Author Topic: Beer during Great Lent  (Read 4733 times)

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Offline Thomas

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Beer during Great Lent
« on: February 20, 2007, 02:39:51 PM »
I have always been taught that the Orthodox Christian may drink no alcohol during Great Lent (except for wine on saturday and Sundays and certain main feastdays) however, recently an old calendar friend of mine stated that Beer is excepted and allowed to be drunk during the weekdays of Great Lent.  Has anyone ever heard of this?

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Offline AMM

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2007, 02:44:04 PM »
It's allowed in the Slavic tradition.

Offline Schultz

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2007, 02:48:58 PM »
As welkodox said, beer is allowed in Slavic tradtion, but that also doesn't mean that you should go get blitzed or even a wee tipsy.  I think beer is allowed because of its low alcohol content (in relation to wine and liquor).  It is, of course, liquid bread, especially if its brewed with a large amount of non-fermentable sugars, which will give the finished product a thick mouth feel.  It's also easy to brew a beer that's light in taste and flavor but with a low ABV.  I would imagine that the Mediterranean traditions are used to the more alcoholic wine and the relative ease of drunkeness, hence the proscription.  Grapes don't grow so well in Slavic areas, but grain abounds, and beer is relatively easier to consume w/o getting tipsy.

Note, even though Budweiser is oft-times derided as weak due to its lack of taste, it actually contains 5% ABV, putting it in the mid-high range for a light lager.

I've brewed nice tasting beers with about 3.5% abv that make them quite enjoyable during Lent in lieu of a snack at night.  The alcohol doesn't even phase my 6'5", 250# frame. :)

« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 02:51:19 PM by Schultz »
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Offline aserb

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 02:58:43 PM »
Why does it not suprise me that someone with a name like Schultz would comment on this topic.  ;D

Anyway. I was taught that all alcoholic beverages come under the term "wine" and that fasting from these beverages is proscribed everyday during great lent except Saturday and Sunday.
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 03:22:43 PM »
Lent is about depriving oneself, not getting into legalistics of what is allowed and what isn't. If on wants to follow the 'rules', then live off bread, fruits, and vegetables, with nothing else.








And no beer.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 03:23:12 PM by Simayan »
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Offline AMM

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 03:29:32 PM »
Slavs rule.

Offline aserb

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2007, 03:42:19 PM »
Thanks Simayan!  Well put!
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2007, 03:54:06 PM »
Beer is nothing more than liquid bread. :)

sorry, i'm just being contrary.

I have to work on that. :)
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Offline AMM

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2007, 04:07:59 PM »
It's classified as a food in Germany IIRC.

Offline dantxny

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2007, 04:26:23 PM »
Slavs rule.
Да или так.

Yes, it is aloud in Slavic tradition; however, even then I still tend to refrain from it myself due to the spirit of lent and go for the wine days.  Although, interestingly in the western tradition; primarily in the Germanic and western Slavic traditions, beer was in fact at times the only substances used by monks for precisely the reason that it was considered "liquid bread."  Thus, they are the reason for much of the beers today, e.g. Double Bock (dopplebock). 
I have heard arguments on both sides whether beer should be included and both make good arguments.  I think it eventually comes down to what you feel lent should be for. 
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I think the French may be on to something here.

Offline SouthSerb99

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Offline AMM

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2007, 04:31:39 PM »
I think it eventually comes down to what you feel lent should be for.

Yes, it comes down to that and the Slavs being right.

Offline SouthSerb99

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2007, 04:39:55 PM »
Yes, it comes down to that and the Slavs being right.
Or that long standing slavic tradition of having a little booze in your bottle from birth.

In fact, in most Slavic countries (like Serbia) we encourage pregnant mothers to drink (heavily).  We call it training!!!  ;D
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2007, 04:45:25 PM »
Irish mothers used to be encouraged to drink Guinness and later be given it in the maternity ward to help with iron deficiency.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 04:49:47 PM by Schultz »
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Offline AMM

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2007, 04:53:02 PM »
Quote
Anyway. I was taught that all alcoholic beverages come under the term "wine" and that fasting from these beverages is proscribed everyday during great lent except Saturday and Sunday.

