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  #1  
Old Feb 11, '09, 7:01 am
DL82 DL82 is offline
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Default Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Hi all,

Although I'm a Western Catholic, I'm going to try to fast according to the Eastern rules this Lent (vegan, no oil, etc.)

I'm usually vegetarian, so giving up meat not an option. I gave up fish, eggs and dairy products last Lent and it didn't kill me, so figure I should go the whole way this year.

What exactly can or can't you eat as an Eastern Catholic keeping Lent? Do most Eastern Catholics actually keep the strict fasting, or get a dispensation from a priest? Any ideas how best to keep it? Recipes also welcome.

Thanks so much for your help.

DL
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  #2  
Old Feb 11, '09, 7:36 am
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samcarter14 samcarter14 is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DL82 View Post
Hi all,

Although I'm a Western Catholic, I'm going to try to fast according to the Eastern rules this Lent (vegan, no oil, etc.)

I'm usually vegetarian, so giving up meat not an option. I gave up fish, eggs and dairy products last Lent and it didn't kill me, so figure I should go the whole way this year.

What exactly can or can't you eat as an Eastern Catholic keeping Lent? Do most Eastern Catholics actually keep the strict fasting, or get a dispensation from a priest? Any ideas how best to keep it? Recipes also welcome.

Thanks so much for your help.

DL
Well, these are the guidelines my priest gave us--we are Byzantine-Ruthenian. Different churches may vary among the Eastern Churches when it comes to degree of strictness. He gave us two options, the mandatory fast which every Eastern Catholic must follow and the traditional fast, which we can follow if we so choose.

The Mandatory Fast:

Strict Fast (no meat, dairy) on Pure Monday (Feb 23) and on Great and Holy Friday (April 10)

Simple Fast (no meat) on all Wednesdays and Fridays of the Great Fast, to include Holy Saturday, April 11.

For Those Wishing to Follow the Ancient Fasting Regimen

No Meat from February 15 (Sunday of Meatfare) till April 11
Also, no Dairy or Eggs from February 22 (Sunday of Cheesefare) until April 11.

In our family, we will be following the Ancient Regimen, so no meat starting on the 15th, and then no dairy starting on the 22nd until Pascha (Easter). We abstain from meat and dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year.

This is going to be more difficult for me this year because I have recently had to cut all wheat and gluten out of my diet, meaning no breads or pastas. Which used to be a staple of my Lenten diet! Now it's going to require more planning. I suppose at the best I'll be eating more veggies and fruit!

BTW the "no oil" rule varies from church to church. I know when we were Orthodox it simply meant no olive oil. Other oils were fine. But there are Orthodox who follow "xerophagy", meaning "dry eating"--no oils at all in cooking or salads. But that is more traditional among Russian Orthodox. Our priest has not told us to abstain from oils. But of course that doesn't mean using gallons of it to deep fry your vegetables!

As for recipes, this year I'm going to keep things very simple. Salads for myself, lentil soups and vegan casseroles (Shepherds' pie made with beans or lentils instead of beef, for example). I don't like using fake soy meats, so I won't be using those. I like baked potatoes with veggies on the side. My husband does eat fish occasionally during the fast, there are certain days when it is allowed, so tuna casseroles (made with soy milk white sauce instead of canned dairy-based soups).

You can make pizzas with soy cheese (or no cheese! lots of veggies). We do pizza nights on Saturdays.

For recipes, I have a couple of cookbooks I go to: "Please Don't Eat the Animals", a cookbook I've had for ages. The Farm Cookbook, a very hippy-style cookbook, but all vegan. Nice recipes for a "cheese" sauce that we like. And Simple Food for the Good Life, by Helen Nearing. Most of the soups and salads are nice and simple, with no exotic ingredients, and so easy to make. Her philosophy is, spend less time cooking and more time doing other things, which ties in well to Lent. Basically any vegan cookbooks you can find that you like will work well.

We have started a tradition of making Fridays a very simple dinner--homemade bread (no dairy or egg in it), cheese and fruit. The kids love this and it's a fun way of helping them abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year. We will keep doing this.
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  #3  
Old Feb 11, '09, 7:45 am
Patchunky Patchunky is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

[quote=samcarter14;4797361}We have started a tradition of making Fridays a very simple dinner--homemade bread (no dairy or egg in it), cheese and fruit[/quote]

But if you're making bread with no dairy or eggs in it and you're eating cheese, doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose?

You could try doing soup and sandwhich dinners by making veggie soup and fish sandwhiches, works very well....
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  #4  
Old Feb 11, '09, 8:19 am
German Melkite German Melkite is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

The American Archbishop of the Melkites has just re-affirmed the information listed on the US Melkite website www.melkite.org/lent.htm so the following would be the rules for the Melkites of the Eparchy of Newton.

