Blogger is being its usual self and won't publish comments. Below is a comment left by a reader (he is in fact a Lector in the Orthodox Church) in my post Please do as I say!
I fully accept that Han was using the words ‘sin’ and ‘discipline’ in a Roman Catholic sense for the purpose of argument. According to his own, earlier, explanation—this was “Because Catholics tend to talk about sin in forensic categories, and because Catholics have historically dealt with fasting ‘discipline,’ as JM put it in his post, within the framework of sin”. Indeed, in his most recent post, Han mentioned another example of Roman Catholic legalism: the distinction it attempts to make between “mortal” and “venial” sins. No real criticism of Han was intended on my part; and, again, I commend him on, what I considered, a most erudite exposition. My only concern was that Orthodox readers—understanding ‘sin’ and ‘discipline’ in the sense that the Church does—might take exception.
I must also commend Han on having pre-empted me: he selected the very same two passages that I should have chosen in a response to Bryan. I think that those passages speak for themselves. Nevertheless, the pedant in me cannot resist the temptation of questioning the translation of the Prayer of St John Chrysostom that Han quoted. Following that translation, I am required to state that “I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who CAMEST into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first.” The word that I have emphasized indicates the use of the second-person singular at that point. This represents a serious grammatical error: the THIRD-person singular should have been used. First, one addresses Christ in the second person: “I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God”. One then states what He is: “[He] who CAME into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first.” One may find numerous examples of the correct use of this particular construction in the Coverdale Psalter and the Authorised Version of the Bible. The translation of this prayer with which I am most familiar uses of sin the expressions “witting and unwitting” and “known and unknown”. These strike me as more satisfyingly Anglo-Saxon.
Finally—lest I be accused of hypocrisy—, I must bring myself to task. I stated that “The amount of food eaten at any particular meal-time has never been restricted by the Canons of the Church.” I have, since, recalled that both the Typikon and the Lenten Triodion specify that at the end of the Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil on Holy and Great Saturday the cellarer is to distribute six figs or dates to each of the brethren. That is in addition to a specified amount of bread and quantity of wine.
Nevertheless, it is a moot point whether this particular collation represents a “meal” as such. It is analogous to the distribution of bread and wine during the ‘Great Reading’ between Great Vespers and Mattins at an All-Night Vigil. Exactly the same prayer of blessing is used—though on Holy Saturday there is no blessing of oil (uniquely, this is a Saturday on which oil may not be consumed)—; and, in both cases, the brethren remain in church, and do not retire to the refectory.
The Artoklasia (the breaking and distribution of bread together with wine) really serves the purpose of sustaining the faithful through a service that is, in theory, meant to last through a long winter night. During the summer months, the distribution of this bread and wine is postponed until the end of the Liturgy. A rubric in the Pentecostarion prescribes “that beginning with the Sunday of Saint Thomas, the breaking of the bread doth not take place after the Blessing of the Loaves, due to the brevity of the night.” On Holy Saturday, the figs, dates, bread and wine are, likewise, provided for the sustenance of the faithful—who would, otherwise, not eat, in theory, between the meal after the Vesperal Liturgy on Maundy Thursday afternoon and that after the Paschal Liturgy celebrated very early on Easter Sunday morning.
On the other hand, the Typikon—in Chapter 35—does refer to the Artoklasia at a Vigil as a third meal. Normally, two meals per day—one after the Liturgy (if any) and another after Vespers—are prescribed. On stricter days of fasting, one meal—after Vespers (or after a Vesperal Liturgy on those days that such be celebrated)—is prescribed.