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  1 THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE FASTING IN ORTHODOXY, CROWNED BY THE MYSTERY OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST INTRODUCTION The teaching of our Church about the Orthodox Fasting - with its benefits and blessings In the contemporary orthodox theology, the fasting problem finds itself among the main concerns. Haing regard to the c!rrent state of disc!ssion on this s!b"ect, #e #ill o!tline some aspects of this iss!e, especially insisting on the script!ral fo!ndations and treatment of the $athers of the %rimary Ch!rch. &i'e#ise, fasting is also a means of moral  perfection, b!t also a #ay of helping the neighbo!r from the s!perfl!o!s gathered by ol!ntary ren!nciation of the rightf!l cons!mption of goods ()*.+eca!se of the 'inds of fasting or of the daily or longtime fasting, it #as #ritten in aclear and detailed manner on many occasions and in many places, and the ie#s of the Romanian theologians regarding the read"!stment of the proisions reg!lating the fasting #ere broadly presented, #e #ill present the fast from the point of ie# of the -aint ohn Cassian the Roman and -t. +asil the /reat, the first depicting the fasting in a totally ne# ision and totally foreign to many Christians of o!r day, and the second being one of the greatest Holy $athers #hom the 0ast #as able to gie.1ost Christians no#adays 'no# the traditional definition of fasting, !nderstanding itli'e a simple abstinence from certain foods and beerages, not 'no#ing the controersy of this theme bet#een the 0ast and the 2est, especially in the age of primary Christianity, not 'no#ing that the Holy $athers hae deeloped on this s!b"ect real Teachings of $aith, #hich at first glance seems to be a simple $aith, b!t #hich the Orthodox Ch!rch has presered !nchanged to this day (3*.The fast in the Orthodox ision is a means of the so!l eleation, of the so!l dominating oer the bodily passions. The fast discards and reliees the Christian of all the temptations, of the ballast and of the b!rden of the #ic'ed schemes that bring 4a dar'ening of tho!ghts and a dist!rbance of the fingers4. It is a pleasant sacrifice to /od, or in other #ords an act of #orship, is an act of repentance for the committed sins, and an exercise that sets the  beginning of the irt!es of all 'inds.$or the Orthodox Christian, fasting is a prere5!isite for ac5!iring holiness. In the Orthodox ie# bet#een fasting and holiness there is a close correlation. It is also expressed inthe #ay in #hich #e represent the saints in iconography #here they al#ays appear #ith #ea',thin, transfig!red faces d!e to fasting. The fast is a par excellence feat!re of Orthodoxy and a  2 trait of Orthodox Christianity, and in the pop!lar Orthodox mentality the one #ho does not fast is regarded as defiled and pagan.6fter the apostolic period, the theological literat!re of $athers and ch!rch #riters depicts n!mero!s references to the practice of the post. Th!s, the Didache7The Teachings8 of the )3 6postles sho#s that Christians m!st fast on 2ednesdays and $ridays, in remembrance of the sad eents of the life of o!r -aior es!s Christ9 His arrest and cr!cifixion on the cross. -aint Clement of Rome in the second 0pistle to the Corinthians, spea'ing of the connection  bet#een prayer and fasting, sho#s that 4 fasting is better than prayer4 (:*.-tarting #ith the apostolic and postapostolic times, the fasting on 2ednesday and $riday, as #ell as 0aster $asting7&ent8, became a holy and enerable instit!tion for Christians.Th!s, the apostolic canon ;< emphasi=es the command of the fasting for the members of the Ch!rch9 4If any bishop or presbyter, or deacon, or ipodiacon, or read, or singer, don>t fast the /reat 0asyer $ast7the &ent8, or on 2ednesdays and $ridays thro!gho!t the year shall be defroc'ed and if he is a layperson shall be laid !nder the ban of the ch!rch. 4The post in the ision of the -aint ohn Cassian the Roman-aint Casian The Roman in his #or' 46bo!t the 0ight 0il Tho!ghts 4 (?* treats the fasting from a completely different ie# of other Holy $athers, #itho!t emphasi=ing the Ch!rch@s order or the teachings deeloped in the early age, and treats the fast from a script!ral perspectie and a more personal ision.The first of the eight tho!ghts of #ic'edness is called 46bo!t the 6bstention of +elly4 (A*, so it is called the fasting after the -aint Cassian. 