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« on: December 20, 2010, 09:36:06 PM »

have some questions about fasting....i am trying hard to abide by the restrictions but....i was told recently that when the calendar notes fish is allowed that does not mean fish like tilapia or tuna (which are cheap), or perch and walleye (which our peninsula is known for)- but fish without a spine like shrimp or lobster (which are expensive)...this seems odd to me if one of the purposes of fasting is to save money to give to the poor....i cant afford to get shrimp, crab or lobster, let alone have the time to prepare it...tuna and frozen fillets of tilapia or cod on the other hand is prepared quickly and simply...

on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to  nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked...

i get the feeling that the congregation of which i am part of is not very diligent re the fasts but yet our priest is...

what to do what to do....?
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 11:15:09 PM »

have some questions about fasting....i am trying hard to abide by the restrictions but....i was told recently that when the calendar notes fish is allowed that does not mean fish like tilapia or tuna (which are cheap), or perch and walleye (which our peninsula is known for)- but fish without a spine like shrimp or lobster (which are expensive)...this seems odd to me if one of the purposes of fasting is to save money to give to the poor....i cant afford to get shrimp, crab or lobster, let alone have the time to prepare it...tuna and frozen fillets of tilapia or cod on the other hand is prepared quickly and simply...

Weekly Fast
Unless a fast-free period has been declared, Orthodox Christians are to keep a strict fast every Wednesday and Friday. The following foods are avoided:
Meat, including poultry, and any meat products such as lard and meat broth.
Fish (meaning fish with backbones; shellfish are permitted).
Eggs and dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, etc.)
Olive oil. A literal interpretation of the rule forbids only olive oil. Especially where olive oil is not a major part of the diet, the rule is sometimes taken to include all vegetable oils, as well as oil products such as margarine.
Wine and other alcoholic drink. In the Slavic tradition, beer is often permitted on fast days.

on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to  nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked i get the feeling that the congregation of which i am part of is not very diligent re the fasts but yet our priest is...

what to do what to do....?

I hope you can work something out.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 11:18:31 PM by Melodist » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 11:47:43 PM »

have some questions about fasting....i am trying hard to abide by the restrictions but....i was told recently that when the calendar notes fish is allowed that does not mean fish like tilapia or tuna (which are cheap), or perch and walleye (which our peninsula is known for)- but fish without a spine like shrimp or lobster (which are expensive)...this seems odd to me if one of the purposes of fasting is to save money to give to the poor....i cant afford to get shrimp, crab or lobster, let alone have the time to prepare it...tuna and frozen fillets of tilapia or cod on the other hand is prepared quickly and simply...

on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to  nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked...

i get the feeling that the congregation of which i am part of is not very diligent re the fasts but yet our priest is...

what to do what to do....?
Eat the tilapia and tuna, and give the alms.

When the rules were set, shrimp and lobster were cheap (lobster used to be ground up for fertilizer). Observe the spirit, not the letter.

Btw, in the Middle East, fish means fish, ii.e. with backbones.  That's why special fish dates are marked. Otherwise, shrimp and other crusteceans are always allowed.

As the chilcken, if you can avoid eating it, i.e. let your husband know about the fasting rules for future reference, do so. But at this stage refusing to eat his cooking isn't what the fast is about.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 11:49:21 PM »

have some questions about fasting....i am trying hard to abide by the restrictions but....i was told recently that when the calendar notes fish is allowed that does not mean fish like tilapia or tuna (which are cheap), or perch and walleye (which our peninsula is known for)- but fish without a spine like shrimp or lobster (which are expensive)...this seems odd to me if one of the purposes of fasting is to save money to give to the poor....i cant afford to get shrimp, crab or lobster, let alone have the time to prepare it...tuna and frozen fillets of tilapia or cod on the other hand is prepared quickly and simply...

on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to  nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked...

i get the feeling that the congregation of which i am part of is not very diligent re the fasts but yet our priest is...

what to do what to do....?

First, you should talk to your priest about whether or not he wants you to fast. While the Church has general guidelines as to how the fast should be followed, just as a doctor will examine the physical state of one's health before giving a prescription, so too will your Spiritual father examine your spiritual state before telling you how you should fast.

Furthermore, as you have not been chrismated an Orthodox Christian and cannot partake of the Eucharist, you do not have this gift to give you strength during the fast.

