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Author Topic: Why no oil or wine in fast?  (Read 4902 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 21, 2007, 02:35:34 PM »

Hello,

Why are the Eastern Orthodox not allowed oil or wine during the fast - even in cooking?
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2007, 02:54:06 PM »

We are on certain days, and this is the most often relaxed part of the fast (from one's spiritual father). As to why, I don't know, maybe just as part of the general discipline.
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2007, 03:14:24 PM »

I'm not sure of the original origin, but whenever I hear it explained, it is since oil, fats and wine will make one physically, and in turn, spiritually lazy.
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2007, 03:22:33 PM »

Hello,

I'm not sure of the original origin, but whenever I hear it explained, it is since oil, fats and wine will make one physically, and in turn, spiritually lazy.

I could see how wine drunk (as opposed to cooking with) could make one lazy, but how does oil and other fats make one lazy?
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2007, 03:25:34 PM »

Hello,

I could see how wine drunk (as opposed to cooking with) could make one lazy, but how does oil and other fats make one lazy?

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« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2007, 03:28:05 PM »

Hello,

I could see how wine drunk (as opposed to cooking with) could make one lazy, but how does oil and other fats make one lazy?

Fattens the body and brain, I believe the argument is.  Just like how meats are to lead to temptations of the flesh.
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2007, 04:15:17 PM »

Fattens the body and brain, I believe the argument is.  Just like how meats are to lead to temptations of the flesh.

Over eating in general makes one tend to be lazy and tired and a prime target for temptation which lowers ones's ability to fight off the near occassions of sinning.

Eastern Orthodox fast approximately 176 days out of the year depending upon when Pascha falls. Sometimes its a little less. But you can see that fasting is a very large part of our spiritual life and the more one comes closer to the strickness of fasting the more one can better fight off sin.

Fasting is not the same for everyone although everyone should be fasting. Those sick, infirmed, or on medications are the exception.  Those who have strenuous occupations cannot keep all the fast all the time. But we all must strive to do the best fast we can in order to be more Christlike because Christ Himself fasted for 40 days prior to his Passion. We have four (4) fasting periods in the year.

1.Nativity Fast which we are on now 40 days

2.Dormition Fast 14 days.

3.Cheesefare Sunday, Abstaining from dairy products 7 days prior to Meatfare
Meatfare Sunday, Start of Great and Holy Lent ( All days in Lent are Fast days)
Great and Holy Lent Fast which last 40 days(Saturdays and Sundays included)
(sometimes fish and oil are allowed on weekends.  Yes, I said fish, which is considered meat because it has backbone and blood) However, shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and LOBSTER are allowed but you need to keep the spirit of Lent as well as the letter.
Holy Week (Strick fast) 7 days (All days of this week up until receiving Paschal Liturgy Eucharist) = 54 days

4.Sts. Peter and Paul Fast 26 days this year ( but varies according to when Pascha date falls)

ALL Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. (I believe we get three (3) free weeks a year where meat can be eaten on Wednesdays and Fridays and these usually preceed or follow major fasting periods such as Great Lent.

You can see it can become pretty intense.




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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2007, 06:46:25 PM »

Interesting how fasting is achieved.

Most of us find it as abstinance from food, oils, wine etc.

The abstinence from oil we do not have as a rule but I try to follow this for myself since I learned this from a Ukrianian Orthodox co worker. It helps me to bridge the OO EO 'stream'.

There are various ways of achieving a fast.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox mindset...........

First the "fast" objectively is to arrest the body (completely) and engage the spirit.

Metaphorically our spirit becomes a child that we are birthing so to speak. It is very difficult but very rewarding.

When the child within (our spirit) is born in its full nature we are becoming in tune with our Lord. If the the child does not go the full term than it was either aborted or it arrived 'still born'.

'Still born' is what I want to focus on.

If we complete our fast and are eager to return to our former lusts than our spirit came to term but 'still born'. If we complete our fast to term and we are saddened because the world is ready to enjoy again; the meats, activities etc; than the spirit has come full term and is alive in its full nature, well and breathing having all its little fingers and toes..perfectly prepared....crying out in pain, kicking and screaming.

The spirit filled with the grace of God and the Holy Spirit will always reject the world. The goodness and lusts of the world is a unhappy place for a nurtured spirit.

I hope that my metaphor was clear.

I found my God son in tears after a fast was finished. I mean really crying hard and uncontrollably. It scared me I must admit to see a man of his strenght cry with such deep grinding greef. I left him to himself.

