Fasting Reaffirmed

Public Orthodoxy

by Philip Mamalakis, Very Rev. Dr. Nathanael Symeonides, and Gayle E. Woloschak

The draft of the Holy and Great Council’s document, The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today, affirms the importance of fasting for the spiritual development of the person.  The documents provides a Scriptural and Patristic foundation for the spiritual benefits of fasting, noting that there are times when pastoral discernment is needed particularly with regard to physical infirmity, extreme necessity and difficult times.  Despite these affirming statements, the document provides little concrete information beyond what the Church has prescribed for centuries; it is a short commentary on fasting and not an in-depth discussion about the value and method of fasting in the modern world, a message that is desperately needed for the world and the Church today. 

The document reaffirms the need to fast from a spiritual perspective, and also purports that fasting has…

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