Fasting in the Christian Orthodox Tradition

An empty bowl centered in the middle of the image with a spoon on the right

The first rule in fasting is to know why you are fasting.

It is not to go on a weight loss diet or to boast that you are following all the fasting rules for God. God does not need our perfect adherence to it.

Rather it is a tool to make us better. But better how?

When I was searching for ways to lose weight, I tried many diets. But they still were not effective in the long run.

Mostly in part to my weakness, but also because it was the wrong approach.

Bodily and Spiritual health is connected. When the spirit is healthy, the body is too, and vice-versa. But don’t allow yourself to judge others based solely on this fact, there are many saints who were overweight, and we cannot speculate God’s salvation for each individual person.

In retrospect, I see that my focus was earthly. To look good, attract many, and get laid.

But thankfully God reviled to me the emptiness that path lead to, and saved me from my unstoppable corruption.

Taking care of the outside, of course, is not sinful in itself. Quite the opposite, we are to cherish our bodies, and like the blog is named, we must remember that our bodies are the temple through which the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

But my problem was FIRST neglecting the spiritual diet.

Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Matthew 23:26

While my desire was to appear good on the outside, I succumbed to lust and pornography. And in this shame, my only outlet was food again.

In this vicious cycle, dieting was additional stress I should not have taken up.

Getting over lust and pornography is another big topic; however, had I put my full trust in the church, I would have saved myself a lot of consequences.

The church is a hospital, and this is the perfect place to heal from not only bodily illnesses but most importantly spiritual illnesses.

No patient heals in a day, but all patients have to see a doctor. After which a prescription is given.

The prescription for fasting depends highly on your spiritual father who takes into account your ability and discernment.

Otherwise following a church calendar as this one will get you going.

Fast Type No restrictions
Cheesefare Everything except, meet products like poultry and beef
Fish Free In addition to the above row, no dairy products or eggs are allowed
FastIn addition to the above row, no fish
Strict Fast In addition to the above row, no oil or alcohol

If you find this easy, that might be of concern which should be discussed with your spiritual guide. Additional difficulties might be prescribed such as xerophagy or water fasting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.