6 m!ch more !sef!l fast both for the body and for the so!l is not fasting for a certain period, b!t the fast held eery day. -aint Casian does not emphasi=e the days #hen a Christian sho!ld fast or ho# to fast, he says abo!tthe indiid!al #ishes of each Christian beca!se they do not all hae the same po#er of dedication, and not all ordinary people can fast as mon's, b!t each he has to fast as he can. 6 ery bea!tif!l example borro#s it from the Holy $athers, saying9 46nd the $athers said that one eating t#o liters of bread is still h!ngry, and another eating a po!nd or six o!nces, (;* eatshis fill4 (B*.The fasting in the Holy $ather@s ision is that al#ays the one #ho is at the table sho!ld be#are of the satiety of abdomen, for #ith it comes other passions li'e the tho!ght of fornication. -aint Cassian !rges Christians not to deceie themseles that they fast, b!t they eat !ntil their fill, beca!se it does not matter #ith #hat the belly is satieted, #hether it is only #ater, the spirit of fornication appears and once it appears, it is almost impossible to be  banished. $or een -odom did not enrich #ith #ine and other good things, b!t only #ith  bread, as the %rophet says(*. The heart becomes strong not #hen the body gies it #hat  pleas!re #ants, b!t #hat #ea'ness re5!ires, beca!se the pleas!res come from Deil, and defile the body, defiling at the same time the heart and in this #ay the Christian departs from /od and forgets Him. Receiing food #ith moderation gies the body health and does not ta'e its holiness, as -aint %a!l says9 4Do not ta'e care of the body to the l!st4 (<*.-aint Casian reminds !s, ho#eer, that #hile not emphasi=ing the other parts of the fasting, they m!st not be absent beca!se the so!l can not be cleansed #itho!t the other irt!es, beca!se by eating the food till his fill, the Christian no longer has the po#er to fight #ith the Deil and #ith the temptations #hich the Deil brings to the one, #ho preio!sly has eaten  3 greedly. The Christian only thro!gh fasting, spirit!al #atching, reading the Holy -cript!re, and trying to ac5!ire as many irt!es as possible can sae his so!l and reach the p!rpose for #hich he #as created to resemble /od.6ltho!gh other Holy $athers hae spo'en and #ritten abo!t the fast, -aint Casian theRoman is one of the fe# that emphasi=es this side of the fasting, most of them trying to expose the script!ral fo!ndations of the fast or a certain r!le of this practice,after #hich the Christian has to g!ide and adance in irt!e and faith, others hae #ritten abo!t the interconfessional differences regarding the fasting, b!t -aint Casian #as one of the fe# #ho related to this aspect of capability and restraint.-cript!ral basics of the fast$asting, as a total or partial abstinence from certain dishes, for a shorter or longer  period is a ery old practice. It is a diine commandment that #e find form!lated right from the beginning of creation #hen /od addresses the first man by saying to him9 4Of eery tree of the garden, yo! may freely eat9 b!t from the tree of 'no#ledge of good and eil yo! shall not eat of it for the day #hen yo! eat thereof yo! s!rely die4()E*. This "!stifies -t. +asil the /reat to state that 4the fast is the same age as man'ind, beca!se he #as legali=ed in %aradise4 ())*.The la# of 1oses, #hich he receied after a ?Eday post, reg!lates in detail the  proisions regarding fasting in the Old Testament, specifying especially the time of fasting. Th!s, the post of the day of cleansing or atonement is 'no#n on the tenth day of seenth, #hen so!ls m!st be h!mbled by fasting()3*.To these #ere added other general fastings in different months 7fo!rth, fifth, sixth and tenth8. 6ll these fastings #ere only one day fastings. 6long the time, the e#s came to fastone day in each month, and the most =ealo!s 7%harisees8 t#o days a #ee' on 1ondays and Th!rsdays9 4I fast t#ice a #ee', I gie tithes of all #hat I possess4():*.The Old Testament also recalls special general fastings, also practiced in ario!s sad circ!mstances of the e#ish people@s life, or for the remoal of some diine p!nishments. ()?*6lso, in the Old Testament, the partic!lar or indiid!al fasting is practiced, s!ch as 1oses@ fast of ?E days ()A*, or the fasting of Daniil in +abylon, #hich lasted three #ee's ();*,of the Fing Daid ()B* , or of the 0li"ah prophet ()*, and the predicter 6na ()<*.+oth the general and the priate posts #ere accompanied by acts of repentance, the fasting p!rs!ing the h!mility and piety before /od and the diminishing the bodily pleas!res.O!r -aior es!s Christ also fasted before the beginning of His p!blic #or'. 6fter his?Eday fast in the #ilderness, He began the preaching, sho#ing the close correlation in the  process of moral perfection. (3E*.He also ta!ght His disciples ho# to fast, emphasi=ing the state of mind corresponding to this act #hich m!st not be only formlly done. (3)* He also pointed o!t that fasting m!st be accompanied by prayer, being a means of fighting ers!s the deil@s temptation(33*.Indeed, in many places in the Ne# Testament, fasting is recommended li'e an improement, respectiely a spirit!al eleation and repentance means (3:*.  4 $ollo#ing the example of the -aior es!s Christ, the fast #as practiced by the Holy 6postles, especially before they began their ministry of preaching the gospel. They fasted and ta!ght their disciples and follo#ers to practice the !nited fast #ith prayer. (3?*0tymologically, the fast is defined as a period of time preceding a feast. 