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St. Philip`s Fast #55612 11/13/02 04:20 PM
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Adam DeVille Offline OP
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For those of us on the Gregorian calendar, this Thursday marks the beginning of the St. Philip`s Fast. There are competing ideas there about how to practice this and how strict to be, so I`m wondering what members of this Forum will be undertaking. For my part, while I find there is, paradoxically, much joy in fasting and self-denial, I have to admit that I cannot quite get my head around having the Christmas fast as strict as the Great Fast. Psychologically, this doesn`t work for me, and spiritually it seems problematic insofar as we have all sorts of wonderful liturgical supports for the Great Fast but far less so for Christmas–and far more temptations, too, with a Christmas party every other day at one`s office, school, church, etc. It seems to me the spirit of penance (of which we can never do enough, I freely admit) somehow should not be quite so severe at this time of year. Does that make sense? Any reflections to offer?

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55613 11/13/02 04:38 PM
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Dmitri Rostovski Offline
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I have always viewed Phillip's Fast as more of a spiritual and less temporal period of restriction and temperance whereas the Great Fast is both. Although I try to keep the fasting rules that the Church mandates for this period, I am not as strict on myself as I am for the Great Fast. Perhaps this year the Lord will give me the strength to do it right all the way through. With the way we eat here in my city, it gets a little tough...

Dmitri

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55614 11/14/02 02:59 AM
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Herbigny Offline
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Adam,

I can tackle maybe the easy part of your question.

Yes, you are right that St. Phil's Fast has no liturgical support. There is liturgically only the preFeastive, which comes a scant few days before Nativity! This probably means that it is a fairly late development in the history of our Churches.

And no need to "get your head around it..." because it is not as strict a fast as the Great Fast [ergo not the "Great Fast"]. It starts off very gradually and builts up until at the last stage it culminates in a penitential crescendo equal to that of the Great Fast cool or for that matter the Dormition Fast [same rules as the Great Fast but for only 2 weeks].

It's all there in the Liturgical Calendar published by St. John of Kronstadt [mutatis mutandis for the Greg Calendar].

I find it a GREAT help in preparing for the "Winter Pascha" culminating in Theophany. Especially as it helps me to resist the now not so slow descent of "the World" into consumerism and weird "Seasonal" Festivities.

Plus it helps us to really CELEBRATE Theophany and the Nativity, especially after the World has done with Xmas, which for them suddenly disappears in a Poof!!! right after the big Xmas supper [with residual tremours during Box day sales]. People immediately stop saying Merry Xmas, while we joyfully greet each other with "Christ is Born!" or "Christ is Baptised!"

Happy St. Philip to all NeoCalendarists!

herb

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55615 11/15/02 05:36 PM
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Herbigny Offline
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ps:
I was informed that St. Philip's Fast was a monastic fast, ergo not "binding" upon non-monastics. The source of my information was a Greek Orthodox priest, who is also a well respected Professor in their seminary, and not just an excellent scholar, but, by all accounts, also a terrific teacher.

This is clearly not the Slavic usage presently, but it is signficant to note in any case.

pps: While this [i.e. the Greek] seems to be the more primitive usage, I would advocate that we follow the slavic usage, since:

1. there is often good reasons why things develop and evolve the way they do. So "earlier" is not always "better". [Cf. why the long priestly prayers in the Liturgy of St. James were "replaced" with the much more participatory and congregational friendly ektenes.]

2. the "good reason" in this case ismto help keep us focused on our preparation to celebrate the Winter Pascha despite the onslaught of such as Canadian Tire's "Spend like Santa and Save like Scrooge" etc. pre-Xmas consumer culture.

[ppps: I think the "Church Lady" was right about "Santa"!!! wink ]

herb

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55616 11/17/02 03:41 AM
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Adam, you are correct with respect to a distinction between levels of fast. The Great Fast has been traditionally held as a more intense fasting period and is certainly more ancient in its practice.

The difference between fast periods is also reflected in the liturgical cycle. The Interhours, offices after the First, Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours, are said only on the first day of the Pylipivka and do not include the Prayer of St. Ephraim.

The Hours during the Great Fast on the other hand have kathismata (readings from the Psalter) attached to them in addition to special penetential troparia. There is the recitation of the Prayer of St. Ephraim at all of the Hours during the Great Fast. In monasteries there is also the reading of the Ladder of St. John Climacus after the Third Hour during the Great Fast.

Vespers during weekdays of Pylipivka, while having some penetential character in the concluding prayers, does not have the full penetential conclusion as during the Great Fast.

