The understanding of fasting through Lent



by Chysanthe Ntemos

The human being as an entity has three divisions of which comprises its existence.

The mind the (psychological structure), the body which consists of the metabolism, the functioning of the esoteric organs and the spiritual which is the (pneumatic structure).

When one refers to fasting through Lent, it is the esoteric restriction of deep lament which enables one to understand the essence of sacrifice and self-discipline.

Pneumatic, psychological and bodily sacrifice does not mean elimination, or to be physically sacrificed but discipline in which prepares one for the acceptance of the Resurrection of Christ and our personal resurrection from all sin.

The depth of sacrifice is the restriction of satisfaction, human cosmic material pleasures which otherwise bring splendour.

Not only restriction of pleasure is included through fasting but a miscellaneous of human weaknesses which include, exploitation, blasphemy, unethical actions, lust, verbal abuse violence, betrayal, injustice all which surface conflicts amongst human existence.

Restricting certain food intake for example all meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products and only certain seafood, vegetables, greens are permitted through Lent in co-ordination helps to restrict and to balance the mind and metabolism with self-control and to reinforce the need for remorse, repent and confession and forgiveness in order for the body's cleansing and the soul's serenity and purification.


Thereafter the forty days of Lent (Η Σαρακοστή) have elapsed and the Holy Week (Η Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα) arrives till the Resurrection of Christ, (Η Ανάσταση του Ιησού Χριστού) the limitation and consumption of olive-oil and dairy products are restricted and  only certain seafood is permitted such as (squids, octopus, shrimps, prawns, vegetables, and pastry without egg content & greenery).

To also clarify an important factor is that faith, fasting and lent are not of a dietary cause, although to a certain degree the somatic lipids of the system, are eliminated nor vegan, since what surfaces are an esoteric sacrifice, self-control and depth of sceptisism for remorse and repent and to which enables gradual detoxification.

That is why in all Greek Orthodox monasteries the combination of limitation of food intake and the type of food which is consumed is essential since the body trains itself to regulate against lust in every form.


It is self-control which enables one to sacrifice the splendours since it cleanses the body, mind and the soul.

Once the body has begun to function through the minimal, thereafter the psychological and pneumatic preparation coincides, therefore, preparing the (eghephalus) for a transformation of within, which through seeking with the depth of prayer enables the strength of continuation.

There are exceptions for fasting as to those who have health problems but yet seek spiritual refuge & are enabled to communion through confession. These stages are the prologues which reinforce enlightenment once the previous stages have been achieved.

Fasting involves restriction, self-control of most temptations from minimising certain food to help prepare the soul, from improper or immoral skepticism.

One may think what the essence of food consumption has in terms of fasting and that it is only the character, prayer, philanthropy, and love which help rectify sin which indeed is only partial but of course essential and vital. That is incorrect due to the fact, that food nourishes and maintains the organism and the metabolism and once that has surfeited the feelings of passion and contentment intensify.

When proper fasting begins and the body limits food internal seeking begins and conscience searches for serenity and relief thus alleviating exterior disturbances and fathoming for the depth and filter the molecules of esoteric impurities.

As being mortal on earth, what is immortal is our soul and the salvation for our souls is the confinement of restricting ourselves from evil, therefore, complying and attending to most if not all Holy Liturgy Divine Services and with the depth of faith within.

Καλή Σαρακοστή με πνευματική φώτιση σε όλους!

Why do we fast in the Orthodox Church?

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This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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