Fasting In The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Tradition

Written By: on May 26th, 2009 and filed under Articles, We Believe.

The fast of Wednesdays and Fridays
Besides the aforesaid fasts, the Church fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year except any solemn feast falling on these days and the fifty days after the Easter. The Significance of Wednesday is that it is was on this day that the Jews made plot to crucify Jesus Christ and Friday to commemorate His passion, crucifixion and death for the whole world.

The Fast before the Nativity of St. Mary

This is an eight days fast observed only by the Syrian Christians in India, which begins from the first day of September ((Ettu Noimbu).  It seems that this fast originated in connection with the Islamic invasion and the subsequent fall of Kodungallur, the Christian centre.  The Christians vowed to observe a fast so that God might protect their women from the hands of invaders. During this season, women used to remain in the church in prayer and meditation till the afternoon. But it is not considered as an obligatory fast and hence it is not in the canonical list of the Church.

Fast before the Feast of Pentecost

This fast is observed only in the Malankara Church. It begins from the day of Ascension and ends with the feast of Pentecost. The Church thinks it as a preparatory time of the faithful for the empowering of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

Some Special Notes

Saturdays and Sundays are the days of the Lord and of joy and therefore it is prohibited to fast on these days (with the exception of Holy Saturday) except for the motive of fasting before the reception of Holy Qurbana.  The believers who prepare themselves to receive the sacraments must observe the fasting as per the recommendation of the Church. Holy Qurbana is not conducted on fast days (especially the Great Fast and the Nineveh Fast) except on Saturday, Sundays, mid-day lent, fortieth Friday of the Great Lent and on the feast day of Annunciation. Celebration of marriage is prohibited and that of baptism is permitted in the case of extreme necessity. The feasts of martyrs, saints and departed are celebrated only on Sundays and Saturdays. The married people are asked to refrain from using their conjugal rights during the fasting season.

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