He did not know I witnessed this episode even now and this was a few years ago.

He later (much later) mentioned in conversation about a fast that was coming to a close that "I really do not want the fast to end; its very depressing for me".

I did not comment.

I only recalled in my mind what I saw him go through a year or more before.

I must admit I was ashamed also. I did not cry before. I also looked forward to end the fast. Not in a poor way but rather innocently; happy to be part of the fasting life but always aware of my life after it was over.

My God son did not care about his life the way  I did.

This mans thirst for rightiousness was real and it was painful for me to deal with because it caused me to look at my own spiritual growth as lacking. I mean "he is a convert" was my poor attitude.

Exactly!!

I got over my shame eventually and I began to learn more about the fast and what it is thanks to him. I never told him any of this. But I grew stronger in faith and thirst for rightiousness becuase of him.

As Orthodox in general We are not just performing some traditional food intake changes we are looking to 'leave the world'.

When we are fasting in Ethiopia we teach:

The mind is fasting
the stomach is fasting
the eyes are fasting
the hands are fasting
the mouth is fasting
the ears are fasting

All of the whole body is arrested and at fast. NOT just the stomach.

The point is to walk without care for any physical lusts and engage your spiritual needs for the fasting "term". Engage your spirit with virtuous prayer, reading psalms, confession, Holy Communion, reading the fathers meditations etc. We keep this focus as the prime aspect and purpose of fasting. We are to do prostrations to punish and subject the body along the course of the "term".

So the fast should exclude, games, or anything we would deem as entertaining. We should refrain from looking at things that feed the mind with distractions like books we like or video games etc.

For many Ethiopians the fast effectively means ascetism. We do only the things that are needed to live with what we already have. We do not prepare future plans or hopes for gains. We care for children and commuinty needs.

I am not saying this to "grade" how the fast is suppose to be for everybody. We all have to find the fast in our lives and have our fast bear good results. That may mean different avenues for each person. The basic elements though must be consistent.

Many of things I have noted above I have yet to do. My God son like me was taught well. That he actually persued and achived these manners is very amazing and beautiful.

Do to him I started to embrace the traditions of my fathers more. I have become more like my God son lately. This is what I needed to find and have found it. Actually I am a little different; he wil eat oil and I will refrain from oil. Point is we are both reaching the main goal.

I look forward to starting the fast and am sad when it ends.

I donot think its good to share to much about the fast unless it with family.

I am happy I have shared my experience.

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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2007, 07:28:39 PM »

ALL Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. (I believe we get three (3) free weeks a year where meat can be eaten on Wednesdays and Fridays and these usually preceed or follow major fasting periods such as Great Lent.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall that all foods are permitted between the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Dec. 25 according to the new calendar) and the feast of Holy Theophany (January 6), even on Wednesdays and Fridays. Is this correct?
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2007, 07:33:35 PM »

When we are fasting in Ethiopia we teach:

The mind is fasting
the stomach is fasting
the eyes are fasting
the hands are fasting
the mouth is fasting
the ears are fasting

All of the whole body is arrested and at fast. NOT just the stomach.

Dear Deacon Amde, in Slavic countries, too, that's what Orthodox priests teach. I recall reading a letter of one Russian cleric (don't recall the name at the moment), who wrote, "Man, if you don't eat meat but spend hours and hours in a row watching TV, you are not fasting. If you don't eat meat but scream at your wife and kids, you are not fasting. And if you don't eat meat and loudly accuse others that they do - you are certainly not fasting." Fasting is a spiritual exercise, not just a period of being on a certain diet.
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2007, 07:34:26 PM »

Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall that all foods are permitted between the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Dec. 25 according to the new calendar) and the feast of Holy Theophany (January 6), even on Wednesdays and Fridays. Is this correct?

FAST-FREE WEEKS
Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ to Theophany Eve - Dec. 25 through Jan. 4
The week following the Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee - 2nd Week of the Lenten Triodion
Bright Week - The week after Pascha until St Thomas Sunday
Trinity Week - The week after Pentecost until the Saturday before All Saints Sunday

Source
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2007, 08:06:58 PM »

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« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2007, 08:08:24 PM »

Dear Deacon Amde, in Slavic countries, too, that's what Orthodox priests teach. I recall reading a letter of one Russian cleric (don't recall the name at the moment), who wrote, "Man, if you don't eat meat but spend hours and hours in a row watching TV, you are not fasting. If you don't eat meat but scream at your wife and kids, you are not fasting. And if you don't eat meat and loudly accuse others that they do - you are certainly not fasting." Fasting is a spiritual exercise, not just a period of being on a certain diet.

