Why Do Orthodox Christians Fast?

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Fasting is an important part of the Greek Orthodox Church. Most Orthodox Christians know about fasting because it’s in the spotlight during Great and Holy Lent. However, this is actually something that Orthodox Christians are called to do throughout the year and the church has a regular schedule of fasting. So, why do we fast, anyway? Here’s more information:

Why Do Greeks Fast?

The tradition of fasting actually predates Christianity. It is a practice that had long been done by the Jews and when they embraced and believed that Christ is the Messiah they maintained the tradition of fasting. Fasting is looked at as a practice that can enhance the Christian’s relationship with God. In restricting food intake and sticking to eating healthy, clean foods that are allowed in the fast, Christians can approach prayer and reading scripture with a clear mind.

Are Christians Required to Fast?

Christians are actually not required to fast. The Jews adopted this practice because it was required of them through the Law of Moses. However, Christians don’t follow the Law of Moses because Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Fasting is, however, strongly encouraged by the church and is looked at as a positive activity.

Are There Instances of Fasting in the New Testament?

Fasting is mentioned several times in the New Testament. In fact, even Jesus fasted! For example, he fasted for a time before he went into the desert to endure temptation from Satan. Here’s what the Bible Says about that in Matthew 4:1-3(NIV):

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted a by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Ultimately, Jesus resisted temptation and told the Devil to leave.

How Should We Approach Fasting?

It is important to note that Christians believe they should model their lives and do activities that Christ himself did. Since it is even shown that Christ fasted, Christians look at fasting as a good idea. That is why the church has rules for fasting. In an ideal world, we would perfectly follow the rules. However, this isn’t always realistic.

Are you wondering how you should approach fasting? Although the church has prescribed rules for fasting, it is also recommended to speak with your spiritual father to determine a fasting plan that is right for your needs.

There’s no doubt that fasting is an important part of the Orthodox Christian Church and it is something that should be taken seriously. For more information on how to fast, please visit this article.

Sources:

Orthodox Wiki – Fasting

GoArch.org – Why Do We Fast? 


The Religion section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand some of the traditions of the Orthodox Christian religion, which is a religion practiced by people in countries such as Greece, Russia, United States, and other nations throughout the world. This article is not a substitute for information found in the Holy Bible or by our church fathers, priests, and other clergy members.

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