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Author Topic: Eating with family that are not Orthodox  (Read 4826 times) Average Rating: 0
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casisthename
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« on: April 05, 2011, 03:27:52 PM »

Hey guys,

Do you have any advice on how to handle eating with non Orthodox family members during fasts? Especially, when they provide the meal. Obviously, I want to keep the fast but at the same time during the time I must be home during lent it's very difficult to do. My parents are not Orthodox and therefor do not cook lenten. At school I eat in the cafeteria and can usually find something lenten. My mom's not a short order cook and this is my religious belief not hers so I don't feel like it would be right to eat something different then the family. Yet, it is very important to keep Lent.
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 03:41:00 PM »

I ain't Orthodox. So with a grain of salt (which is all I eating for the entire fast), eat with them. Just have a little less. Keep a hungry a little. That one of the big points in fasting in the first place. And eating a little less or even less earlier or later announces nothing to the world about yourself or what you are doing and certainly will cause no strife.

FWIW.

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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 03:50:34 PM »

I have the same issue. I just eat whatever they cook. If it's a fix-it-yourself night, I have some ramen or rice or something. Or pancakes. Grin

From what I keep hearing, there are monks or Saints that would actually eat more than their guest, so the guest doesn't feel awkward about coming over for dinner when their host is supposed to be fasting.

It really comes down to a matter of common courtesy vs. fasting with this. In most cases, common courtesy wins. If they hand you a nice, big flank steak or filet mignon... Relish the moment. You won't have non-lenten food made for you without your say during Great Lent forever.  Tongue
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 04:07:53 PM »


I am reading the Desert Fathers, and there's one episode which answers this.  I wish I could remember which Father it was, but, I tend to flip through the book and stop at odd pages here and there.  I'll try to look it up tonight.

The story goes something like this:

Abba Something and his disciple went visiting to a neighboring monastery.  The brothers there greeted them warmly and put out food for them to eat.  They sat and ate, and in time got up to go home.

On the way home, the disciple stopped by a stream and bent to get a drink of water, because it was hot and dusty.  Abba Something quickly called to him and told him to stop, that today is a fasting day.  The disciple looked up at him and reminded him that they had just eaten a full meal....to which the Father replied something like ...we ate because it would have been rude to dismiss the other's charity, however, now that we are on our own, we are to fast.

Therefore, if you are in company of non-Orthodox, or even Orthodox who might not be fasting, it is not sinful to partake of their meal (within reason).  However, the moment you part company with them remember it's still a fast.

I'll try to find which Father this was and get back to you tomorrow.
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 04:34:12 PM »

Christ didn't die for us so we could be legalistic or make a big deal about our spiritual exercises. 'Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing'--or something like that.

When it's under your control, fast. When it's not, say nothing and take a smaller portion.  Don't put your loved ones to any effort or expense, and don't burden them with your own preoccupations.
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 08:15:30 PM »

Liza, i agree w you here.... (btw Liza, we often vacation in MI or even UP)....my husband is not orthodox and is retired...he is also a good cook....i have only had one small portion of beef this Lent, but that was an evening he told me he had made "scrumptious swiss steak" and his "feelings will be hurt if you dont have some"....of course i did- and it was scrumptious! i think that is what i needed to do to not break my fast...(does that even make sense lol?) but i am just a catechumen and i am sure your priest can advise you on that....
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 08:21:21 PM »

When in nonorthodoxia, do as the nonorthodoxians do Smiley Maybe over time drop some hints, though, and see if family are receptive to providing dishes that everyone can eat, but which are also Lenten (e.g. veggie chili or something).
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 08:30:48 PM »

Hey guys,

Do you have any advice on how to handle eating with non Orthodox family members during fasts? Especially, when they provide the meal. Obviously, I want to keep the fast but at the same time during the time I must be home during lent it's very difficult to do. My parents are not Orthodox and therefor do not cook lenten. At school I eat in the cafeteria and can usually find something lenten. My mom's not a short order cook and this is my religious belief not hers so I don't feel like it would be right to eat something different then the family. Yet, it is very important to keep Lent.

You have the rest of that day, week, and lent to starve yourself, it would be wrong to deny hospitality offered out of love.
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 08:46:22 PM »

I too was having trouble with this subject and after a few talks with my priest he explained it as something like we fast in secret, letting everyone around us know about the fast is the wrong way to go about it, so when going to someones house eat like them, but dont accept extra invitations to people's houses just to eat non- Lent food.  I mentioned about family coming once a week and they would know if all of a sudden I stopped serving the normal rotation of meat dishes and he said again we fast in secret so when you have non-Orthodox coming to your house serve them what they will enjoy, even if it is non-Lent food.  He also had a quote from the scriptures about how keeping the fast secret.
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 08:55:44 PM »

Hospitality is more important than fasting.  You eat what they have prepared.  After that, you can go back to the fasting.  If there is a buffet situation and you think that maybe you can get away with eating fasting foods that they might have, you can try that.  However, if you think people would notice that you weren't eating meat or dairy, then go ahead and eat it. 
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 08:56:17 PM »

I must say, if my memories are accurate, the responses on this thread are quite different than the ones given on a similar thread a half dozen years ago.
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 09:03:53 PM »


Most of these posters weren't posting half a dozen years ago.