In regards to the questions regarding fish, seafood without a vertebrate (shrimp, mussels, lobster, etc.,) are permitted throughout the fast. When you see that the calendar says "fish is allowed" (this is usually on feast days that occur within a Lenten period) this means you can eat fish with a vertebrate (tilapia, flounder, trout, etc.) One must remember that when the fasting guidelines were written, they were written many years ago in a Mediterranean setting. During that time, shrimp and mussels were cheap, and fish with a vertebrate were expensive. Therefore, it would make sense that shrimp would be allowed but tilapia would not.

As far as shrimp being difficult to prepare, it's actually one of the easiest things to prepare, and can be purchased rather inexpensively when you buy it frozen. A quick search on the internet will turn up loads of easy to prepare shrimp dishes that I'm sure you and your husband would enjoy.

But first things first, TALK TO YOUR PRIEST.

You are married to a man who is not an Orthodox Christian, and at the present moment, does not express interest in becoming Orthodox. Your priest needs to know this so he is sensitive to this. It will not be expected of you to keep the fast as diligently as those where both spouses are Orthodox. It's simply not possible.

Don't seek advice on the internet about these things; talk to your Spiritual Father, as he knows what is best.
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2010, 04:06:07 AM »

on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to  nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked...

I've heard it said that refusing to eat something prepared for you is a much graver sin than failure to observe a fast.  Christ would never stand on ceremony like that, that would be completely missing the point.
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2010, 07:44:18 AM »

on another point....i live with a dear husband who attended vespers for a few months with me when i began looking into the Orthodox church....but has stopped going with me and now attends a Baptist church semi-regularly...something he has never done on his own...(i am sure i scared the snot out of him when i got serious about orthodoxy lol)...he is retired and loves to cook....he know about the Nativity fast and Great Lent Fast and Wed and Fri otherwise (those days all add up to  nearly half of the year-daunting indeed)...but again, he likes to cook and when i come home from the first day on my new promotion and he has a wonderful chicken dinner i feel i must eat it not to offend him....or today he spent time making a roast and carrots...again i ate...i am torn...i have read that some of the early Fathers would eat more than the guest so as not to make them feel awkward if they visited him while fasting...last year for Great Lent i fasted all week but on the weekends home with husband i ate whatever he wanted or cooked...

I've heard it said that refusing to eat something prepared for you is a much graver sin than failure to observe a fast.  Christ would never stand on ceremony like that, that would be completely missing the point.

I was told the same thing.
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2010, 10:39:15 AM »

All have offered sound advice, and remember, that the fasting traditions do differ from geographic region to geographic region in historical Orthodoxy. For example, northern Slavs had little, if any knowledge about such 'exotic' foods as lobster or shrimp but were well acquainted with fresh water fish with backbones. I remember many years ago being 'shocked' to hear my Bishop laughingly tell of a dinner during a fast with some of his fellow, non-Slav Bishops where lobster and shrimp were served. To my 'hunky' ears that seemed bizarre as such foods were clearly to be eaten only at the finest restaurants by those with lots of money (at least it seemed that way to a kid in the early 1960's). (Now that shrimp is readily available and inexpensive, it doesn't seem strange at all! Lobster on the other hand.......)

If you are troubled, by all means consult with your priest and yes, to refuse food offered to you when you are a guest is not a proper thing to do.
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2010, 11:33:36 AM »



As the chilcken, if you can avoid eating it, i.e. let your husband know about the fasting rules for future reference, do so. But at this stage refusing to eat his cooking isn't what the fast is about.

Amen.  As one wise Orthodox friend told me.  "Love trumps everything but heresy."   
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2011, 06:32:51 AM »

I  am also an inquirer into Orthodoxy. if dairy is restricted does this include things like bread that contain(i think) oil and milk or eggs. how about vegatables flavored with broth or butter. Just curious as an RC our fast was limited to two meals and no meat. Fish didn.t count. I find out that the English(not  the church) don't consider Poultry meat when talking about meatless days.
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2011, 10:42:42 AM »

I hope the English DO consider poultry as meat.

In general I find the whole business of fasting a little confusing. The Lenten Triodion gives ideal rules but I find I'm fit for nothing if I fast till the nineth hour. On the other hand it seems a bit sad to miss the blessings and pretty much do your own thing.

Last Sunday (The Publican and the Pharisee) the priest pointed out that it is better to be a 'failure' at fasting than a rip roaring success like the Pharisee. He was talking about pride. One of my objections to the Roman Catholic Church is its utter abandonment of fasting (except for the instrumental kind eg for Cafod). Even fish on Fridays, considered quite austere in my youth, has gone.

