Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Fasting Works Miracles"


By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"Fasting Works Miracles." With this title, the newspaper To Vima (2/12/2010) presented a study of the University of Crete conducted on 609 children aged 5 to 15.5 years from Thessaloniki, of which 12.1% "followed a full fast" according to the typikon of the Church.

The scientific leader of the study, Mr. Anthony Kafatos, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Nutrition at the Medical School of the University of Crete, pointed out that "fasting does not affect their (children's) normal development, as previously believed."

The most important findings of the study are that “children who fast, either on all days of fasting or less, consume a significantly limited number of calories compared to those who never fast. More so in fasting children, there was a limited intake of saturated fatty acids, which are dangerous for health, and less meat was consumed."

This is particularly important, because experts point out that in our country where 22.5% of the population is obese, "fasting, which is a key element of the Greek Mediterranean diet, can provide a solution to the problem of obesity in the healthiest way."

With this in mind, the journalist who covered the report, Machi Tratsa, writes: "The dietary requirements of the Orthodox Church seem to work ... miraculously for the health of children. A new study by the University of Crete shows that 180 to 200 days of fasting a year not only does not 'slow down' the normal development of those children who abstain from eating animal foods, but also help maintain a normal weight, against the ever-increasing childhood obesity."

The Church, however, has given a theological meaning to fasting. It is not only about the health of the body, but mainly about the health of the soul. Those who fast show that they hold themselves accountable to God and the Church, that they want to belong to the spiritual army of the Church and obey the regulations that make it up.

Then with fasting we acknowledge in practice the mistake made by the First-formed in eating the forbidden fruit and losing their communion with God, but we also orient ourselves to the eschatological state of the righteous, when they will feed only on the uncreated glory of God.

Even with fasting we take our mind away from enslavement to matter and turn it to the spiritual and thus prepare ourselves personally to participate in the festivities, to which all the preparation that takes place with fasting refers.

Thus, the fast made by those who are not forbidden for health reasons, "works miracles", because it offers health to body and soul and makes people master's of themselves, free from passions, and obedient children of God and the Church.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.