Question for any Coptic Orthodox Christian

Hi,

What is your tradition in regards the kosher dietary laws? I have a friend who is Ethiopian Orthodox, and he states that they are prohibited by their church from eating pork. What do the CO think about this?

God bless,

Rony

I’m not Coptic, but I do know some Ethiopian Orthodox people, and I’ve never heard that. So I decided to research a little. Found this post at OC.net describing the dietary retrictions, and the reasons (relevant parts bolded):

Yes. We abstain from meat, animal products, and alcohol on Wednesdays, Fridays and other fast days such as Great Lent. We do this in rememberance of when the Jews took council together to condemn Christ to death on Wednesday, and in rememberance of Our Lord’s crucifixion on Friday. We also abstain from pork at all times, because Ethiopians practiced Judaism from the time of Solomon and Sheba until the time of the proclamation of the Gospel by the Ethiopian Eunuch after he was baptized by Philip the Apostle.

Many Ethiopians also practice circumcision, as do the majority fo Christians around the world. These things are not legalism, but simply a recognition that some Old Testament Laws still have practical and spiritual benefit for Christians today. For example, all Christians still strive to observe the 10 commandments.

I will also mention an interesting thing that I had to ask my Priest about. In our Ethiopian Orthodox Liturgy we say, “Henceforth let us not be circumcised like the Jews. We know that He who had to fulfill the law and the prophets has already come.” And yet most Ethiopians still practice circumcision. My Priest told me that this was simply a historical practice and custom, not an ecclesiastical law.
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In regards to pork, I’m not sure if this a Church rule or simply a historical custom. But I personally stay away from it for a variety of reasons. I always think about how those demons begged Our Lord to be cast into the herd of swine. I don’t think it’s coincidental.**

Nine_Two, thanks for contributing.

**

In regards to pork, I’m not sure if this a Church rule or simply a historical custom.

**
I’d be interested if anyone can shed some further light on the above statement for me. Also, whether or not, it is considered a sin among the Ethiopians (and Copts). My friend seemed to affirm the sinfulness of eating pork, and when he asked me in regards to my Chaldean practice, I mentioned that we do not consider it a sin.

God bless,

Rony

Neither do the Chalcedonians consider the eating of pork a sin. St. Basil the Great, in one of his canons in fact expressly forbids people from abstaining from pork, thinking it ridiculous that one would find any spiritual benefit in doing so.

Neither do the Chalcedonians consider the eating of pork a sin. St. Basil the Great, in one of his canons in fact expressly forbids people from abstaining from pork, thinking it ridiculous that one would find any spiritual benefit in doing so.

Yeah, I completely agree. It’s also clear in Scripture, the passage in Acts 11:

======================
[5] "I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, something descending, like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came down to me.
[6] Looking at it closely I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.
[7] And I heard a voice saying to me, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' [8] But I said,No, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
[9] But the voice answered a second time from heaven, `What God has cleansed you must not call common.’

At the time this subject came up, I was eating a pepperoni pizza, and I noticed that my friend was feeling uncomfortable with me doing that, which is how this discussion came up with him. I thought about this verse “Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall” (1 Cor. 8:13), thinking that perhaps I should stop eating that pizza for the sake of his conscience, but I was really hungry… :shrug:… so… I ate the pizza. :blush:

I don’t really mind if this is a historical or cultural or health custom for the Ethiopians, but I do hope their Church doesn’t actually consider this to be a sin.

God bless,

Rony

Interesting. I would have guessed that they consider it a sin only in the sense that RCs consider it a sin to eat meat on Fridays of Lent (because it’s against church law) but it sounds like your friend might mean more than that.

Interesting. I would have guessed that they consider it a sin only in the sense that RCs consider it a sin to eat meat on Fridays of Lent (because it’s against church law) but it sounds like your friend might mean more than that.

They don’t seem to view this as a fast. In Nine_Two’s post above, it says that they “abstain from pork at all times”. So, it’s not just on certain days or certain times of the year as is the case with fasts.

I think they view pork the way Jews and Muslims view it, as an unclean meat, a sin when eating it, and therefore prohibited. I could still be wrong though, which is why I’m hoping I can get a definitive answer on this from our Alexandrian members.

God bless,

Rony

Bumping this thread back up.

I’m hoping that I can get a confirmation from one of our Alexandrian members in regards the question of pork in your tradition:

Is it considered a sin to eat pork in your tradition?

God bless,

Rony

Hi Rony,

No, it’s not a sin at all to eat pork. It’s not regularly done, but that’s more for cultural reasons than religious, since Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s not very common to find it in the first place, and consequently not popular even with the ~10% of the population who aren’t religiously prohibited from eating it. Before the outbreak of H1N1 a few years ago, there were pigs raised in Egypt by the Coptic Christian community for consumption by Christians in the country, so obviously someone was eating it, though again it was not very common and certainly could not have been considered in any way popular or a staple of Coptic diet (I mean, com’on…there aren’t even any beans or lentils in it). The government (Mubarak’s, at the time) used the H1N1 scare as an excuse to kill them off and hence deprive the Copts of one source of their livelihoods.