Wink
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 09:27:04 PM »

Liza, i agree w you here.... (btw Liza, we often vacation in MI or even UP)....my husband is not orthodox and is retired...he is also a good cook....i have only had one small portion of beef this Lent, but that was an evening he told me he had made "scrumptious swiss steak" and his "feelings will be hurt if you dont have some"....of course i did- and it was scrumptious! i think that is what i needed to do to not break my fast...(does that even make sense lol?) but i am just a catechumen and i am sure your priest can advise you on that....

Isn't Michigan beautiful?  Let me know when you are in the area! 
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 09:44:37 PM »

Whatever you do, always make sure you let your non-Orthodox family know about the Church's view of them and how they are on their way towards hell unless they change their ways, forsake heresy and embrace the true faith.
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 09:58:35 PM »

Whatever you do, always make sure you let your non-Orthodox family know about the Church's view of them and how they are on their way towards hell unless they change their ways, forsake heresy and embrace the true faith.

Great idea!  Let me take some notes.... "on their way to hell"... "Forsake heresy"... "embrace the true faith"

Augustin, how do you feel about the use of prayer rope as impromptu torture device to aid in their conversion?  How many knots around the wrist to get that properly burnt without breaking the skin effect do they use in the Old Country? 

When I cast my glares of disapproval is it okay to cast icons as well? Print or hand painted (laminated prints, of course, paper cuts probably won't get across the appropriate level of my convert scorn)?
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2011, 10:04:26 PM »

Whatever you do, always make sure you let your non-Orthodox family know about the Church's view of them and how they are on their way towards hell unless they change their ways, forsake heresy and embrace the true faith.

Great idea!  Let me take some notes.... "on their way to hell"... "Forsake heresy"... "embrace the true faith"

Augustin, how do you feel about the use of prayer rope as impromptu torture device to aid in their conversion?  How many knots around the wrist to get that properly burnt without breaking the skin effect do they use in the Old Country? 

When I cast my glares of disapproval is it okay to cast icons as well? Print or hand painted (laminated prints, of course, paper cuts probably won't get across the appropriate level of my convert scorn)?

I <3 u both
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2011, 11:32:14 PM »

casisthename,

 Just this past weekend, my fiance and I visited my mother and had dinner with her.  This is something that I love to do because, well, she's my mamma.  "What should I do?" I asked myself.  After researching a bit, I found numerous examples (Desert Fathers, Priests, etc...) that have all said that it's uncharitable to decline what others have cooked for you.  Additionally, I tend to believe that if your parents cooked for you, eating it is a way of honoring them.  So, I was prepared to eat whatever she cooked.  But I offered to cook for them and was able to make a Lenten dish that everyone loved!  So, if I were you, I'd would eat whatever she cooks and not let it trouble you in the least. 

 BUT, as the wise caveat around here goes, why not ask your priest?   
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2011, 12:00:43 AM »

This is a subject I've been thinking about for a bit. My priest, just before I was Chrismated and approached him with this same problem gave me basically the advice that's in this thread. Of course now I've moved to a different city and am going down to my parents for easter and because of schedules we're going to have our Easter mean Saturday at noon. I've been struggling with the idea, knowing I'm allowed, but just feeling very odd about it.

But as someone has already said, it isn't our business to be legalistic about it.
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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2011, 12:18:24 AM »

I absolutely refuse to eat any food prepared by the vile hands of a heretic. True to the end, with a crown waiting in my mansion.
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2011, 12:23:17 AM »

Whatever you do, always make sure you let your non-Orthodox family know about the Church's view of them and how they are on their way towards hell unless they change their ways, forsake heresy and embrace the true faith.

I absolutely refuse to eat any food prepared by the vile hands of a heretic. True to the end, with a crown waiting in my mansion.

Ahh! Now we're starting to get comments just like the good old days!  Grin
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2011, 02:07:06 AM »

I absolutely refuse to eat any food prepared by the vile hands of a heretic. True to the end, with a crown waiting in my mansion.

So what you're saying is that people who convert to Orthodoxy should cut themselves off from all family?

I forget, what does the decalogue say about our parents?
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2011, 02:14:25 AM »

"Faith, hope and Love...but the greatest of these is Love."

Would it be loving to say, "Sorry.  I'm FASTING!"

Would it be loving to say, "Sorry.  I'm Orthodox now and you're a heterodox heretic.  I can't eat your cooking.  I'm FASTING, after all."

