Saturday, November 14, 2009

How Should I Fast?

We begin the Advent Fast tomorrow, I offer the following suggestions. As always we should consult our Spiritual Father for personal guidance when it come to fasting and other spiritual disciplines. Since many Orthodox Christians and other non-Orthodox Christians do not fast, I have found the general guidelines below very beneficial in establishing a fasting discipline.

The following are some suggested guidelines for Advent Lent this year.
 If you currently do not fast regularly or at all… abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays
 If you currently fast from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays… abstain from meat every day during Advent until Christmas
 If you currently fast… increase your fasting one “level” this year following the example above beginning with Wednesdays and Fridays.

Suggested Fasting Levels in the Orthodox Christian Tradition
1. Abstain from meat
2. Abstain from meat and dairy products
3. Abstain from fish
4. Abstain from wine and oil
5. Abstain from cooked foods

It has always been the understanding of the Church that fasting is forbidden for those who have a medical condition requiring food for medications or other requirements such as pregnant mothers. We must remember that fasting is a spiritual discipline and not meant to cause physical harm.


magda said...

Cooked foods?

Fr. Athanasios C Haros said...

Yes, cooked foods meaning only raw fruits and veggies and nuts and berries etc. It is called the "dry eating" in Greek.