Absolutely correct, the most meaningful fast is of course fasting from sin.
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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2007, 09:30:25 PM »

Dear Deacon Amde, in Slavic countries, too, that's what Orthodox priests teach. I recall reading a letter of one Russian cleric (don't recall the name at the moment), who wrote, "Man, if you don't eat meat but spend hours and hours in a row watching TV, you are not fasting. If you don't eat meat but scream at your wife and kids, you are not fasting. And if you don't eat meat and loudly accuse others that they do - you are certainly not fasting." Fasting is a spiritual exercise, not just a period of being on a certain diet.
Sounds like "A fast without mutual love is the fast of demons." I believe it was St. John Chrysostom who said that but I could be wrong.
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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2007, 10:04:21 PM »

Sounds like "A fast without mutual love is the fast of demons." I believe it was St. John Chrysostom who said that but I could be wrong.
It can be him, although it might be St. Maximus Confessor (he used to say that "theology without orthopraxis is theology of demons"). A quote from St. John Chrysostom that I found on a Russian site (http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/slep1/Main.htm) reads like this, "a true fast means distancing oneself from all evil, taming of one's tongue, putting away all anger, mastering one's desires, complete abstaining from slander and all lies, and keeping all of one's oaths."
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2007, 12:34:24 AM »

My understanding is that fasting from wine and oil is because:

1. Wine and oil were carried in animal casks, and thus contaminated by animal blood (which we obviously fast from)
2. Because both wine and oil were luxuries and unnecessary.  Therefore, they should be eliminated from the diet.

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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2007, 12:39:00 AM »

My understanding is that fasting from wine and oil is because:

1. Wine and oil were carried in animal casks, and thus contaminated by animal blood (which we obviously fast from)
2. Because both wine and oil were luxuries and unnecessary.  Therefore, they should be eliminated from the diet.

A blessed Nativity of our Lord to you all!

I had honestly never even thought of the first one.  Good point.  And a blessed Nativity to you as well, Presbytera.
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2007, 10:15:50 PM »

Oil makes food taste better; fasting usually entails simpler, blander foods (although I've had many tasty fasting dishes that would rival a steak.)  That's why you can have olives, but not olive oil (you can't fry anything in olives.)

Furthermore, as the book, "Greek Monastery Cookery" (Arch. Dositheos) explains, "[Orthodox] do not drink wine on days of oilless fasting.  It is harmful without the moderating effect of oil.  Very wisely our Church forbids wine on days of oilless fasting....This is why fasting is indicated on the Orthodox calendar as either "oilless" or "with wine AND oil" (emphasis mine), according to the religious importance of the day - and in conjunction with our health, so that fasting be beneficial both spiritually and physically...Wine must go with solid food; it requires oil and other food to accompany it and compensate its effect. (That is why in the old good days, people would wisely swallow a spoonful of olive oil before meals and feasts that included wine.)

I think the good Archimandrite has wonderful point. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2007, 03:07:15 AM »

Oil makes food taste better; fasting usually entails simpler, blander foods (although I've had many tasty fasting dishes that would rival a steak.)  That's why you can have olives, but not olive oil (you can't fry anything in olives.)

Furthermore, as the book, "Greek Monastery Cookery" (Arch. Dositheos) explains, "[Orthodox] do not drink wine on days of oilless fasting.  It is harmful without the moderating effect of oil.  Very wisely our Church forbids wine on days of oilless fasting....This is why fasting is indicated on the Orthodox calendar as either "oilless" or "with wine AND oil" (emphasis mine), according to the religious importance of the day - and in conjunction with our health, so that fasting be beneficial both spiritually and physically...Wine must go with solid food; it requires oil and other food to accompany it and compensate its effect. (That is why in the old good days, people would wisely swallow a spoonful of olive oil before meals and feasts that included wine.)

I think the good Archimandrite has wonderful point. 

I'm sincerely curious... how does the oil moderate the effects of wine? Or does anyone have any ideas?
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2007, 03:47:09 AM »

I'm sincerely curious... how does the oil moderate the effects of wine? Or does anyone have any ideas?

I have no idea, but I'll give it a shot next time I go out drinking and report back.  I wonder if it works for vodka or just wine?  angel   
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« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2007, 08:07:47 AM »

Athanasios, the short answer to your question is that oil and wine are considered symbols of joy and if one is fasting joy should be absent.

