Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wine and Oil

Below I posted the rules of fasting for the Apostles' Fast. As you'll see, wine and oil are normally permitted only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends. (The fasting rules' monastic origin are apparent in the stricter fasting on Mondays.) I'm curious to know how people have been taught to observe the prohibition on wine and oil. I've in my time encountered three ways of interpreting this prohibition: a) literally, that is, not cooking with or consuming any kind of vegetable oil; b) employing any kind of vegetable oil except olive oil; and c) ignoring it all together. What were you taught and/or what do you practice?


Anonymous said...

Growing up, my family ignored it entirely. I now try to carry through with it, but exclude olive oil only. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), many vegan dishes, especially of mediterranean origin, make liberal use of olive oil. So make of that what you will.

(I've never in my life made it through a fast following the rules by the book... maybe someday, hopefully soon).

David.R said...

Most of us in our parish are converts. We celebrate the Apostles fast according to the guidelines you posted with one difference. On Mondays Wed and Fri we are allowed vegetable oil. I try to eat only grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes on those days. The Greek monastery nearby do not serve or use vegetable oil during the strict fasting days. Many of us on the day before the Divine Liturgy, fast strictly regardless if it is a fish day or not (by instruction from our spiritual father) For people with diabetes and other conditions, the rules are relaxed a bit.

David.R said...

Maybe I should point out that by vegetable oil I mean veg. oil other than olive oil.

orrologion said...

There is no hard and fast rule given the diversity in our parish, but my understanding was always no wine, no olive oil, beer was allowed if you really wanted/needed to cheat and vegetable oil is allowed as long as it isn't olive oil.

This last one likely has more to do with my being married to a non-Orthodox spouse: cooking without any oil at all can be quite difficult. It may also be part of easing a convert into the faith - not too much, not too little.

I've always seen the rules as less about saving money for alms, doing away with luxury, etc. and more to do with simply crucifying one's own will, so simply sticking to a set of rules rather than picking and choosing does that.

Anonymous said...

I hope I don't scandalize anyone with the laxity of the rules at our parish. While certain individuals fast very strictly, most abstain from meat, and I'm sure from cheese (though many do not consider eggs as meat). Rather than wine, my priest says "alcohol". Plenty of olive oil around.

But there are a number of people diabetics and other low-carb folks like myself that don't "fast" at all. My priest says following your doctor's rules is podvig enough. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

I know a few people that've told me straight out, "never fasted, never will." Some of whom have no problem bringing beef stew to the monastery during lent.

My personal (extremely limited experience) is that fasting is something people talk about alot online and almost no one does in person.

Anonymous said...

I was taught the rules you listed, but for the last year I have been living in Athens, Greece and here they are allowed fish every day except Wednesdays and Fridays. When I heard this last year I was very surprised. Even the "traditional" priests follow this rule and no one had any idea what I was talking about...."Fish only on Sat and Sun and no wine or oil on Mon????"
If anyone has any idea why the Church in Greece follows a different rule I would be interested.
I have noticed that most Greeks don't eat any oil except olive oil, so on days where oil is not allowed those who fast don't eat any oil.
Personally I always assumed that oil meant any oil. Besides most "vegetable" isn't very healthy