In the Didache, it tells us "8:2 but keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation day (Friday)."

Assuming that some actually did keep these weekly fasts, when exactly did they begin and end?

Did they eat Tuesday supper and not eat again until Wednesday supper?

Or did they eat Tuesday supper and end the fast the morning of Thursday so that no food was consumed Wednesday?

Or Wed morning to Thur morning etc?

I reckon the times of these fasts were in line with the twice weekly fasts of the Jews who did theirs on Monday and Thursday.

Can anyone provide more clarity on this?


The Wikipedia article on the Didache states (under the heading 'Fasting'), the following :

Chapter 8 suggests that fasts are not to be on Monday and Thursday "with the hypocrites" — presumably non-Christian Jews, such as the Pharisees — but on Wednesday and Friday. Fasting Wednesday and Friday plus worshiping on Sunday constituted the Christian week.[41] Nor must Christians pray with their Judaic brethren, instead they shall say the Lord's Prayer three times a day.

  • I'm looking for more detailed information, the time of the first meal and the last if possible. – www.gffg.info Apr 13 at 19:47
  • 3
    Given the close connection to Judaism that still existed, one would expect the fast days to have run from sunset to sunset. – Ray Butterworth Apr 14 at 1:37
  • @RayButterworth How do you know this Ray? – www.gffg.info Apr 15 at 0:35
  • @www.gffg.info, I know that dividing the day at midnight is how the Romans did it. And I know that the original seven days of creation are described as "And the evening and the morning were the [Nth]day", and that definition has been followed by Jews up until the present day. It doesn't take much induction to believe that first century Christians would be following the Jewish practice, especially when it had to do with religious events. (This, and the preceding two comments really belong with the question, not with this answer. How to move them?) – Ray Butterworth Apr 15 at 3:36
  • @RayButterworth My understanding is that eastern fasting tradition is during daylight, so sunrise to sunset. The same is what the Muslims do during Ramadan. – fredsbend Apr 22 at 22:26

The early Christian church was effectively a sect of Judaism, so lacking any specific instruction from Jesus or the Apostles, their rules for fasting would have been the same as used by the rest of the Jewish community.

According to The Jewish Encyclopedia:

All Jewish fasts begin at sunrise and end with the appearance of the first stars of the evening, except those of the Day of Atonement and the Ninth of Ab, which last "from even till even."

There are also restrictions on the days on which one may fast:

The only fixed fast-day that may be celebrated on a Sabbath is the Day of Atonement; all the others, if they fall on a Sabbath, are postponed until the following day. Private or public occasional fasts can not be held on any of the holidays, or on a new moon, or on any of the minor festivals (see Festivals), or during the month of Nisan, or on the week-days of the festivals.

  • Does that mean they their last meal was the previous nights supper, as in the fast began at the first meal skipped? – www.gffg.info Apr 23 at 12:19
  • I expect it would be a personal choice as to whether to get up early and eat breakfast before sunrise. I personally know Jews today that, just before Yom Kippur begins, eat a large supper "in preparation" for the 25 hour fast, while others do nothing out of the ordinary beforehand and simply stop eating at sundown. – Ray Butterworth Apr 23 at 15:23

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