Would it be loving to say, "Sorry.  You're a heretic and your cooking stinks."

Eat what you are given, be thankful for it, and most of all: be thankful for the heart of the one who prepared it. 



Being Orthodox is not about fastings.  Demons fast all the time and have no love in them.  This is what separates man/woman from the demons:  we have the ability to love and be loving and choose God.

choose God and eat what has been prepared for you in the name of the Lord.
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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2011, 02:16:02 AM »

I absolutely refuse to eat any food prepared by the vile hands of a heretic. True to the end, with a crown waiting in my mansion.

Pretty lonely in that mansion, isn't it?  

I know the bishops and priests of  your diocese.  I know you did not learn this from them.  You obviously have not been paying attention in Serbian church.

Papa (His Grace, the Bishop if you prefer)  Longin would not approve of your attitude.  I know him personally and he would not agree with you and he would give you holy smack for this.  I may ask him to sign up for this forum and answer this question himself and to answer you directly, just for the fun of it.  I cannot believe any Orthodox person would actually write this on the internet.  Shame on you!
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2011, 02:23:19 AM »

Some posters in this thread appear to have broken sarcasm meters. Here, you can borrow mine...

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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2011, 02:30:08 AM »

Some posters in this thread appear to have broken sarcasm meters. Here, you can borrow mine...



"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit".  -Winston Churchill.

If so, then this thread is the lowest of all time.  Some things are just not funny.
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« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2011, 02:32:05 AM »

Some posters in this thread appear to have broken sarcasm meters. Here, you can borrow mine...



"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit".  -Winston Churchill.

If so, then this thread is the lowest of all time.  Some things are just not funny.
And some people just need to develop a sense of humor. Wink
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2011, 02:32:56 AM »

Whatever you do, always make sure you let your non-Orthodox family know about the Church's view of them and how they are on their way towards hell unless they change their ways, forsake heresy and embrace the true faith.

Now THIS is funny!  Great one!
 A very well crafted response via sarcasm.  Well received!  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2011, 02:35:17 AM »

Some posters in this thread appear to have broken sarcasm meters. Here, you can borrow mine...



"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit".  -Winston Churchill.

If so, then this thread is the lowest of all time.  Some things are just not funny.
And some people just need to develop a sense of humor. Wink

Gotcha.  Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2011, 02:38:51 AM »

On another note:  I had non-Orthodox visitors this evening for dinner.  Because they know nothing about Orthodoxy, or about my personal habits, and because these were young people unaccostomed to fasting,  I ordered take out from Pizza Hut.  Am I going to Hell?

Smiley

Love,
Columbina

(hope the previous exchange was all in good fun.  It was on my side.)

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« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2011, 02:48:50 AM »

For my part it was as well Smiley Mmm... pizza hut, I could go for some of that right about now!

Regarding non-Orthodox visitors, I don't often have visitors here, but did have my mother and her husband (both Protestants) here last year, and an Orthodox priest was also here. After the priest was done with some prayers he offered the cross for veneration. I was first up, and after kissing the cross I kissed his hand. My Mom hesitantly kissed the cross, and then, not wanting to be rude, very hesitantly kissed his hand. Then her husband very very hesitantly kissed the cross and drew back quickly, like he was thinking "I ain't kissing another man's hand!"  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: April 06, 2011, 02:53:30 AM »

For my part it was as well Smiley Mmm... pizza hut, I could go for some of that right about now!

Regarding non-Orthodox visitors, I don't often have visitors here, but did have my mother and her husband (both Protestants) here last year, and an Orthodox priest was also here. After the priest was done with some prayers he offered the cross for veneration. I was first up, and after kissing the cross I kissed his hand. My Mom hesitantly kissed the cross, and then, not wanting to be rude, very hesitantly kissed his hand. Then her husband very very hesitantly kissed the cross and drew back quickly, like he was thinking "I ain't kissing another man's hand!"  Grin

I think I am in love with your step-dad.  LOL~! Great story!  Thanks!  I needed it this Lent!  Yeah, it was kinda torture to watch everyone else eating Pizza Hut while I munched on a crust...I told them that I had a stomach issue (true) and I couldn't have a whole piece.  When they left, I had a bowl of rice and teriyaki veggie fry.  Yummy!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 02:55:03 AM by blackincense » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2011, 09:37:09 AM »

It was my anniversary with my husband yesterday and we celebrated by eating cheese-less pizza and breadsticks at Pizza Hut (yes, that's how we celebrate!). He was less than thrilled but it did go a long way towards curing my pizza craving!

But I guess your visitors would have been confused at a cheese-less pizza!
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« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2011, 10:38:28 AM »

I ordered take out from Pizza Hut.  Am I going to Hell?