It's vagueries like this that I think invariably leads a lot of people in to legalism, despite the statement that it isn't supposed to be about that.  Is beer "wine"?  Is all oil "olive oil"? Etc.

Despite saying one could eat only bread, fruit and vegatables, the reality is only a small minority could do that year after year.  Do we have people stumble in their faith over this? Feel guilt?

aserb, all I can say is I hope you didn't have some Krazy Konvert(TM) priest tell you the fasting standard for normal parishioners is the same as it is for the monastics.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 04:55:53 PM by welkodox »

Offline SouthSerb99

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2007, 05:11:36 PM »
aserb, all I can say is I hope you didn't have some Krazy Konvert(TM) priest tell you the fasting standard for normal parishioners is the same as it is for the monastics.

But what is "standard"? Since I was never really exposed to any other Orthodox jurisdiction (other than Serbian), I thought everyone did like us, until I started posting here.

From about as early as I can remember, we fasted from all meat, all fish, all dairy, eggs and all oils.  That doesn't leave you too much beyond fruits, vegetables and bread (the right kind).
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Offline aserb

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2007, 05:20:22 PM »
Well SouthSerb, alas may his memory be eternal, my father was very lax when it came to fasting and we ended up only fasting from meat on Wednesday and Friday. And then as Welkodox noted, I got some Krazy Konvert priest telling me to basically live on vegatables and bread.  Couple thoughts.

First  -  Simayan's post tells all.
Second - Shellfish, organic vegatables, soy products, rice milk, etc. are more expensive than meat, where's my money for almsgiving?
Third - My father grew up poor. When he was a child fasting wasn't just during Lent. It was all Year Long. Meat was a luxury item to a large Serbian Family in 1930's depression America.

Lastly.  Rolling Rock Beer for everyone, I'm buying!  8)
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2007, 05:25:29 PM »
, I got some Krazy Konvert priest telling me to basically live on vegatables and bread.  Couple thoughts.

What are the criteria for a Krazy Konvert priest and why use the "k"s?

Lastly.  Rolling Rock Beer for everyone, I'm buying!  8)

Make it an Amberbock and you got a deal! ;D
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2007, 05:26:49 PM »
.....
Second - Shellfish, organic vegatables, soy products, rice milk, etc. are more expensive than meat, where's my money for almsgiving?


Lastly.  Rolling Rock Beer for everyone, I'm buying!  8)


I think I was Fr. Schmemann who mentioned the obscenity of it being "okay" to have lobster during Great Lent, but it was a nono to open a can of tunafish.

Rolling Rock is actually one of the few beers I will NOT drink...and I'm from Westmoreland County! ;)
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Offline SouthSerb99

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2007, 05:27:14 PM »
Well SouthSerb, alas may his memory be eternal, my father was very lax when it came to fasting and we ended up only fasting from meat on Wednesday and Friday. And then as Welkodox noted, I got some Krazy Konvert priest telling me to basically live on vegatables and bread.  Couple thoughts.

First  -  Simayan's post tells all.
Second - Shellfish, organic vegatables, soy products, rice milk, etc. are more expensive than meat, where's my money for almsgiving?
Third - My father grew up poor. When he was a child fasting wasn't just during Lent. It was all Year Long. Meat was a luxury item to a large Serbian Family in 1930's depression America.

Lastly.  Rolling Rock Beer for everyone, I'm buying!  8)

Brother,

I'm not sure you are familiar with the word, but my grandfather was a "Momak" (house servant), while still living in Serbia, so I know where you are coming from when you talk "poor".  When I was born, 34 years ago, I was born into a home with 16 others (I made it 17).  We certainly didn't live that way because we were wealthy.

In that way, fasting was an everyday part of life.  Like you said, we could not afford meat on a daily basis.  I can't tell you how often we ate beans (Pasulj), a Serbian staple.

Its funny, because most Serbs I meet are tale between two extremes.  Either of the strict fast variety or the no fast variety. In any event, I'm still confused as to the "rules" for fasting, as I've never had ANY Serbian Orthodox Priest tell me that I could ease my practices.
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Offline Jakub

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2007, 07:25:43 PM »
Finally a topic that I can discuss and consume at the same time...and a perfect time for a Sam Adams.

