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Tomorrow being the commemoration of the beheading of St. John the Baptist (at least, on the New Calendar), I got to thinking, how do different Orthodox individuals and cultures observe strict fast days? I have always understood that, ideally, on strict fast days one does not eat or drink anything at all until after Vespers. Personally, I can\'t keep the fast that strictly because I need some food and drink to get through the workday. How do pious Orthodox laypeople in, say, Russia or Greece (or elsewhere, including America) keep the fast while living (and working) in the secular world?
Well, on this particular day, the Beheading of the Honorable Forerunner and Baptist John, we don\'t eat anything off of plates, remembering that St. John\'s head was delivered to the iniquitous queen Herodius on a platter.
Talk to your priest or spiritual father/mother regarding what level of fasting would be appropriate for you. I know that fasting of any sort is generally discouraged by the Church (including according to Canon Law, as mentioned in the canons of Bishop Timothy of Alexandria) for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as it is seen as more important that such women maintain proper nourishment for the sake of the baby (born or unborn). Similarly, allowances are made for diabetics, and for people with other medical conditions where deprivation of food, or of certain types of food, would lead to a deterioration of their health. Fasting is for one\'s spiritual, as well as physical, benefit, but the Church has long allowed for variations of the strict practice to accommodate genuine illness or circumstances, such as those I have mentioned.
I wasn\'t asking for advice so much as wondering what laypeople in different Orthodox cultures typically practice.
talking about me i eat during the day before vespers...and i think most of the people in my country do.we always try as far as we can and not any further...thats sure a spiritual advice.
[quote] [b]ReaderJohn wrote:[/b] Well, on this particular day, the Beheading of the Honorable Forerunner and Baptist John, we don\'t eat anything off of plates, remembering that St. John\'s head was delivered to the iniquitous queen Herodius on a platter.[/quote] What Mother Church practices this custom?
Many Churches practice very interesting customs associated with the Feast of the Beheading of St. John. Again, these are simply pious customs, some of which are: -don\'t eat off round plates (as already mentioned) -don\'t use knives of sharp tools -don\'t eat anything red -don\'t eat anything that comes in a head (lettuce, cabbage) Not that there\'s anything \"spiritual\" about these customs, just various pious customs. On fasting...the ideal on a strict fast day is one meal, Lenten, after Vespers. This Feast also happens to be a wine and oil day. For people who work (and anyone, actually), it is really the spiritual father\'s call. I have one man who works a very challenging job who keeps the fast, but for most I recommend to eat a very small meal in the early afternoon (lunch break), to maintain as much of the spirit of the fast as they can.
I\'ve heard about the \"plate\" tradition but not the Lettuce one. I like it! I find it interesting to seee how people express their faith in \"extra credit\" gestures. These aren\'t required or dictated- they\'re just an expression of love.
not eating anything before vespers? wow that\'s some fast. As a Greek Orthodox, we dont eat or drink anything that is dairy, wine, or anything that has oil. We dont eat meat as well as fish till the next day. If a big fast day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, we can have oil and wine but not the rest. We fast on Wednesdays and Fridays for the whole year expet for a few after Pascha. During those two days we fast like if it was a big day. No wine, no oil, no meat and nor dairy.
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