Yep.  Oh well.
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« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2011, 10:39:01 AM »

^ sorry, I couldn't resist.   Wink
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« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2011, 10:58:39 AM »

It was my anniversary with my husband yesterday and we celebrated by eating cheese-less pizza and breadsticks at Pizza Hut (yes, that's how we celebrate!). He was less than thrilled but it did go a long way towards curing my pizza craving!

But I guess your visitors would have been confused at a cheese-less pizza!

I always thought that their pizza was cheese-less all of the time!  Wink
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« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2011, 11:03:08 AM »

Haha, don't get me started on Pizza Hut (I wrote a blog entry called "The Pizza Hut Curse").  Angry I love their pan pizza crusts too much to leave....

Papa John's, which is popular in my area, blech.  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2011, 11:15:56 AM »


Just a reminder, This is the Convert Issues Forum and not a place for deprecating statements about the Holy Orthodox Church or its members. As  can be noted above, some people do not get the ironic sarcasm of some of the posts on this topic until it was brought out by Asterikos (thank you Asterikos for the  meter, it was funny).

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is listed in the  standing post-its  of the Forum but to help you remember our purpose it is as follows:
... to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

If the moderators find that the discusions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster,You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or argument. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

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« Reply #37 on: April 06, 2011, 12:36:39 PM »

On another note:  I had non-Orthodox visitors this evening for dinner.  Because they know nothing about Orthodoxy, or about my personal habits, and because these were young people unaccostomed to fasting,  I ordered take out from Pizza Hut.  Am I going to Hell?

Probably.  At least, I hope so.  I could use the company.
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« Reply #38 on: April 06, 2011, 12:38:15 PM »

It was my anniversary with my husband yesterday and we celebrated by eating cheese-less pizza and breadsticks at Pizza Hut (yes, that's how we celebrate!). He was less than thrilled but it did go a long way towards curing my pizza craving!

But I guess your visitors would have been confused at a cheese-less pizza!

You poor woman.  Cheese-less pizza is grounds for divorce!
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« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2011, 12:41:52 PM »

So I'm deciding between divorce and hell now?

(He had a few beers. He's over it.  Wink)
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« Reply #40 on: April 06, 2011, 12:43:24 PM »

So I'm deciding between divorce and hell now?

(He had a few beers. He's over it.  Wink)

Hey, this thread is about food, not marriage :-)
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« Reply #41 on: April 06, 2011, 12:48:54 PM »

 Grin Marriage very much depends on food. Am I right, ladies and gentlemen?

(And for grouchy husbands, food depends on the state of the marriage at the moment!)
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« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2011, 12:50:39 PM »

Grin Marriage very much depends on food. Am I right, ladies and gentlemen?

(And for grouchy husbands, food depends on the state of the marriage at the moment!)

You are right on both accounts!
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« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2011, 04:05:05 PM »

personally i think it's not difficult to make some yummy dish with veg and beans to serve with rice, and then serve a non-fasting dish (sorry i have a personal problem with naming non-lentern foods during lent, i prefer to pretend they don't exist!) on the side or on the top of the rice to give to your non-fasting guests.
i live with a non-fasting person, and can give you a link to several 'one person fasting one not' recipes if you like (and if it is allowed; it is from another orthodox forum).

as for going to people's houses, you can offer to take a dish with you to have with the rice/potatoes and veg they cook. if that is difficult, take advice from your priest or (eg. if you are not yet orthodox so don't have a priest) from some spiritual person who knows you well.
the thing we are trying to do in lent is to develop a good spiritual discipline, so we are not lazy (avoiding prayer, Bible study, fasting and giving to those in need). we are also striving to avoid pride.
so whether you fast or not in someone else's house depends on whether you are being a bit lazy/embarrassed about your religion by not fasting, or whether you are being unloving and demanding by not fasting. it depends on each person's situation, which is why a priest is usually the best person to give advice.

i was previously in a country where there were not many Christians during the apostles' fast, and the Christians i did meet were not orthodox. i had no opportunity to cook/buy my own food, and i discussed it with my priest and in the end i did not fast until i came home.
may God give you all many blessings this fast, and please pray for me too, a sinner.
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« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2011, 02:04:53 AM »

Ya'll got the story wrong about the two monks that were fasting who visited a monastery and broke their fast.

In essence it is correct: two monks visited a monastery, and chose to break their fast when food was offered to them rather than offend the brotherhood. But what is not mentioned (this is hinted at when the disciple goes to drink water) is that back then, fasting meant eating or drinking absolutely nothing. Breaking the fast would mean having a few dry pieces of bread, some figs, boiled weeds at most, and water. So, unless you are fasting like St. Zosima and momma offers you salted crackers, don't use that example.

Otherwise, do whatever you can. Certainly eating meat in Great Lent is absolutely never permissible.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 02:05:59 AM by Chtets Ioann » Logged
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