20 November 2007

The Nativity Fast -- Western tradition

Orthodox Christians in the Byzantine tradition began their Nativity Fast last Thursday (15 November). For Orthodox Christians in the Western tradition, the Advent fast begins with First Vespers for the First Sunday in Advent. This year, First Vespers for Advent I will be prayed the evening of Saturday, 1 December.

In the Western tradition, the Advent fast consists of

  • Fasting on all Wednesdays in Advent
  • Fasting and abstention on all Fridays in Advent
  • Fasting and abstention on Ember Wednesday, Ember Friday and Ember Saturday in Advent. (This year the Ember days occur on December 19, 21, 22)

NOTE: In the Western tradition, fasting consists of not eating until after noon; and then eating only one full meal with a collation (about 1/4 of a meal) permitted as a second meal. Abstinence refers to refraining from flesh meat (pork, beef, chicken, etc.) and their juices or broths. Shell fish and fin fish as well as dairy products are permitted. All Orthodox communicants and catechumens in the Western tradition are asked to follow these rules; however, only those between the ages of 21 and 60 are obligated to observe the fasts of the Church, and those who have completed their seventh year of age are bound to the law of abstinence.


Ryan said...

Actually, only New Calendar Orthodox began their Nativity Fast on the 15th. Those of us on the Old Calendar don't begin the fast until the 28th (which is the 15th by the Old Calendar).

Thus, yet another advantage to staying on the Old Calendar: the Nativity Fast usually doesn't begin until _after_ Thanksgiving. :)

Lotar said...

That is interesting. I did not know that the Western rite has different fasting rules.

handmaidmary-leah said...

Yeah, whats with the different fasting rules? So many things I am learning!
A blessed fast and Feast!
In Christ,