In terms of family practice, we try to not eat meat or dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays, and no meat to the extent possible on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Giving up dairy completely for weekdays of minor fasts outside of the Great Fast hasn't been too successful in our house, especially since we have some dairy goats and there is always fresh milk and cheese around. We try to make the meals simpler, smaller and less lavish during the weekdays of Pylipivka, skipping desert unless it is a major feast day or weekend.

This is tough at this time of the year, with Thanksgiving, office and family holiday dinners to attend, etc. so the "fasting" for some may need to entail reducing the quantity of food or making up with some other ascetical practice. This is where economia and talking things over with your spiritual father come into play.

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55617 11/17/02 05:37 AM
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Herbigny Offline
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Dear Diak:

Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
The Interhours, offices after the First, Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours, are said only on the first day of the Pylipivka and do not include the Prayer of St. Ephraim.
What are "interhours"?

herb

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55618 11/18/02 03:49 AM
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FAW Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Herbigny:


Yes, you are right that St. Phil's Fast has no liturgical support. There is liturgically only the preFeastive, which comes a scant few days before Nativity! This probably means that it is a fairly late development in the history of our Churches.

Actually about 15-20 years ago an Advent Moleben was written. We just prayed it this evening in place of Compline.

It focuses on the promise of the old testament and the fast of preparation for our encounter
with our Lord at the Nativity.

And it is a penetential service, complete with kneeling. It was written to provide liturgical support for the St. Philips fast.

In Christ,
ALity

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55619 11/25/02 11:07 PM
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Theosis Offline
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Which foods would have to fast from and which would I be allowed to eat if I observed the Nativity fast? Thanks

Adam


Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55620 11/26/02 02:53 PM
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Dear Herb,

(An appropriate screen name when fasting is discussed! wink ).

The "interhours" are services said following the 1st, 3rd, 6th and 9th Hours during the Great Fast and as Diak indicated, elsewhere. I believe they are scrupulously adhered to on Mt. Athos.

They reflect the same structure as the other shorter day hours, three Psalms each with additional troparia etc.

The Great Horologion of Holy Transfiguration Monastery has the full text of the Interhours and their Psalter lists their Psalms.

As one monk told me, these additional four hours in the Fast brings the total amount of canonical Hours to 12 - reflecting the pentitential monastic usage of the Thebaid when monks prayed at the beginning of each of the 12 day hours - and night hours.

The rule of the Jesus Prayer of St Pachomios still reflects that - 100 prayers are prescribed for the beginning of each of the 24 hours, with 300 said at three o'clock to honour Christ' Death on the Cross.

Alex

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55621 11/26/02 04:20 PM
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Herbigny Offline
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dear Theosis-Adam:

While it is perhaps one of the easiest fasts of the year, because it starts off gradually and increases in vigour, it is a little complex.

Like any fast in the Byzantine Tradition, we fast from all meat, fish, dairy, eggs, wine, and olive oil.

That said, in St. Philip's Fast (according to the Slavic Tradition), the Fasting is quite mitigated in the beginning.

According to the Liturgical Calendar [St. John of Kronstadt Press] - from what I can gather, the idea is:

Weekends and Feast days - full mitigation: i.e. we can have Fish, Wine and Olive Oil.
Tuesdays and Thursdays: partial mitigation: we can have wine and olive oil.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: are your regular-type Fast days (unless there is a Feast, even a "minor" feast: e.g. St. Sabbas, St. Andrew, St. Spiridon. St. Daniel the Prophet.), then we can have wine and oil.

Later, the weekends become only Partial Mitigation [as in the Great Fast].

It may be a little complicated, but it is good practice for the Great Fast. And certainly this one is easily done with no worries about getting enough protein.

Some who have never done this before, may find it a little daunting at first glance. But some young people assured me that "hey, as long as there's wine... NO PROB!" cool

herb.

ps: dear Alex, re the inter-hours: WOW! Not to mention Ouch! That's a lot of H/hours to put in!

smile

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55622 11/26/02 04:54 PM
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Dear Herb,

Fr. John Whiteford, a ROCOR Orthodox priest, informs me that the Interhours have tended to die out in the West, but they are "all the rage" on Athos and at other Russian monasteries.

This discussion of the Hours humbles me when I reflect that at one time in England in the 17th century the practice of observing the "canonical Hours" was enough to get one martyred!

Alex

Re: St. Philip`s Fast #55623 11/26/02 10:49 PM
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Theosis Offline
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Herbigny, Thanks! smile

P.S. Wonderful on the wine. wink

Adam


Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

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