Rule for Fasting and Abstinence

Fasting for the Eastern Catholic means there is no consumption of solid food from midnight until noon. Abstinence is refraining from eating meat, dairy products, eggs, alcohol, fish and olive oil. Three approaches to fasting and abstinence have developed. These might be called 1) the Law - that is required of us, 2) the Tradition - that which devout followers adhere to, and 3) the Compromise - that which is most widely accepted. The Holy Synod has permitted each eparch to ease the obligations of fasting while, at the some time, exhorting all of the faithful to fast according to the ancient tradition. The minimal obligations for the Eparchy of Newton is the approach referred to as the Law.

The Law - that which is required
The first day of Great Lent and the last three days of Holy Week are days of fasting
All Fridays of Great Lent are days of abstinence from meat
Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence

The Tradition - that which the devout follow
Every day of Great Lent is a day of fast and abstinence
On Saturday and Sunday fish, wine and olive oil are permitted.
Saturday and Sunday are not Fast days - food may be taken at any time.
Certain feast days are treated like Saturday and Sunday

Customary Compromises
The First, Middle and Last weeks of Great Lent are kept strictly. The other weeks are relaxed.
Abstinence from meat on all days of Lent.
Abstinence from meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent.

The idea of "fasting and abstinence" is to gain self control, a simplification of life-style, a solidarity with the poor and hungry, and to return to Paradise. As such fasting and abstinence should always be focused towards making life simpler not more complicated. Additionally there is a liturgical fasting with no Divine Liturgy on weekdays. The practice of Orthros - or morning prayers is emphasized. Special services are offered on the various days of the week: Wednesday is the presanctified Liturgy, Fridays is the Akathist Hymn, and on Saturday we have the service for All Souls (all of the faithfully departed).
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  #5  
Old Feb 11, '09, 8:23 am
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samcarter14 samcarter14 is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patchunky View Post
But if you're making bread with no dairy or eggs in it and you're eating cheese, doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose?

You could try doing soup and sandwhich dinners by making veggie soup and fish sandwhiches, works very well....

The cheese is for the kids--during Lent DH and I will not eat the cheese, but have fruit and the bread (DH will, anyway). We don't require the kids--they are all under 9--to abstain from dairy.
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  #6  
Old Feb 11, '09, 2:39 pm
Aramis Aramis is offline
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Religion: Byzantine Catholic - Ruthenian Church
Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Good stuff for fasting:

Lentils, in a variety of manners
Hummus
Bean Salads (3bean, 4 bean)
Rice, Steamed, Fried, or even baked in casseroles
Fruits.
Sushi*
nut butters**
Jellies, jams, and fruit preserves.

*sushi is the rice... if following the russian mold, the fish is off limits, but the shrimp, crab, and sea urchin are not, nor are the veggie rolls.
** strict "no oil" prohibits most nut butters. Peanut butter is readily available; nutella is good and widely available, other nut butters may be available in various salons.
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  #7  
Old Feb 11, '09, 3:22 pm
wjp984 wjp984 is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samcarter14 View Post
Well, these are the guidelines my priest gave us--we are Byzantine-Ruthenian. Different churches may vary among the Eastern Churches when it comes to degree of strictness. He gave us two options, the mandatory fast which every Eastern Catholic must follow and the traditional fast, which we can follow if we so choose.

The Mandatory Fast:

Strict Fast (no meat, dairy) on Pure Monday (Feb 23) and on Great and Holy Friday (April 10)

Simple Fast (no meat) on all Wednesdays and Fridays of the Great Fast, to include Holy Saturday, April 11.

For Those Wishing to Follow the Ancient Fasting Regimen

No Meat from February 15 (Sunday of Meatfare) till April 11
Also, no Dairy or Eggs from February 22 (Sunday of Cheesefare) until April 11.

In our family, we will be following the Ancient Regimen, so no meat starting on the 15th, and then no dairy starting on the 22nd until Pascha (Easter). We abstain from meat and dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year.

This is going to be more difficult for me this year because I have recently had to cut all wheat and gluten out of my diet, meaning no breads or pastas. Which used to be a staple of my Lenten diet! Now it's going to require more planning. I suppose at the best I'll be eating more veggies and fruit!

BTW the "no oil" rule varies from church to church. I know when we were Orthodox it simply meant no olive oil. Other oils were fine. But there are Orthodox who follow "xerophagy", meaning "dry eating"--no oils at all in cooking or salads. But that is more traditional among Russian Orthodox. Our priest has not told us to abstain from oils. But of course that doesn't mean using gallons of it to deep fry your vegetables!

As for recipes, this year I'm going to keep things very simple. Salads for myself, lentil soups and vegan casseroles (Shepherds' pie made with beans or lentils instead of beef, for example). I don't like using fake soy meats, so I won't be using those. I like baked potatoes with veggies on the side. My husband does eat fish occasionally during the fast, there are certain days when it is allowed, so tuna casseroles (made with soy milk white sauce instead of canned dairy-based soups).

You can make pizzas with soy cheese (or no cheese! lots of veggies). We do pizza nights on Saturdays.

