Fasting is undeniably one of the religious practices that form the identity of the members of the Orthodox Church. Among other points, the official document on fasting of the Holy and Great Council of Crete focuses on the need for the local Churches to apply the principle of oikonomia when necessary. However, in the pertinent argumentation, there is hardly any reference to the relevant witness of the New Testament. The present paper attempts to fill in this blank by presenting St. Paul’s teaching on abstinence from idol food as an important contribution to this discussion.
While Paul is not interested in the practice of fasting per se, he is concerned with the problem of believers eating or avoiding idol food. According to him, Christians with a strong conscience should feel free to consume idol food. However, they also have to take into account their brethren with a weak conscience who think of such practice as participation in idolatry. If necessary, the first ones should be even prepared to give up their right of eating meat so as not to scandalize the latter. It is then clear that St. Paul understands abstinence from food as a condescension to spiritual weakness.
Contemporary civilization has created new serious health disorders, which are partly due to modern-day eating habits. For this, as well as for other reasons, many Christians nowadays cannot and should not be fasting in the traditional way. Taking into consideration the Pauline testimony, the historical diversity of the practice of fasting, as well as the complexity of contemporary problems, an individualized understanding and application of both akribeia and oikonomia is required. In addition, Church members should be encouraged to reach spiritual maturity, so that they are able to take responsibility for both their spiritual and their physical health.
In the interconfessional theological dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman-Catholic Church, there has been much discussion about the famous passage 16:16–19 of Matthew’s Gospel. However, not much attention has been paid to the testimonies of other New Testament books about the Apostle Peter’s person, work, and historical impact. This paper examines the narrative character of Simon Peter in John’s Gospel to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the great apostle’s historical significance in early Christianity. In our analysis, we make use of the narrative-critical method focusing on the comparison between Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciple. This approach opens a window to how the Johannine community evaluated Peter’s person and significance at the time of the composition of the Fourth Gospel, and, thus, helps us better understand the biblical foundations of the theological debate on the papal office.
The time of Photios the Great was crucial for the Jewish-Christian relations. The Byzantine Empire exited the iconoclastic controversy in 842 AD, for which the Jews had been partly held responsible. In 861 AD, the Byzantines attempted to approach the Khazars, who had largely embraced Judaism. Furthermore, starting in 872, emperor Basil I made a series of attempts to convert the Byzantine Jews to Christianity.This historical background is reflected by the numerous references to the Jews in Photios’s works. Photios generally utilizes acute anti-Jewish rhetoric, through which he seems to be seeking to construct a unified Christian identity following the iconoclastic divide. It is noteworthy, however, that Photios focuses his anti-Jewish rhetoric on the events of the New Testament, while he avoids referring to the Jews of his time and thereby inciting tension towards them. He also makes positive remarks about Jewish believers and states his faith in the eschatological conversion of all Jews to Christianity. While Photios addresses his sermons and writings to an exclusively Christian audience, the discourse of modern-day Church is de facto addressed to humanity as a whole. Therefore, our Church should rather adopt a rhetoric of reconciliation, promote a sincere theological discourse, and transcend all sorts of stereotypes. The theological dialogue between the Byzantines and the Khazars, inspired by Photios the Great, is a valuable precedent in this endeavor. 64733542.pdf