If this is incorrect please let me know but I know it's definately correct for the wine and I'm guessing it's the same for the oil too.

Regardless, I'm Oriental Orthodox so we don't have those restrictions anyway! I use oil to cook almost every day during fasts Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2007, 01:15:40 PM »

I was told by a Greek Orthodox man that fasting from "wine" is wine and "hard liquor".  He said that in his upbringing among greeks that beer was considered a simple food.  He maintains that beer is allowed on weekdays with meals during fasting periods (in moderation of course).  Can someone confirm or deny this who knows greek tradition/practice?

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« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2007, 01:31:29 PM »

I was told by a Greek Orthodox man that fasting from "wine" is wine and "hard liquor".  He said that in his upbringing among greeks that beer was considered a simple food.  He maintains that beer is allowed on weekdays with meals during fasting periods (in moderation of course).  Can someone confirm or deny this who knows greek tradition/practice?

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I know in Slavic traditions, beer is often allowed on fast days.  I never knew Greeks followed it too.
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« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2007, 02:38:30 PM »

I know in Slavic traditions, beer is often allowed on fast days.  I never knew Greeks followed it too.

Or better yet, why?  Greek beer is terrible  Tongue
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« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2007, 06:46:49 PM »

Athanasios, the short answer to your question is that oil and wine are considered symbols of joy and if one is fasting joy should be absent.
I'm not aware that joy is ever to be absent during the seasons of fasting, even during Great Lent.  We should never lose the joy of the Resurrection of Christ, but the joy needs to always be tempered with a spirit of sadness and mourning for our sins, especially during the fasting seasons.  As such, I've heard the proper spirit of Lent described as "bright sadness" or "somber joy".
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« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2007, 11:02:48 PM »

I don't know about the animal skin argument - in the Mediterranean (where most of the canons were formed), they used jars and pots to store oil and wine from before Jesus' time.
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« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2007, 02:12:10 PM »

Athanasios, the short answer to your question is that oil and wine are considered symbols of joy and if one is fasting joy should be absent.

If this is incorrect please let me know but I know it's definately correct for the wine and I'm guessing it's the same for the oil too.

Regardless, I'm Oriental Orthodox so we don't have those restrictions anyway! I use oil to cook almost every day during fasts Cheesy

Obstaining from oil is a very good fasting tradition.

The guidelines or "restrictions" are the minimal. The Didiscalia of the Fathers state " the more a person obstains from the better and more blessed the fast".

I am Oriental Orthoddox as well and try to work this into my fasting life. Most Ethiopian food are NOT fried or made with oil anyway.
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« Reply #27 on: December 25, 2007, 11:42:00 AM »

Most Ethiopian food are NOT fried or made with oil anyway.
Mmmmm...not fried food...

Wish we had a market in town that sold it. We have plenty of Asian foods (everything from Syrian to Japanese), but not African foods. Perhaps if we get a large enough immigrant population, we may see some. I've heard very good things. Cool
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« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2007, 01:38:26 PM »

Hello,

Oil makes food taste better; fasting usually entails simpler, blander foods (although I've had many tasty fasting dishes that would rival a steak.)  That's why you can have olives, but not olive oil (you can't fry anything in olives.

Why then is there no fast from salt? Salt and oil are about equal (in my mind) in the culinary increase of taste. For that matter, other herbs and spices as well (though salt is the most illustrious - or at least the most important, in my opinion).

I could add that simple food need not be bland and that bland food could be anything but simple. One of the best meals that I enjoy is quite simple from a culinary perspective. The food is simple and prepared simply - though it tastes wonderful (to me at least). And a single setting will satiate without overfilling.
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« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2007, 04:18:14 PM »

Dear to Christ Athanasios:

I see your point about simple food not needing to be bland, and I agree with you. 

My thought to the question about why salt isn't banned during a fast is that salt was originally used more as a preservative than for flavoring, but certainly that isn't the case at most tables today.  Again, just my personal thought.


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« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2007, 05:01:42 PM »

Grantedn wesetrn society salt is used as such but in much of the world it was a precious commodity for preserving food and even hard to get.  As the  current rules are given for the church at large  and only expanded due to health issues (for example blubber is permitted in Alaska although it is an animal product  as it is necessary to provide the necessary  calories to keep warm in that climate but  the sme type of fat is not allowed the the lower 49 states) salt was not  included---for those who wish to keep the spirit further than the letter of the law they may voluntarily give up salt as their way of simplifying their food.