Can't drink that Buttweiser...

No, won't be given up for Lent...it's a needed medicinal drink

james
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2007, 08:51:58 PM »
And then as Welkodox noted, I got some Krazy Konvert priest telling me to basically live on vegatables and bread.  Couple thoughts.

Funny, my ethnic Greek bishop tells me the same thing! ;)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 08:52:22 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline aserb

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2007, 08:54:35 PM »
The Krazy Konvert priest is an inside joke. I am sure there are many pious priests (convert or cradle) offering sound wisdom for the fast.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2007, 08:57:58 PM »
But what is "standard"? Since I was never really exposed to any other Orthodox jurisdiction (other than Serbian), I thought everyone did like us, until I started posting here.

From about as early as I can remember, we fasted from all meat, all fish, all dairy, eggs and all oils.  That doesn't leave you too much beyond fruits, vegetables and bread (the right kind).

Exactly--that is the standard for laypeople.  For monastics, the fast is even stricter--one meal a day, no food at all the first three days of Lent, fasting on Mondays throughout the whole year, etc.  The thing that really ticks me off about this type of discussion is you always have this dumb polarization: you have the people advocating fasting who sometimes insult those who don't live up to the standard, and you have the opposite extreme, which is people who think that it is impossible to live up to the standard and advocate an official truncation of the rules laid out in the typikon, which, if that were to occur, would effectively lower the bar for all.

The basic reality is, the standard is no meat and no dairy the whole time for everyone except those who are pregnant, infirm, elderly, or below age 7ish.  The other reality is that fasting is a spiritual practice and the standard is a ruler to measure progress--it takes some people a lifetime to get there.  No one should judge those who do not fast the same as them but those who do not keep the standard should not pretend that the standard is just some extremist deviation.  There will always be reasons to break the fast and such things should be discussed with one's spiritual father, and that is the end of the matter.

Anastasios
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 09:29:13 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2007, 08:59:46 PM »
The Krazy Konvert priest is an inside joke. I am sure there are many pious priests (convert or cradle) offering sound wisdom for the fast.

Yeah, you've made your position clear before: you had a priest who really did take things to the extreme in a previous parish and that can do some very bad spiritual damage--to be clear to all, that's why I put the wink after my statement. I would suggest to any reader that has such a priest that throws canons around like bricks to read and explain Trullo canon 102, which I will quote in my next post.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 09:00:47 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2007, 09:03:05 PM »
Remedy for all canon quoters:



Canon 102

It behoves those who have received from God the power to loose and bind, to consider the quality of the sin and the readiness of the sinner for conversion, and to apply medicine suitable for the disease, lest if he is injudicious in each of these respects he should fail in regard to the healing of the sick man. For the disease of sin is not simple, but various and multiform, and it germinates many mischievous offshoots, from which much evil is diffused, and it proceeds further until it is checked by the power of the physician. Wherefore he who professes the science of spiritual medicine ought first of all to consider the disposition of him who has sinned, and to see whether he tends to health or (on the contrary) provokes to himself disease by his own behaviour, and to look how he can care for his manner of life during the interval. And if he does not resist the physician, and if the ulcer of the soul is increased by the application of the imposed medicaments, then let him mete out mercy to him according as he is worthy of it. For the whole account is between God and him to whom the pastoral rule has been delivered, to lead back the wandering sheep and to cure that which is wounded by the serpent; and that he may neither cast them down into the precipices of despair, nor loosen the bridle towards dissolution or contempt of life; but in some way or other, either by means of sternness and astringency, or by greater softness and mild medicines, to resist this sickness and exert himself for the healing of the ulcer, now examining the fruits of his repentance and wisely managing the man who is called to higher illumination. For we ought to know two things, to wit, the things which belong to strictness and those which belong to custom, and to follow the traditional form in the case of those who are not fitted for the highest things, as holy Basil teaches us.
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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2007, 09:22:18 PM »
A general question for all: I heard that one reason beer is allowed during Lent in some local churches is because of the fact that water was not safe to drink all the time in those locations.  Is that true?
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2007, 09:56:30 PM »
I guess the double posting rule doesn't apply here.  ;)

It seems to me that one should wait until their body is finished developing before they deprive themselves of all meat and all dairy. Seems just as irresponsible as chugging back a 6-pack at the age of 14. Though alternate forms of calcium and protein are a possibility for wealthy households, poorer families can't afford a trip to Whole Foods.

