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Author Topic: Another fasting question  (Read 1934 times) Average Rating: 0
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spiros
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« on: August 02, 2004, 12:30:31 PM »

Dear OO brothers and sisters,
Related to Paul 2004's question, what is the custom of various OO churches to fasting from Oil, olive or all oils. (there is some variance in EO churches about this) Also, are there periodic "fish days", like our feasts within fasts. What about fish without backbones?

I am not asking to be a provocative question, just genuinely curious how nature and timing of certain fasts evolved, How they are locally adapted within the Tradition, and Ancient practices.  

Thank you

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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2004, 06:28:28 PM »

I'm not sure that there are "fish days"; I don't think so.  The allowance for shellfish that EO have is another thing I don't think we have.  

Re: oil, I don't think there's a regulation regarding that.  At least with Indian cooking, I can't imagine it being done without some sort of oil, even the vegetarian stuff.  A man's gotta eat, you know.  Smiley
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paul2004
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2004, 12:02:35 PM »

In India, oil is not consumed as in Greek culture. I learned from my Greek colleague that,  in Greece they dip bread in olive oil. But in almost all Indian food recipes, the first step is to splutter a few mustard seeds in 2-3 spoons of veg. oil or Ghee (clarified butter) and saute oinion in the same oil or at the end onion fried in 2-3 spoons of oil is used as garnish as in the case of veg pulau etc.

Ghee is not allowed on IOC fasting days.  But there is no restriction on using veg. oil, they way it is used in Indian veg. food.

Is it true that all EO allows shell fish, or just Greek Orthodox?

regards,
-Paul
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spiros
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 12:22:24 AM »

Paul and Mor Ephrem,
Thank you for your insights. I believe the shell fish is acceptable in all Greek churches (Antioch, Alexandria, EP, Church of Greece) I have no idea about Slavic churches. It would have been harder to obtain perhaps in inland areas. Shellfish does seem to be acceptable among all EO in the USA. I will try to ask some of my Romanian and Slavic friends later this week about practices in Europe.


Historically, I am not sure why. Fishermen need a trade?  I think certain shellfish do not have red blood, but purple. (I read that Shellfish were used by the Romans to dye purple cloth).  Perhaps these are reasons.

I do know bad shellfish will kill you quicker than anything else, and living inland one must be very careful of it. Plus My wife is allergic to most shellfish, so it is not a big deal at our house.  

I recently read some Syrian (Syriac) churches keep a dawn to dusk complete fast like the muslims. Does the Indian Orthodox Church do this?
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 11:27:15 AM »

I recently read some Syrian (Syriac) churches keep a dawn to dusk complete fast like the muslims. Does the Indian Orthodox Church do this?

From my reading, it seems to at least be officially on the books that this is the normal fast in our Church, since we share with the Syrian Orthodox of the Middle East the same Syrian tradition.  I don't know how many people actually observe this, however.  I suspect most people are granted certain dispensations.  Paul would know more about this.  

We haven't heard from any of the other Oriental Orthodox represented here.  Coptic?  Armenian?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2004, 11:28:59 AM by Mor Ephrem » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2004, 11:46:55 AM »

In the Slavic Churches there are definitely fish days. During great Lent I think it is Palm Sunday that is the fish day. Indeed many are oil-free as well. In my church we all go through Lent with no fish. Shellfish are fish and are totally banned. However the whole oil-free thing is usually only the hard-core parishoners and of course the clergy.

Every year (well many years!) when I do follow Great Lent I abstain from fish of all sorts except the two days when it is allowed. I thought this was common practice - it's all tofu and veggies for a while Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2004, 04:08:28 PM »

I recently read some Syrian (Syriac) churches keep a dawn to dusk complete fast like the muslims. Does the Indian Orthodox Church do this?

General rule (for one day fasting) is to fast from previous day evening till the ninth hour of the day. This is one day fasting to be followed on Wed. and Fri.  But, in the current practise it is just dawn to the afternoon.   Also there should be 6 hours of fasting before communion.

Mar Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis (367-403 A.D.) says, "Wednesday and Friday are days of fasting up to the ninth hour because, as Wednesday began the Lord was arrested and on Friday he was crucified."

Wednesday fasting is also considered in honor of St. Mary.

For all other fasting, it is not just dawn to dusk, but absistence from meat, milk and egg products for the entire period. Since fish is common in coastal regions and Indians always add some milk to tea or coffee, there are some relaxations allowed for using fish and milk, except on some fasting days. Other than this the rules are same as in all Orthodox churches.

Hope this explains the Indian tradition.

-Paul

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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2004, 12:14:02 AM »

Greetings in The Lord, all.

For the Coptic tradition, there are 3 or 4 'degrees' of fasting, depending on how you would be dispensated; As a general and very central rule, fasting can only be taken seriously if it is guided by an elder to help you on the way so fruits may actually result instead of the harms that can arise from unguided fasting.

first degree fasts are Great Fast (Lent), Wednesdays and Fridays(all throughout the year except in the Holy Fifty(Eastertide), and if Theophany or Nativity fall on wed. or fri.), and Nineveh's Fast (3 day fast, always 2 weeks before Lent begins). Generally abstinence is to be observed until sun set(i have heard a muslim scholar tell me once that muslims took on this practice for their month of Ramadan), then vegan food is only allowed; no dairy, no seafood during these fasts, veg oil is always allowed but generally people never use it during holy week and the stric do not use it on wednesdays and fridays.

Second degree fasts are Nativity (advent) and Apostle's fast (this fast can vary in length since it depends on the amount of days between Holy Pentecost and and July 12th(feast day of Sts Peter and Paul). Traditionally these fasts never had allowed fish or seafood in them, but they do now, but Papa Shenouda frowns at any use of fish and seafood during fasts(as was the slightly older tradition).

Then of course there is Dormition fast, which most people fast first degree(Axion Esteen indeed, mostly holy Theotokos!) out of their love for the Theotokos, but the church does present it as a second degree fast(abstinence is not required till sunset).

Again, all of this is general/minimal rule, akrivia is dispensated depending on the level of the faster and the wisdom of the spiritual guide.

an interesting side point regarding the use of oil in the Greek tradition however! A professor of mine, his late father of blessed memory was a teacher at the Thessalonika school of theology, and he once told me that the latter told him the oil was restricted on the 'holier' days since it used to be stored in oilskins, thus veg oil was viwed as something contianing animal substance because it was stored in animal skins. I find tha kinda cool and wanted to share it.

rememeber me in your prayers,
IC XC,
mourad
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2004, 01:35:49 AM »

I recently read some Syrian (Syriac) churches keep a dawn to dusk complete fast like the muslims. Does the Indian Orthodox Church do this?

The Muslims emulated fasting and other practices like prostrating from Syriac Christianity. They were more influenced by the Eastern Syriac Christianity in this regard. Their custom of fasting dawn to dusk is similar to the Church of the East practice. It may have been also followed by the Madenhoyo - the Syriac Orthodox Christians in the Persian Empire, who had many traditions different from the Western Syriac Orthodox. The Western style is to fast until noon which is/was followed in Malankara (India) also. That is not to say that there is any prohibition of fasting till dusk. Regardless, both Easterners & Westerners do not then eat sumptuos meals without restrictions after dusk as Muslims do. Bar `Ebroyo speaks of the differences in his Ethikon.

Fasting has many dimensions - additional time spent in prayer including special prayers, complete fasting from food in the early part of the day, abstinence from certain types of food--esp. all animal products including diary, eggs, fish, meats, etc. (in the past even oil was avoided in the Middle East), abstinence from marital relationship, etc.

Since the Holy Qurbono is the commemoration of the Resurrection, and feasting in communion with the Resurrected Lord, the offering of the Holy Qurbono is typically restricted at least during the Great Lent to Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On Sunday and after Holy Qurbono during lent, there should be no fasting (i.e. avoidance of food) after the Qurbono, although the dietary restrictions still apply.

In the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church tradition about dormition and the associated fasting begins on August 1 and ends on August 15, with the feast of Dormition of St. Mary.

Fasting period is relaxed to 5 days, in Malankara (India) too, starting from August 10, and ends on August 15, by the Holy Synod lead by H.H Patriarch Aphrem and was addressed again by H.H Patriarch Zakka in the 80s.
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paul2004
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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2004, 10:49:06 AM »

Fasting period is relaxed to 5 days, in Malankara (India) too, starting from August 10, and ends on August 15, by the Holy Synod lead by H.H Patriarch Aphrem and was addressed again by H.H Patriarch Zakka in the 80s.


Dear Thomas, These relaxations and the other relaxations on fasting period are not followed by the Indian Orthodox.  The 1967 decision of the Synod (Catholicos Augen 1) allowed relaxations on using milk and fish for some fast days, but the periods of fasting are not changed.

-Paul
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2004, 12:36:39 AM »

Dear Thomas, These relaxations and the other relaxations on fasting period are not followed by the Indian Orthodox.  The 1967 decision of the Synod (Catholicos Augen 1) allowed relaxations on using milk and fish for some fast days, but the periods of fasting are not changed.

Dear Paul
Slomo
I am not an Indian Orthodox Church member and was not referring to that Church. I belong to the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church and its grater diocese in Malankara (India).
 
What I was referring to the traditions and practices of that particular church. I don’t know the practices of other Christian Churches in India in details
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paul2004
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2004, 11:32:18 AM »

Dear Paul
Slomo
I am not an Indian Orthodox Church member and was not referring to that Church. I belong to the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church and its grater diocese in Malankara (India).
 
What I was referring to the traditions and practices of that particular church. I don’t know the practices of other Christian Churches in India in details


Really! I think it is difficult for anyone know the details of 'all Christian churches in India'. But to know the Orthodox traditions followed in India, you only need to check the common calendar (Panchaangam) of the Church few years back, published only by the Malankara Metripolitan, followed in the Jacobite church also, since there was only one Indian Church and one Indian Synod then.

-Paul
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