The 19th century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky famously quipped in his novel The Brothers Karamazov, that “Without God, everything is permitted.” It stands to reason then, that the reciprocal of this statement might be that “With God, some things are not permitted”. If any of my readers ponder this for a few moments, you may see the idea of concience beginning to take root, and some elements of law. Continue reading
I’m posting this guide under its own category so that Orthodox Christians, or any willing believer who wishes to keep the fasts, will have a handy online resource from which to remind themselves of the basic fasts and their rules.
The Church’s traditional teaching on fasting is not widely known or followed in our day. For those Orthodox Christians who are seeking to keep a more disciplined fast, the following information may be helpful. In addition to the ordinary Wednesday and Friday fasts, there are four major fasts or Lents, and several other fasts as is explained below.
Please Do Attempt to Try This at Home
Though the fasting rules may appear quite strict to those who have not seen them before, they were developed with all of the faithful, not only monks, in mind. (Monks do not eat meat, so rules regarding the eating of meat cannot have been written with them in mind. Similarly rules regarding marital abstinence apply only to the laity and married clergy.) Though few laymen are able to keep the rule in its fullness, it seems best to present it mostly without judgement of what level is “appropriate” for the laity, since this is a matter best worked out in each Christian’s own setting, under the guidance of his spiritual fathers.