For recipes, I have a couple of cookbooks I go to: "Please Don't Eat the Animals", a cookbook I've had for ages. The Farm Cookbook, a very hippy-style cookbook, but all vegan. Nice recipes for a "cheese" sauce that we like. And Simple Food for the Good Life, by Helen Nearing. Most of the soups and salads are nice and simple, with no exotic ingredients, and so easy to make. Her philosophy is, spend less time cooking and more time doing other things, which ties in well to Lent. Basically any vegan cookbooks you can find that you like will work well.

We have started a tradition of making Fridays a very simple dinner--homemade bread (no dairy or egg in it), cheese and fruit. The kids love this and it's a fun way of helping them abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year. We will keep doing this.
Do you know if fish is allowed in the Ruthenian Rite? I think it is since there is a fish symbol on the callendar but I am not possitive.

It is impracticable for me to do much more than what is minimumly required for me for fasting and abstaining since I am not educated in the ways of planning nor do I have the time to learn since I am in law school and usually don't have time to cook. Therefore I don't think it is healthy. I will follow the minimum requirements though.
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  #8  
Old Feb 11, '09, 4:23 pm
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samcarter14 samcarter14 is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjp984 View Post
Do you know if fish is allowed in the Ruthenian Rite? I think it is since there is a fish symbol on the callendar but I am not possitive.

It is impracticable for me to do much more than what is minimumly required for me for fasting and abstaining since I am not educated in the ways of planning nor do I have the time to learn since I am in law school and usually don't have time to cook. Therefore I don't think it is healthy. I will follow the minimum requirements though.
From my priest directly: For the minimum requirement of fasting, fast from meat only on the Wednesdays and Fridays during lent. This does not include fish. So yes, fish is allowed in the Ruthenian Rite, if you are doing the Simple Fast.
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  #9  
Old Feb 11, '09, 5:05 pm
Deacon Lance Deacon Lance is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

The Byzantine Catholic Metropolia of Pittsburgh allows fish.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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  #10  
Old Feb 11, '09, 5:35 pm
stivvy stivvy is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

I think it is very unorthodox to use the words "require" and "law" and "rule" when speaking about the fast. I think it is more approapriate to say things such as "guidelines" and "suggested".

The Eastern fast (the great fast or otherwise) is a very personal journey and should be adhered to by one's own spiritual guidance and ability. Of course this becomes even more meaningful when increased prayer and almsgiving is included in the daily practices.

Go on your journey to the cross with our Lord and Savior and then resurrect your body and soul on Pascha!
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  #11  
Old Feb 12, '09, 11:37 am
Cluny Cluny is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

The general rule is that you MAY eat fruits, vegetables, and shellfish--but no more than one meal a day.

On Saturdays and Sundays, you can eat all of these that you want, as well as olive oil and wine (which generally means all alcoholic beverages).

On Annunciation and Palm Sunday you can have fish.
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  #12  
Old Feb 12, '09, 11:40 am
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theistgal theistgal is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

We are doing something fun at our church this year - a potluck where we not only bring foods that are easy to prepare & serve during Lent - but also everyone who brings a dish will bring printed copies of their recipe as well! So you can get some great ideas for meals at home!

We've never done this before but I think it's a really good idea. Perhaps you can get others at your church interested in doing this as well.
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  #13  
Old Feb 12, '09, 11:43 am
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theistgal theistgal is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stivvy View Post
I think it is very unorthodox to use the words "require" and "law" and "rule" when speaking about the fast. I think it is more approapriate to say things such as "guidelines" and "suggested".

The Eastern fast (the great fast or otherwise) is a very personal journey and should be adhered to by one's own spiritual guidance and ability. Of course this becomes even more meaningful when increased prayer and almsgiving is included in the daily practices.

Go on your journey to the cross with our Lord and Savior and then resurrect your body and soul on Pascha!
Well - there are "requirements" and "rules" and "laws" in our Church about fasting - so what's wrong with asking about them?

It's certainly true that some people get too hung up on the legalistic aspects. However, I don't get the impression that the OP is asking in that spirit.

And yes, the fast may be a personal journey for you, but that doesn't mean we can't share the journey with others. Some people have families to cook for, so the info they get here may be quite helpful. Never hurts to ask.
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Old Feb 12, '09, 12:11 pm
theweeper theweeper is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

thanks stivvy for keeping us on point.
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  #15  
Old Feb 12, '09, 8:46 pm
stivvy stivvy is offline
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Default Re: Eastern Fasting Rules - what to eat?

Quote:
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thanks stivvy for keeping us on point.
I can understand a concern for my statement being to stern, but I am sensative to the fast being so public. Scripture tells us to do it in secret and not to walk around with ashes on our faces and to keep it to ourselves.

If you notice in my post, I am not saying not talk about our ways, more like not making it a rigorous legistical immagry. So many outsiders get turned off by that to our faith. The beauty is in the results and who we become when we grow closer to our Father.

BTW, you are welcome. Hehehe!
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