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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2007, 10:31:37 PM »

Hello,

My thought to the question about why salt isn't banned during a fast is that salt was originally used more as a preservative than for flavoring, but certainly that isn't the case at most tables today.  Again, just my personal thought.

Blah! I'm getting the image of salt pork in my mind - definitely a penance!  laugh
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« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2007, 10:35:50 PM »

Hello,

Grantedn wesetrn society salt is used as such but in much of the world it was a precious commodity for preserving food and even hard to get.  As the  current rules are given for the church at large  and only expanded due to health issues (for example blubber is permitted in Alaska although it is an animal product  as it is necessary to provide the necessary  calories to keep warm in that climate but  the sme type of fat is not allowed the the lower 49 states) salt was not  included---for those who wish to keep the spirit further than the letter of the law they may voluntarily give up salt as their way of simplifying their food.

Thomas

Maybe I am reading this wrong, but if salt was a precious commodity then should that luxury have been deemed to be given up for the fast like meat was?

Also, don't you think that fasting practices, particularly what should be abstained from, should change with the times as the world changes? I mean, things that were precious in the eyes of our ancestors are sometimes no longer precious or even have become common place or seen as only worthy of the lowest class.
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« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2007, 11:42:53 PM »

Hello,

Maybe I am reading this wrong, but if salt was a precious commodity then should that luxury have been deemed to be given up for the fast like meat was?

Also, don't you think that fasting practices, particularly what should be abstained from, should change with the times as the world changes? I mean, things that were precious in the eyes of our ancestors are sometimes no longer precious or even have become common place or seen as only worthy of the lowest class.
I don't think the primary reason for abstaining from certain foods during the fasts is that the forbidden foods are "precious commodities".  It seems that, if anything, the foods from which we are asked to abstain are among the most commonplace in our regular diets.  What have the more articulate have to say about this?
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« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2007, 01:23:38 AM »

Also, don't you think that fasting practices, particularly what should be abstained from, should change with the times as the world changes? I mean, things that were precious in the eyes of our ancestors are sometimes no longer precious or even have become common place or seen as only worthy of the lowest class.

No, I don't think they should change. Eating vegetables that are not cooked in oil is a very tried and true way to overcome passion.  Meat, dairy, and oil incite passions. Vegetables don't. The fathers learned this through experience and I am not keen on changing it.  These discussions have to much of a sentiment that what is a fasting food is a cultural accident. Surely that was a part of it but the result of eating certain foods was discerned over centuries by the Fathers.

Some people object that one can eat lobster during a fast. Well, if it is that big of a deal, don't eat lobster.
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« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2007, 01:31:50 AM »

Some people object that one can eat lobster during a fast. Well, if it is that big of a deal, don't eat lobster.
Within the spirit of the fast (and under the guidance of one's pastor/spiritual father) there is certainly nothing wrong with going beyond the basic rules of fasting (no meat, dairy, wine, or oil) to abstain also from other foods that incite passions within you.  As Anastasios said, if you object to eating lobster during a fast because you see lobster as a luxury food and violation of the spirit of fasting, then don't eat it.
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« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2007, 04:37:03 PM »

Hello,

No, I don't think they should change. Eating vegetables that are not cooked in oil is a very tried and true way to overcome passion.  Meat, dairy, and oil incite passions. Vegetables don't. The fathers learned this through experience and I am not keen on changing it.  These discussions have to much of a sentiment that what is a fasting food is a cultural accident. Surely that was a part of it but the result of eating certain foods was discerned over centuries by the Fathers.

Some people object that one can eat lobster during a fast. Well, if it is that big of a deal, don't eat lobster.
Within the spirit of the fast (and under the guidance of one's pastor/spiritual father) there is certainly nothing wrong with going beyond the basic rules of fasting (no meat, dairy, wine, or oil) to abstain also from other foods that incite passions within you.  As Anastasios said, if you object to eating lobster during a fast because you see lobster as a luxury food and violation of the spirit of fasting, then don't eat it.

Yes, that is exactly what I am talking about. If memory serves, years ago (100, 200, 300+) lobster and other shellfish were viewed as not even edible for humans - and now it is a luxury item. In the same vein, even up to a hundred years ago you'd be well off if you could afford meat once or twice a week. Most weren't lucky enough to have even that. So meat was a celebratory meal that was saved for those special days. Now, it's not uncommon to have at least one meal with meat in it every day. And eating some meat could be a penance Tongue (blah, another roast! - oh no, not more pork chops!).