It's all about what is possible, and if what you are doing is responsible. I for one would rather eat meat and have money to donate than to follow a strict fast with expensive foods and have nothing left to give.
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Offline aserb

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2007, 10:33:50 PM »
Amen Simayan. I think it all comes down to common sense for all you Canon quoters ;)

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Offline GiC

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2007, 11:14:40 PM »
SINNERS!!!

'Likewise we have learned that in the country of the Armenians and in other regions on the Saturdays and on the Sundays of holy Lent some persons eat eggs and cheese. It has therefore seemed best to decree also this, that the Church of God throughout the inhabited earth, carefully following a single procedure, shall carry out fasting, and abstain, precisely as from every kind of thing sacrificed, so and especially from eggs and cheese, which are fruit and produce from which we have to abstain. As for those who fail to observe this rule, if they are Clergymen, let them be deposed from office; but if they are laymen, let them be excommunicated.' -- VI 56

'If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or Subdeacon, or Anagnost, or Psalt fails to fast throughout the forty days of Holy Lent, or on Wednesday, or on Friday, let him be deposed from office. Unless he has been prevented from doing so by reason of bodily illness. If, on the other hand, a layman fail to do so, let him be excommunicated.' -- Apostles 69

'For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.'

You're all going to Hell!!!


...


see you there. ;D
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Offline SouthSerb99

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2007, 11:43:23 PM »
Exactly--that is the standard for laypeople.  For monastics, the fast is even stricter--one meal a day, no food at all the first three days of Lent, fasting on Mondays throughout the whole year, etc.  The thing that really ticks me off about this type of discussion is you always have this dumb polarization: you have the people advocating fasting who sometimes insult those who don't live up to the standard, and you have the opposite extreme, which is people who think that it is impossible to live up to the standard and advocate an official truncation of the rules laid out in the typikon, which, if that were to occur, would effectively lower the bar for all.

The basic reality is, the standard is no meat and no dairy the whole time for everyone except those who are pregnant, infirm, elderly, or below age 7ish.  The other reality is that fasting is a spiritual practice and the standard is a ruler to measure progress--it takes some people a lifetime to get there.  No one should judge those who do not fast the same as them but those who do not keep the standard should not pretend that the standard is just some extremist deviation.  There will always be reasons to break the fast and such things should be discussed with one's spiritual father, and that is the end of the matter.

Anastasios

Anastasios,

That is good to read, because I often thought "am I going to an extreme"?  Now I can get back to my grapefruit!!!

GiC,

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2007, 02:37:00 PM »
Well That answered my question , as I am not slavic, and am in a "byzantine"  jurisdiction, I guess I'll be drinking Lemonade and it won't be Mike's Hard Lemonade, except that is on weekends  ;)heh!heh!heh! :P

Thomas
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 02:37:36 PM by Thomas »
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Offline Jakub

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2007, 03:24:01 PM »
It's true don't drink the water south of the border, ecoli is terrible to catch...though I prefer XX, Corona, Tecate, Sol etc to fulfill my H2O needs...

james
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Beer during Great Lent
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2007, 10:31:20 AM »
A general question for all: I heard that one reason beer is allowed during Lent in some local churches is because of the fact that water was not safe to drink all the time in those locations.  Is that true?

It's entirely possible.  "Small beer", a drink made from the second or even third runnings off a mash, with an alcohol content of about 2% abv, was drunk in American colonial/post Revolution days, even by children.  It's what the Pilgrims drank on the crossing, when water really was most likely unsafe to drink.  It really wasn't even considered "alcohol" due to the relatively low alcohol content.  From what I understand, water was drunk when it was relatively fresh or not at all.  That's what small beer was for.

I often wonder if this is the kind of "beer" the Slavic traditions speak of.  For the average person, if it is imbibed in a relatively slow manner (no less than 20 minutes for an 8 oz. cup), your body will burn off that alcohol before it even reaches your brain or liver.
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen