Author Topic: Re: Downsides of Converting  (Read 7804 times)

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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2006, 01:07:42 AM »
While there is the animal skin issue, I think the deeper issue with wine and oil is how they were used in traditional Greek cooking.  As I understand it anything cooked was cooked in oil.  Hence a fast from oil meant basicly bread and dry veggies.  A sort of de facto out come of this is making shelfish only allowed on days with wine and oil.  If one looks at the letter of the fast - (i.e one meal for the first three days of lent, one meal per weekday only after sunset henceforth) - few, even among monastics, keep it.  I think the more important thing is to struggle as much as one can with the mentality "God be merciful to me, a sinner." 

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2006, 09:44:39 AM »
 thanks Nektarios
this whole thread has at least been enlightening
What I have learned is:
1. The strictest guidelines for fasting are such that only the most extreme ascetics can keep them
2. All are agreed on the abstinence from olive oil; different regions of Orthodoxy differ historically on the use of other oils
3. shell fish were once considered, if not objectionable, then at least part of the coastal poor's diet and not coveted by the wealthy
4. from what Nektarios wrote, it would be difficult for a male working out in the world to function on the strictest guidelines, let alone women and children, so check with your priest or spiritual father for what is right for you
5.¦nbsp; hard laboring monks even were given exceptions to the strict guidelines
6. people with medical conditions should consult their doctor AND their priest (eg. diabetics)
7. women should address iron deficiency issues with regard to fasting, consult with your physician
8 young children, pregnant women, the elderly and infirm should be given light fasting guidelines, if any at all
9. we should try to eat simply and try to eat less during lent ( rather than creating gourmet dishes from kosher foods)
10. it might appear from all the posts, that there is not in practice one single for-all-people fasting guideline (take the oil issue, for example; also, even though it is probably a Latin accretion, many Orthodox I know who do fast include fish with a backbone in their diet during Lent) - so consult your priest

If nothing else, this thread is helping me get "psyched" up to fast for Great Lent - so thanks to all

I still think SCOBA or some body of hierarchs should address the issue, not to change 2000 years of tradition, but to offer clarification and pastoral guidelines - from some of the posts, I can also see that there has been some confusion and even some hurt for some people
where a priest or other person perhaps hasn't taken the care to really listen to the concern and has dished out one pill for every ailment, so to speak
« Last Edit: February 12, 2006, 09:47:26 AM by BrotherAidan »

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2006, 01:40:50 PM »
thanks Nektarios
this whole thread has at least been enlightening
What I have learned is:
1. The strictest guidelines for fasting are such that only the most extreme ascetics can keep them
2. All are agreed on the abstinence from olive oil; different regions of Orthodoxy differ historically on the use of other oils
3. shell fish were once considered, if not objectionable, then at least part of the coastal poor's diet and not coveted by the wealthy
4. from what Nektarios wrote, it would be difficult for a male working out in the world to function on the strictest guidelines, let alone women and children, so check with your priest or spiritual father for what is right for you
5.¦nbsp; hard laboring monks even were given exceptions to the strict guidelines
6. people with medical conditions should consult their doctor AND their priest (eg. diabetics)
7. women should address iron deficiency issues with regard to fasting, consult with your physician
8 young children, pregnant women, the elderly and infirm should be given light fasting guidelines, if any at all
9. we should try to eat simply and try to eat less during lent ( rather than creating gourmet dishes from kosher foods)
10. it might appear from all the posts, that there is not in practice one single for-all-people fasting guideline (take the oil issue, for example; also, even though it is probably a Latin accretion, many Orthodox I know who do fast include fish with a backbone in their diet during Lent) - so consult your priest

If nothing else, this thread is helping me get "psyched" up to fast for Great Lent - so thanks to all

I still think SCOBA or some body of hierarchs should address the issue, not to change 2000 years of tradition, but to offer clarification and pastoral guidelines - from some of the posts, I can also see that there has been some confusion and even some hurt for some people
where a priest or other person perhaps hasn't taken the care to really listen to the concern and has dished out one pill for every ailment, so to speak

An excellent synopsis!
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline epicspice

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2006, 01:44:21 PM »
BrotherAidan,

I agree with Cleveland. You have summarised the issues particularly well. :)

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Offline Thomas

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2006, 07:25:34 PM »
Dear Bizzlebin ,

  Thanks for your citation from the Slavic Ustav.  Note however that it is the the Slavic Ustav not the Byzantine one.  As I noted earlier, the Slavic Orthodox Churches do not divide any oils and thus abstain from all oils. A similar translation of the Typica from the Byzantine (Greek/Antiochian) Churches will only say olive oil, His Grace Bishop Kallistos being of that jurisdiction would go with only olive oil as noted from his book quoted above. The Byzantine jurisdictions thus allow for sesame seed oils, other vegetable oils.

It is an example of  "T"radition with a little t, among the various practices of our Holy Orthodox Church.  They are not meant to be a point of disagreement but a sign of our cultural diversity in traditions.

=====

On another question  by another poster, and well addressed by Bizzlebin, was about calcium and iron for women and children. If I may add to Bizzlebin's response this addition--Of course there are now in our society many dietary additions that cover these needs---for example calcium fortified orange juice will provide needed calcium. Vegetable iron and calcium are also available in the leafy green vegetables (greens, spinach, collards, cabbage, broccoli, etc)  We can learn much from Vegan articles that address these issues in terms that we modern Americans can digest and learn from. Looking at the list and remembering the traditional fasting foods of  Greece, the Middle East, and Holy Russia, we will find that those hard working Orthodox mothers knew how to cook properly for the fast using these foods---may be we should look to their recipes for some of ideas on food that work towards proper nutrition for the fast.

In Christ,
Thomas
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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2006, 05:41:29 AM »
On the iron issue.  In college I took a nutrition class.  I'll never forget it, the professora said that cooking in an iron skillet is a source for you iron intake.  The iron gets incorporated into the food.  Far better than cooking with teflon, which can kill your pet birds if they get into the kitchen while a teflon skillet is being used.  Considering what teflon was developed for, I think I'll keep using my iron skillet... and getting something positive out of it.. part of my daily dose of iron.
Also, one must be very careful not to overdo any processed foods, foods that use high fructose corn syrup.. etc..  often quick fast and easy foods to make are highly refined and processed foods that aren't good for you.
I saw something that recommended porridge for breakfast.  You soak the porridge overnight in water with a tsp of lemon juice.  In the morning it takes a minute or two to cook the porridge and it is a non-processed pure food loaded with goodies!
There is a constant battle to eat right no matter if you are fasting or not.
We have access to food ad naseum in the USA, however it takes much effort to actually slash through the junk and be able to eat properly.
Ok, I'm off my soap box now.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2006, 07:10:46 AM »
An indispensible item in a contemporary Orthodox Christian's kitchen is a crock-pot or "slow cooker".
I have two, and I use them with timer switches. During Great Lent, every evening I put 1 cup of rolled oats to 1 and a half cup of water for every 2 people with a pinch of salt in the crockpot, and set it to start cooing half an hour before we get up in the morning. In the morning you wake up to ready made extra creamy porridge. In the other crockpot, I place all the ingredients for a hearty vegetarian soup or casserole or curry and set it to start cooking at 2pm, so that everyone comes home in the evening to a home-cooked fasting soup or casserole or curry. Then after dinner it's simply a matter of washing the pots, refilling them and resetting them.
You'll find some great crockpot recipes here: http://southernfood.about.com/library/crock/blveg.htm
« Last Edit: February 13, 2006, 07:11:22 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2006, 11:17:55 AM »
BrotherAidan,

I agree 100% and am happy that we all have had a discussion and debate that went somewhere! It feels good after so many debates on this forum that went nowhere.

Anastasios
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Offline StBrigid

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2006, 03:10:08 PM »
I've appreciated so many of these responses and have learned from them.  I'm a fairly new convert and can definitely relate to the ongoing struggle to learn the fasting practice, to let both body and mind adjust so that the spiritual work can happen.
those hard working Orthodox mothers knew how to cook properly for the fast using these foods
I can attest to what you say here- the person who learns this as an outsider is at a disadvantage.  When living overseas, there were deprivations like water shortages and heat that hit us clueless foreigners much harder than the locals who had long before integrated ways of adapting into their lifestyle.

Offline Thomas

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2006, 04:57:27 PM »
Dear OzGeorge,

Thanks for that reminder about the use of Crock pots.  My family use them to great advantage due to working wonky hours like nite shift and such in the hospital (Both my wife and I work in the Healthcare profession).  I had never thought to set timers on them however.  Are those timers like  the Christmas Tree light timers?

In Christ,
Thomas
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2006, 08:54:03 PM »
Thomas, yes the Slavic <> Byzantine, but ever try to think why?  What makes sense to me is that oil = olive oil in the whole Mediterranean region.  There wasn't a concept of non-olive oil oil (intentional double oil).

Offline Thomas

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2006, 10:09:19 PM »
Actually there was and is. Sesame seed oil was and is popular in the byzantine empire and the middle east. It was considered a secondary oil as its taste is quite strong by comparison to olive oil. Now think about it both hummus using sesame seed oil and tahini (sesame seed oil with nut like butter) are found prominently in Greek, byzantine, and middle eastern cuisine during Great Lent and found even in monastery cooking during Great Lent on Mount Athos. It was olive oil they intended to forbid on weekdays in Great Lent---remember they allow Olive Oil on Weekends. The Slavs who did not use Olive oil primarily, simply expanded their Ustave to cover all oils, including sesame seed and other nut oils that can be found in Slavic traditional cooking. The Slavs also allow oil on weekends.

Both traditions of course allow oil on days when wine is allowed during the weekday.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2006, 10:12:02 PM by Thomas »
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Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: Downsides of Converting
« Reply #57 on: February 14, 2006, 05:35:43 PM »
The Slavs who did not use Olive oil primarily, simply expanded their Ustave to cover all oils, including sesame seed and other nut oils that can be found in Slavic traditional cooking.

This is a point I was trying to make. The customs varied based on what oils where primarily used. Here in America, where just about every oil is used in practice, it seems best to follow in the spirit of the Russian tradition, which was made for exactly this type of situation.
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