital.
Maybe I should have used the word "required."
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,417
Reaction score
289
Points
83
Age
40
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Faith
Mercenary Freudianism
Jurisdiction
Texas Feminist Coptic
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem. 
Actually, both exist.

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no. 
Perhaps you define "vital" differently, but assuming a typical dictionary definition, I disagree with you.  It is vital.
Maybe I should have used the word "required."
Fasting is "vital" and "required". 
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
20
Points
38
Age
39
Location
PA, USA
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Patriarchate of Johnstown
Mor Ephrem said:
Iconodule said:
The monastery closest to me as weekday liturgies at the convenient hour of 3:30 am.
White Haven?

My local monasteries are much more reasonable.  :p
Yeah, them.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,417
Reaction score
289
Points
83
Age
40
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Faith
Mercenary Freudianism
Jurisdiction
Texas Feminist Coptic
Iconodule said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Iconodule said:
The monastery closest to me as weekday liturgies at the convenient hour of 3:30 am.
White Haven?

My local monasteries are much more reasonable.  :p
Yeah, them.
I used to visit them a lot.  Wonderful place. 
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
Omaha
Faith
Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem. 
Actually, both exist.

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no. 
Perhaps you define "vital" differently, but assuming a typical dictionary definition, I disagree with you.  It is vital.
Maybe I should have used the word "required."
Fasting is "vital" and "required".
In a sense, I would agree, but I refrain from going "all in" so as not to risk sounding Pharisaical about it.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,417
Reaction score
289
Points
83
Age
40
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Faith
Mercenary Freudianism
Jurisdiction
Texas Feminist Coptic
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem. 
Actually, both exist.

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no. 
Perhaps you define "vital" differently, but assuming a typical dictionary definition, I disagree with you.  It is vital.
Maybe I should have used the word "required."
Fasting is "vital" and "required".
In a sense, I would agree, but I refrain from going "all in" so as not to risk sounding Pharisaical about it.
There's nothing Pharisaical about it.  Fasting is required, "vital to our salvation".  People require and are granted a blessing to lessen or even omit it for legitimate reasons all the time, but that exception proves the rule.  No one gets a dispensation because "it's not necessary". 
 

Alveus Lacuna

Taxiarches
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,441
Reaction score
22
Points
38
Location
Missouri, USA
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
OCA
Iconodule said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Iconodule said:
The monastery closest to me as weekday liturgies at the convenient hour of 3:30 am.
White Haven?

My local monasteries are much more reasonable.  :p
Yeah, them.
I'm gonna guess they must be an Athonite Monastery, maybe under Elder Ephraim?
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
20
Points
38
Age
39
Location
PA, USA
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Patriarchate of Johnstown
Alveus Lacuna said:
Iconodule said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Iconodule said:
The monastery closest to me as weekday liturgies at the convenient hour of 3:30 am.
White Haven?

My local monasteries are much more reasonable.  :p
Yeah, them.
I'm gonna guess they must be an Athonite Monastery, maybe under Elder Ephraim?
Yes, they are.
 

Alveus Lacuna

Taxiarches
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,441
Reaction score
22
Points
38
Location
Missouri, USA
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
OCA
Iconodule said:
Yes, they are.
My experience of the original in Arizona was was more intense and harsh than I was expecting as an American. No one was unkind or anything, but the environment didn't strike me as very "nurturing" or "Medicinal/hospitalish" or whatever. But the friend I traveled with had a very different experience than I did.
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
20
Points
38
Age
39
Location
PA, USA
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Patriarchate of Johnstown
I've never been to the Arizona monastery, but I've been to the White Haven monastery and also the men's monastery in Roscoe, NY and I never got a harsh vibe from them. The monastics I spoke with were all friendly and welcoming.

The White Haven monastery is about an hour away from St. Tikhon's, btw, so anyone who visits one might as well see the other if time allows.
 

scamandrius

Merarches
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
9,407
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
Omaha
Faith
Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
Mor Ephrem said:
scamandrius said:
I think you have a misunderstanding to the approach of the development of the Canons.  The Canons were codified to confirm and enforce existing practice, not to come up with a novel solution to a problem. 
Actually, both exist.

FAsting is important; is it vital to our salvation?  I'd say no. 
Perhaps you define "vital" differently, but assuming a typical dictionary definition, I disagree with you.  It is vital.
Maybe I should have used the word "required."
Fasting is "vital" and "required".
In a sense, I would agree, but I refrain from going "all in" so as not to risk sounding Pharisaical about it.
There's nothing Pharisaical about it.  Fasting is required, "vital to our salvation".  People require and are granted a blessing to lessen or even omit it for legitimate reasons all the time, but that exception proves the rule.  No one gets a dispensation because "it's not necessary".
I'm not trying to argue that it is not necessary.  I just don't know how to phrase it.
 
Top