Post - it literally refusal of food.That is what Hebrew words mean צוֹם (Tzom) and תַּעֲנִית (ta'anit).In Christianity, Orthodoxy, in particular, the practice of fasting is understood more broadly, one might even say that the ambiguous.For information on how to comply with the Orthodox position, we discuss in this article.
East fasting as a religious practice
In the tradition of Eastern meal - it's fun, peace, order, joy.It is impossible to live a normal life and enjoy when something is wrong, when the soul is eating some grief, threat, distress or accomplished particular act of God.So refusal of food - this is the abandonment of their own lives, from the power over it, it's an invitation to God to act in his place.On the other hand, it is also a search for God, longing for him, but because the renunciation of earthly pleasures.This is the essence of fasting.And despite centuries of religious reflection, in principle, it has not changed.
can recall the prophets Moses, Elijah, the Apostle Paul and Christ himself, who held this post.How to keep this purely biblical form of austerity, can learn from their example: to retire, give up the food, water and any entertainment, spending time in prayer.
Christianity as the religion of the Bible, encourages this form of fasting, though in a somewhat modified form.In short, Christians replaced abstinence from eating more or less severe its limitation.As a result, there was a whole culture, draws up the post.How to comply with it, subject to special rules and regulations, and there is even a lean cuisine.Orthodoxy is - is no exception.The Eastern Church Byzantine tradition prescribes more than one hundred meatless days a year, as will be said.However, the meaning of the Orthodox asceticism far deeper than the question of what to eat in the post and what not to eat.
Fasting in the Bible
Orthodoxy is considered that the post commanded by God to humanity even in paradise.In this vein, interpreted by some Holy Fathers forbade Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, what is narrated in the book "Genesis".
the whole scripture of the Jews and Christians, cites the following reasons for the appointment of public posts: family grief (2 v. Samuel 12:16), sorrow at the church (Matt. 9: 14-15), the impending danger (Esther 4: 3, 16), public disaster (2 books. Samuel 1:12), when making important decisions (Acts. 13: 1-3).
However, the only direct command of God on fasting in the Bible is found only once, and it concerns the celebration of the Day of Atonement, which falls on the tenth day of the seventh month on the Jewish calendar (Lev. 16: 29-31).
remaining positions mentioned in the Bible, people nominated themselves.There are four main motive for them:
1. The memory of something important.
3. Search the favor and guidance from above.
Tribute significant events
In this case, the main reason for fasting is the need to preserve the ancestral memory of the most important events.Vivid illustrations of this practice are the positions in the memory of Moses smashing the two stone tablets of the Law (Ex. 32), the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (4 Kgs. 24-25; 2 Par.36; Jer. 52.4), the burning of the Temple of Solomon (2 Chron.36.19; Zech. 7: 3).
sake of repentance of sins
obvious that repentance and begging God's forgiveness for their sins is incompatible with the pursuit of pleasure and joy.Therefore to him naturally adds the post.For example, we can recall the repentance of the Jews of polytheism and worship to foreign gods (1Tsar.7: 3-6), repentance on behalf of the people of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9: 3-19), repentance, the people of Nineveh after the preaching of Jonah (Jonah. 3:6-9).Regarding the latter case, it is interesting that the post was imposed not only on individuals but also on livestock.
Search benevolence and guidance over
In a situation when the people of a particular community faced a choice, and the right decision was not obvious, often the decision to impose the post, so as to ask for tips from God.Thus, for example, the Israelites fasted before a battle with the tribe of Benjamin (Jud. 20: 26-28).In order to please God often fasted prophetess Anna, which is narrated in the Gospel of Luke.
Post for protection against enemies
also resorted to the post to secure the protection of the Almighty from enemies.The man who keeps the post, brought him as a sacrifice to God, hoping to find an answer in favor and protection in the confrontation with its enemies.So fasting, for example, the Jews, when the king Ahasuerus signed a decree on their extermination (Est. 4: 3).Very often, as individuals and groups and even nations were fasting, asking God for protection from persecutors.A vivid illustration of this post - a prayer of King David (Ps. 108: 24).
fasting in Orthodoxy
For believers in Christ, initially there were no special fast days.Members of the church fasted when considered necessary, so that the positions were not a regular practice, depending on the calendar.Over time, however, the church life been formalized.In the weekly and annual round steel stands out fasting days in each year prescribes fasting all believers.
Firstly, it concerns the so-called Great Lent or Holy Forty.This post precedes Easter.It also has something to do with Christ's forty-day period of abstinence from food and drink, which is narrated in the Gospels.
Another fairly early Christian practice - is a post on the day (Wednesday and Friday).The fact that the Jews practiced abstinence from food on Mondays and Thursdays.That was their mandatory weekly post.How to abide by Christians, who at that time were strongly influenced by the synagogue?This question is answered in different ways, but in the end, when the Jews were subjected to curse the Christians, the latter quickly decided for myself that fast with the infidels, they can not, and moved fast days on Wednesday and Friday.The formal reason for this was the need to honor the days of betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.This practice is very well taken root.So far, the post of days of mourning Christ practiced in the Orthodox Church.In general, to date, according to the oriental monastic rule, the total number of days in a year, which is prescribed more or less strict abstinence is from 178 to 212.
duration of fasting in the Orthodox
On the pages of the Bible we meet 1- 3-, 7-, 21- and 40-day fast.Most narratives of post says nothing about its duration.In Orthodoxy, there are many one-day posts and four multi-day.Duration of one of them dedicated to the Day of memory Apostles Peter and Paul, changes from year to year depending on the date of Easter.Abstinence for a few hours, which is common in the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church does not practice.
Orthodox feasts and fasts
Most blog Orthodoxy played a preparatory role to one or another holiday.On Easter day, and the memory of the Apostles Peter and Paul, mentioned above.Likewise is the case with the Epiphany, the Assumption and Christmas.
displeasing to God post
Responding to questions about what a post, how to comply with it, why you need it, we must also discuss the objectionable post.In the Bible, there are, for example, abstaining from food King Saul, from whom God has turned away (1 Sam. 28:20).The same is narrated in the book of Acts, when told about the Jews, to impose on a vow not to eat or drink until the time is not going to kill the apostle Paul.
In general we can say that a post objectionable to the Lord when in the background of abstinence in food a person abstains sins.Another reason why austerity can not be accepted by God, is that it is securing such favor in the bad thing.But the latter motive is rarely applicable to the modern church reality.The fact is that with the development of the general church practice blog personal, spontaneous single overlay the post has practically disappeared in the Orthodox Church, preserved only in Protestantism.
also need to touch on the theme of legalism, that is a purely formal compliance with the restrictions.About this vicious practice mentioned and the Old Testament prophets, and Christ himself, when asked about the post.How to comply with it, according to the Savior?Do not take a sad look, not to show others his position to the post remained, as far as possible, without the knowledge of the people, being devoted to God alone.Unfortunately, according to the founder of Christianity, not all heeded his followers.
I must say that in contemporary Orthodoxy most believers do not practice fasting as a spiritual exercise.For most of them, including the clergy, it's just the ban when certain products are not authorized for use.Thus, the secondary question of what to eat in the post and what not to eat, it is the main and often the only content of this ancient ascetic practices.
Another sin is impaired fasting - pride.In other words, it is not considered a spiritually useful practice such austerity, which causes a person to consider himself more righteous than others.