For meat dishes, Copts tend to prefer their native bastirma (spiced “Egyptian” pastrami, which I’ve read was actually brought to Egypt by the Armenians but might as well be a native dish for how much they eat it), particularly with egg for breakfast or sometimes even in little sandwiches with feta cheese. At least that’s what my Coptic friends always made for me before I went vegetarian about 8-9 months ago. They also love chicken (particularly with molokheya), lamb, and this weird kind of Egyptian lasagna casserole type dish (I’m sure it has an Arabic name, I just don’t know what it is) they often have at the Agape meal during non-fasting periods that has layers of pasta with spicy beef underneath it. Total carb overload, but so good. Come to think of it, typing this is making me hungry, and I don’t even eat any of this… :smiley:

dzheremi,

Thank you for your response in regards the Copts. :slight_smile:

Do you also know the position of the Ethiopian Orthodox in regards this question? Do you know for sure if they consider it a sin to eat pork?

By the way, we also eat bastirma with eggs, so, it may generally be a popular Middle Eastern / North African dish.

God bless,

Rony

I do not know. I do know that many in the EOTC are very protective of the Judaic character of their church and insist on its preexisting Jewish origins (connected to the establishment of the Solomonic Dynasty, no doubt), but since I’m not Ethiopian myself I don’t bother with such things. I would guess based on this view that pork is probably not consumed (and I’ve eaten at many an Ethiopian restaurant clearly operated by Tewahedo and never seen it on the menu), but I don’t know anything about whether or not it would be considered a sin or not. You’d have to ask an Ethiopian about that.

By the way, we also eat bastirma with eggs, so, it may generally be a popular Middle Eastern / North African dish.

No doubt it is, but one thing you learn from spending lots of time around Copts is that everything good in North Africa and the Middle East originally came from Egypt. :wink: Hence bastirma was introduced to me as “Egyptian pastrami”, just like their take on lasagna is “Egyptian macarona” (I found it after I originally posted that - it’s apparently actually called macaroni bechamel المكرونة البشاميل, which is clearly just the Egyptian take on Pastitsio most likely actually originating with the Greek or Italian populations of Alexandria, but hey…they eat it/make it/sell it in Egypt, so it’s Egyptian. :D)

I mean, you can’t really argue with people who made the phrase مصر أم الدنيا (Egypt is the mother of the world), y’know…and they say Americans are jingoistic! (Which is true, but wow…)

You’d have to ask an Ethiopian about that.

No problem. :slight_smile:

If there are any Ethiopian Orthodox members on this forum, I would very much appreciate your input.

I mean, you can’t really argue with people who made the phrase مصر أم الدنيا (Egypt is the mother of the world), y’know…and they say Americans are jingoistic! (Which is true, but wow…)

I think every culture tends to beef up it’s identity in relation to others, certainly my culture is by no means immune from this egotism, considering that we Mesopotamians do refer to ourselves as the Cradle of Civilization! :smiley:

God bless,

Rony

I got to know an Ethiopian guy at a gas station I used to stop at almost daily and asked him about a spicy hotdog they sold ready to eat…
…He told me that he didn’t know if it was any good because it was pork and he never ate it because of his religion.
…He was always reading ( what looked like ) Christian material so I asked him what religion it was.

He told me “Orthodox” and said he didn’t eat shrimp or several other things either.

It’s not very much information and I don’t know for sure if this guy was Eth Orthodox or another flavor…
…I just know he was from Ethiopia and had a strong accent.

It’s better to be a vegetarian and satisfy all religions & sects :).

dzheremi, I did not know that you know Arabic!
Rony, which language is that in your signature?

I agree, dear Sam, though we don’t force that life on anybody. In fact, everybody at my church seems to be having a hard time adjusting to me being vegetarian (because I’ve only been vegetarian for about 8 months now). At the last major feast, to mark the end of Lent, we sat down to eat and people kept trying to offer me meat and I politely refused. One of the deacons asked if I was sick, and I reminded him that I don’t eat meat anymore because I am trying to be vegetarian. He went through all the different meats they had for some reason (“not even chicken? not even lamb? not even…”), and I refused every one he shrugged and said “You would be a good monk.” Someone else at the other end of the table said “He can’t be a monk; they don’t let Hindus be monks!”

Coptic people are weird. :smiley:

And I don’t know why you say you didn’t know I know Arabic…I started learning it a few years ago, and you and I have talked about it before on this board. Maybe you just forgot. :slight_smile: Don’t worry…I still don’t speak it well, or hardly at all, hahaha. I can give all the necessary congregational responses in the liturgy and chant some of the hymns that we sometimes do in Arabic, but that’s about it. I never learned much vocabulary since I only had one year of lessons in college, and that was mostly teaching us to read and write, so I can read a lot of things but I don’t understand very much…now a lot of “church Arabic”, I guess. :slight_smile:

Anyway, it’s good to see you! I hope everything is going wonderfully in your life.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled thread… :o

Rony, which language is that in your signature?

Sam_777,

It’s Syriac (Aramaic).

God bless,

Rony

Stay tuned, I will start a thread about being a vegetarian soon.:slight_smile:

And I don’t know why you say you didn’t know I know Arabic…I started learning it a few years ago, and you and I have talked about it before on this board. Maybe you just forgot. :slight_smile:

:blush: yes maybe.

I can give all the necessary congregational responses in the liturgy and chant some of the hymns that we sometimes do in Arabic,

:thumbsup:

:slight_smile: Thanks, it’s my first time seeing that language.

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