Lastly I would refer you to the writings of Pope Shenouda who says there ought to be, with the priest's permission, some kind of discomfort in fasting. He who has ears...
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2011, 10:56:36 AM »

I am no Orthodox, but have discussed this topic around.

Really, I can't imagine having anyone difficulty with maintaining the fast rules (save for medical complications), if you do then you might need to see a shrink. I've eaten "Lenten" before for the most part for at least six years of my life.. In contemporary Western countries, skirting spirit of the rules is easy while maintaining the letter.

As noted above and another point also pointed out elsewhere, it seems to me less food, less expensive food, less comforting food, less time intensive food, is the upshot, so that one can spend more time in prayer and more time and use more money engaged in acts of mercy (alms).

I can easily eat "lenten" in my neighborhood (save over some the arguments about oil) and eat opulent, delicious, and expensive food.

Simply going without animal products for a few weeks = NBD, IMHO. Doing the above = difficult and trying.

Add in possible restrictions on entertainment, sex, etc. to further allow for more prayer and acts of mercy and it is even more difficult.
 

 
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2011, 11:00:32 AM »

Good grief. Forgive the above typos and whatnot. Mondays mornings are some of the worse when it comes to dealing with the lingering problems I have from recent head trauma.



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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2011, 04:23:04 PM »

Here's a fasting practice: Turn off the tv and computer, as my priest recommends. Surprisingly difficult.
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2011, 04:32:37 PM »

Here's a fasting practice: Turn off the tv and computer, as my priest recommends. Surprisingly difficult.

Amazing the how the most simple of gross motor movements are often impossible to engage in.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2011, 05:01:48 PM »

Here's a fasting practice: Turn off the tv and computer, as my priest recommends. Surprisingly difficult.

does...not...compute...  Huh  Cry
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2011, 04:11:37 PM »

Here's a fasting practice: Turn off the tv and computer, as my priest recommends. Surprisingly difficult.

I planned to do that for Lent.

On regular fast days is a good idea too.
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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2011, 06:53:23 PM »

In regards to the questions regarding fish, seafood without a vertebrate (shrimp, mussels, lobster, etc.,) are permitted throughout the fast. When you see that the calendar says "fish is allowed" (this is usually on feast days that occur within a Lenten period) this means you can eat fish with a vertebrate (tilapia, flounder, trout, etc.) One must remember that when the fasting guidelines were written, they were written many years ago in a Mediterranean setting. During that time, shrimp and mussels were cheap, and fish with a vertebrate were expensive. Therefore, it would make sense that shrimp would be allowed but tilapia would not.

I think this differs from diocese to diocese. From what I understand that the Greeks allow "nonvertebrate" fish on all fast days, but that isn't true for everyone. For example, all fish are allowed on weekends during the Nativity Fast, but not on any other fast days, especially not during Lent (for the Romanians and the Antiochians.....I think). I think the Annunciation is the only time when any kind of fish are allowed during Lent. If it says fish are allowed, then I think any kind of fish will do. Anyhow, talking with your priest will clear all of this up.

In any case, don't let food of all things drive a wedge between you and your husband. I think someone mentioned it above, but if you let him know about fast days and fasting periods, then he can cook things that work for both of you. Otherwise, just eat what he made and continue your fast (after your meal Smiley ). Fasting is more than the food we eat, it is a retreat from the world, a cleansing of body and of soul. The food restrictions, if I understand correctly, are in order to instill discipline and to turn our entire bodies to the obedience of God (while freeing up money to give to the poor Smiley ). It's not really about the rules, per se (though I hesitate to say that), its about serving God.
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2011, 06:57:58 PM »

I  am also an inquirer into Orthodoxy. if dairy is restricted does this include things like bread that contain(i think) oil and milk or eggs. how about vegatables flavored with broth or butter. Just curious as an RC our fast was limited to two meals and no meat. Fish didn.t count. I find out that the English(not  the church) don't consider Poultry meat when talking about meatless days.

Every year my priest tells us "Fasting is not about reading labels, Jesus never read labels." We're not supposed to go to the supermarket and find yummy-looking things and check if they're vegan (though, I confess that I do quite often). Fasting is about reducing everything to the bare essentials, simple foods that can't possibly contain any dairy or meat  Smiley I don't think you'll find apples, oranges, carrots (fresh fruit and veggies) that have any non-vegan elements. As for the bread, try getting the regular kind (or make your own if you're adventurous). The intention is to strip ourselves of all the superflous things with which we indulge ourselves and to eat just what we need and give the rest too the poor.
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