From this we learn that following His Passion, Christians would be expected to fast. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos) These are some of the questions one should ponder. It is in love and faith and worship that we are truly members of the Church.From this standpoint, one can more clearly see that a local parish lives up to its true task and is a most genuine expression of the Church when its activity and its life center on the heart of the matter, true membership, expressed in faith, love, and worship. "How do we fast?" Wearing white if female or a black suit if male, they approach the priest at the altar, tilt their heads back and open their mouths to receive (leavened) bread and wine that represents the body and blood of Christ. There are three different types of liturgies that are performed for first time communion receivers: the liturgy of St. James, performed only on his feast day on October 23rd; the liturgy of St. The most common fast can be considered "earthly", rather than "spiritual". The Orthodox Christian understanding of fasting is based upon Holy Scripture.We read in Genesis 2:15-3:24 that Adam and Eve were directed by the Lord God to fast from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The purpose of a spiritual fast is to overcome the passions. The thing we do is to change the types of food we eat. "Fasting has to always be tempered by obedience: one does not decide for himself how he will fast, but must always fast only with the blessing of his Spiritual Father. We have been taught many things about fasting. On fast days we abstain from meat or meat products, dairy products (eggs, milk, cheese, etc. The Divine Liturgy is our invitation to partake of the Lord's banquet and we are to receive the Holy Gift, in other words, Holy Communion, or the "antidoron", which means, "instead of the Gift". While all Catholics partake in the holy sacrament of First Communion, also called the Eucharist, Greek Orthodox Catholics differ in a few ways: they have the Eucharist placed in their mouths instead of taking it by hand - Roman Catholics can do either at their preference - and Greek Orthodox Catholics are served leavened bread. In obedience to the Lord, this is why we fast!People fast for different reasons. St. Seraphim of Sarov said, "One who does not observe the fasts is not a Christian, no matter what he considers or calls himself. During these fasts which have been established by the Church, all who are able to fast should fast, whether they are going to take Holy Communion or not! - Orthodox Reflections, The Inverse Pyramid: A Comparison of Secular and Ecclesial Hierarchy, Why I’m Not A Universalist – Ancient Insights, The Rejection of Universalism in the Triodion. Unfortunately, many of our beliefs about fasting fall short of the true canonical practice of preparation for Holy Communion in that we forget that fasting and prayer must go hand in hand.Each of us has been taught various things about "Fasting". In Luke 5:33-35, we see how the Jewish leaders asked Christ why His disciples were not fasting. Therefore, our preparation for Holy Communion is not only spiritual, involving the soul through repentance, Holy Confession, and prayer, but also physical by fasting. After children receive communion for the first time, they are encouraged to do so every week but only after they've confessed their sins. Your email address will not be published. The tendency to over-emphasize external rules about food in a legalistic way, and the opposite tendency to scorn these rules as outdated and unnecessary, are both alike to be deplored. Before going to church, children ask their parents for forgiveness, and parents, likewise, ask forgiveness of their children. Besides prayer, we must also practice almsgiving, i.e., helping those in need. In every Divine Liturgy, however, the faithful are expected to approach and receive the Lord. Basil the Great, which is performed ten times- once during the feast of St. The Fathers teach that we should always leave the table feeling a bit hungry since too much food removes the desire to pray.Always remember to keep the spirit of the fast, not just the rules. In His earthly ministry, Christ set the example of fasting for all of us to follow. Horeb; 3.) One should not eat or drink anything from the time one goes to sleep the night before he plans to partake of the Holy Eucharist. The Orthodox Church, regarding man as a unity of soul and body, has always insisted that the body must be trained and disciplined, as well as, the soul. Arch Toronto: Preparing for and Celebrating Sacraments with Children in the Archdiocese of Toronto. (Matthew 6:16-17).Orthodoxy insists on a strict fast before Communion, and nothing can be eaten or drunk after the previous midnight. On fast days we are to pray and reflect upon our lives and the stewardship we offer to God. Thinking that we are to take Communion is obviously the most important part, accompanied by a sincere effort to examine our life, its goals, values, aspirations, and characteristics. How tremendous if parents would discuss some of the questions with their children!Secondly, heartfelt prayer is an essential pre-requisite to preparing for Holy Communion. Here are some common questions many ask about fasting:"Besides Wednesdays (the day Judas betrayed Christ), and Fridays (the day of our Lord's crucifixion), when are we supposed to fast?" Based on the Word Net lexical database for the English Language. All of these things captivate the soul, subjecting the man created in the image and likeness of God to things that are earthly." For example, parables such as the story about the prodigal son help children understand the concepts of unconditional love, atonement and forgiveness. What are my values and priorities? The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has issued numerous documents instructing its parish priests, as well as faithful, how to deal with the latest coronavirus epidemic which is spreading worldwide. Further, Greek Orthodox Catholics believe that if a non-member takes communion, they are consuming the body and blood of Christ without either believing they are, or having undergone baptism and confirmation. If one truly desires to overcome such passions, one must allow fasting and prayer to go hand in hand.Another reason for fasting is to grow closer to God. When Greek Orthodox Catholics have met the basic requirements of baptism and confirmation, and the optional additional Catechism school education, they are ready to receive their first communion. Christ experienced temptation and hunger, but He did not sin. What do I hold most dear? This does not mean that the food should taste terrible, but it should not be a gourmet meal either. In other words they are outright afraid of receiving Holy Communion from the same chalice and by the same communion spoon. What one does eat is fruit and vegetables. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 26:26-28, 1 Cor. When preparing food for fast days it should be simple rather than rich. In Acts 10:10, Peter was in a state of hunger and fasting when he received a revelation from God; 5.) We have been told so many things that we tend to neglect everything we have been taught completely. They chose to disobey God and since they did not keep this simple fast, they were expelled from Paradise.In the New Testament we see that Christ is the New Adam. At its simplest, this consists solely of being baptized and confirmed -- the holy sacraments symbolically relational of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. There are four fast periods throughout the year: 1.) "A passion is anything that has control over us, be it over-eating, smoking, watching too much television, lustful thoughts, gossiping, etc., etc., etc. Further, Orthodox Christianity does not permit its faithful to receive Holy Communion in non-Orthodox communities, whether they be Roman Catholic, Protestant, or whatever. All eight of the other Greek Orthodox diocesan hierarchs in the United States have stipulated that distribution of Holy Communion should continue as usual via a communal spoon.