To say, I'm fasting but I get to eat lobster and caviar, etc. - in my opinion that is bowing to the letter of the law while violating the heart of it.

Another point to make is that not all fasting need be from food. Indeed, in today's world it might be more spiritually beneficial to fast from other items - like television or video games. I don't know how Orthodoxy handles this, but in the Latin Catholic Church, while there is a mandated dietary fast and days of penance (I can tell you why we have that if you like), there is a non-mandated tradition/expectation (however you describe it) that you perform a personal act of penance(s) for Lent (fasting, alms, or prayer). This should be custom chosen (with the aid of your spiritual director if you are lucky enough to have one) and should be to aid in spiritually assisting in your fight against vices and faults.


Does this make any sense to anyone besides myself?
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« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2007, 04:41:43 PM »

Hello,

Absolutely correct, the most meaningful fast is of course fasting from sin.

This one (which I have heard before) has always made me laugh. Not because I disagree with it (which I don't) - but because when I read it, it seems to say that it is o.k. to sin during non-fasting periods. In my opinion, our entire life as Christians should be an absolute fast from all sin - remember we are all called to holiness.
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« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2007, 05:09:52 PM »

To say, I'm fasting but I get to eat lobster and caviar, etc. - in my opinion that is bowing to the letter of the law while violating the heart of it.
And you'll find many Orthodox who agree with you.

Quote
Another point to make is that not all fasting need be from food. Indeed, in today's world it might be more spiritually beneficial to fast from other items - like television or video games. I don't know how Orthodoxy handles this, but in the Latin Catholic Church, while there is a mandated dietary fast and days of penance (I can tell you why we have that if you like), there is a non-mandated tradition/expectation (however you describe it) that you perform a personal act of penance(s) for Lent (fasting, alms, or prayer). This should be custom chosen (with the aid of your spiritual director if you are lucky enough to have one) and should be to aid in spiritually assisting in your fight against vices and faults.
The additional fasting from other items in keeping with the spirit of the fast is very much a part of our Orthodopraxis.  In fact, the whole package of Lenten expectations (i.e., prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) is what we Orthodox are called to do.  This, to my knowledge, is part of our Sacred Tradition.  I think St. John Chrysostom once called fasting without prayer and works of mercy the "fasting of demons," since even the demons don't eat.  Also, we don't require prayer and almsgiving merely for their value in combating the passions; we pray and seek to alleviate the suffering of others by giving alms or performing other works of mercy because this is what Christ commanded us to do.
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« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2007, 05:17:04 PM »

Hello,

And you'll find many Orthodox who agree with you.
The additional fasting from other items in keeping with the spirit of the fast is very much a part of our Orthodopraxis.  In fact, the whole package of Lenten expectations (i.e., prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) is what we Orthodox are called to do.  This, to my knowledge, is part of our Sacred Tradition.  I think St. John Chrysostom once called fasting without prayer and works of mercy the "fasting of demons," since even the demons don't eat.  Also, we don't require prayer and almsgiving merely for their value in combating the passions; we pray and seek to alleviate the suffering of others by giving alms or performing other works of mercy because this is what Christ commanded us to do.

Amen Brother!


I think St. John Chrysostom once called fasting without prayer and works of mercy the "fasting of demons," since even the demons don't eat.

I think I recall seeing this in his On Wealth and Poverty, but I am uncertain.
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« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2008, 08:28:48 AM »

PeterTheAleut, forgive any misunderstanding please. My intent was to likely the fast to the vow of the Nazarite who also refrained from wine to represent the absence of joy. In Advent, joy is absent because Christ is not yet come and in Lent joy is absent because it commemorates Christ's fasting in the wilderness.
However perhaps it would help to clarify the kind of joy. It's not the somber joy that is absent but the elated joy. The absent joy is the one that we feel after the Resurrection Feast. Does that make more sense now?

Amdetsion, know what you mean. Personally I also abstain from a specific something that I'm partial to during fasts not because I have to but for the sake of abstaining from something that I really like and avoiding excessive delight caused by it.
From what I'm familiar with, I can't think of a fried Ethiopian food. However my step-mum is Malay and we eat lots of Asian foods. I mostly cook stir fries which is much easier to do with olive oil rather than water although if I really wanted to I suppose I could avoid the oil. That being said, I like it anyway especially when the crispy noodles are just touched by a bit of it. Anyway, I praise you for avoiding oil but please permit us weaker souls to simply follow the guidelines and continue using oil. Pray for me please.

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