6lso, this term refers to total restraint or abstinence from food and drin' for a shorter or longer period of time, a practice enco!ntered in many religions of the #orld. (3A*.40en from the beginning, /od ma'ing man gae and entr!sted him in the hands of fasting and li'e to a loing mother and a s'illf!l teacher entr!sted the fast #ith his salation4 7-t. +asil the /reat8.The fast is the restraint from all the dishes or in case of disease only from some, as #ell as from the beerages and from all the #orldly and eil desires, een to 'ill the bodly l!sts and to receie the grace of /od.In the Old Testament, #e find the grace of fastings thro!gh the prophet Isaiah, #ho,  by denying the e#ish fast, sho#s !s the tr!e fast. Often #e are sadly thin'ing abo!t the approaching fastings, b!t #e m!st 'no# that 4the sad one does not receie the cro#n, and theone #ho sighs does not #in4 (3;*.The fast is the most effectie method to 'ill the sin hidden in o!r depth. -t. +asil the /reat !rges !s to r!n "oyf!lly to the gift of fasting, a ne# and al#ays blooming one. (3B*.2e 'no# that 1oses thro!gh the his fast #ent !p the mo!ntain, een if do#n at the foot of the mo!ntain, greed for food ma'es people #orship the idols9 4the people, says -cript!re, sat do#n to eat and drin', and stood !p to play.4 If 1oses had not been armed #ith the post, he #o!ld not hae dared to approach, nor #o!ld he hae dared to enter the clo!d.+y the fast #e receied the #ritten commandments, and 4the fast bears the prophets, strengthens the strong ones the fast brings #isdom the legislators the post is a good so!l talisman, a faithf!l fello# of the body, a #eapon for fighters, a place of exercise for the athletes of faith. 1oreoer, the image of the people liing in %aradise is a pict!re of the fast, not only beca!se, leading an angelic life, they hae come to the reseamblance #ith the angels, b!t also beca!se the inhabitants of paradise #ere not 'no#n all that man later inented 4(3*.  5 Concl!sion 6fter all of this is said, #e m!st remember that no matter ho# limited o!r fasting is, if it is a tr!e and sincere fast, it #ill lead to temptation, #ea'ness, do!bt and disorder. In other #ords, it #ill be a real fight, and #e #ill probably fall many times. +!t the tr!e discoery of the Christian life as a str!ggle and an effort is the essential feat!re of fasting. 6 faith that has not oercome do!bts and temptation is rarely a tr!e faith. Unfort!nately, no progress is  possible in Christian life #itho!t the bitter experience of falls.Too many start enth!siastically and gie !p after the first fall. If, after #e hae fallen and s!b"ected to o!r l!sts and passions, #e res!me all oer again and do not gie !p no matter ho# many times #e sooner or later fall, o!r fast #ill bear its spirit!al benefits. -o it@s better and safer to start from a minim!m  "!st a little oer o!r nat!ral possibilities  and increase o!r effort a little bit than try to "!mp to the top and brea' some bones #hen #e get bac' to the earth. In short9 from a symbolic and nominal position  as a d!ty and a habit  #e m!st ret!rn to the real fast. +et#een sanctity and cynicism that a#a'ens !s from any ill!sion is the great and diine irt!e of patience G the patience, first of all, #ith o!rseles. There is no shorter #ay to holiness for eery step #e hae to ma'e a total sacrifice.+e limited and h!mble, b!t consistent and serio!s. 2e hae to honestly estimate o!r spirit!al and physical capability, and accordingly act  remembering, ho#eer, that no post #itho!t aro!sing of this capability, #itho!t entering into o!r lies a diine eidence, that the things that are impossible for men are possible to /od.  About the Holy and Divine Eucharist ... +efore penetrating into the reflections on the Diine &it!rgy, to really !nderstand #hat it is, #hat means its role in Christian life #e hae to begin by sho#ing its fo!ndation and the basis for the other Holy 1ysteries in es!s Christ, li'e /od1an. This f!ndament lies #ithin the stable principle of the expression that the Tr!th is the %erson of es!s Christ and that o!r life means participation, experience, comm!nion #ith es!s Christ as %erson and &ife. And the word was !ade flesh" and dwelt a!ong us# 7ohn, ), )?8 represents the fo!ndation and the ne# "oy of the Ch!rch. He has left His +ody 7the Ch!rch8 and sent His -pirit and not a philosophical system, and He has not fo!nded a ne# religion. $rom the  beginnings till the present day, #e find it closely aro!nd the Table of the &ord9 $And they continued in the teaching of the A%ostles" and in the Co!!union" in the bred brea&ing and in  %rayers"$ says the Acts of the A%ostles  in chapter 3.?3. -ince then, in a permanent state of obedience, the Ch!rch, as the body of es!s Christ and the Comm!nion of the Holy -pirit, is faithf!l to the -aior@s admonition from the &ast -!pper9 #This do in re!e!brance of  'e#(  &!'e, 33, )<8. Here in its lit!rgical gathering7-ynaxis8, lies the so!rce of life, its center, from here the ne# teaching, the grace of the saints and the #ay in #hich it leads. Tr!th is life its sharing of life9 )erily" verily" * say unto you" exce%t you eat the flesh of the +on of 'an and drin&  His blood" ,ou have no life in you#(  ohn, ;, A:8.

Stili Stica

Mar 16, 2018
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