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Food and Faith in Christian Culture$
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Ken Albala and Trudy Eden

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231149976

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231149976.001.0001

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Fasting and Food Habits in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Fasting and Food Habits in the Eastern Orthodox Church

(p.189) Chapter 9 Fasting and Food Habits in the Eastern Orthodox Church
Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Antonia-Leda Matalas

Eleni Tourlouki

Chrystalleni Lazarou

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines fasting and food habits in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox dietary rules require periodic vegetarianism through the avoidance of all animal food, with the exception of mollusks and crustaceans, which are permitted on many fasting days. Some plant-based foods, such as wine and vegetable oil, are also prohibited during some fasting periods. The Greek Orthodox religious calendar includes four extended fasting periods before each of the principal feasts: Lent (preceding Christmas—in the West called Advent), Great Lent (preceding Easter), Fasting of the Apostles (after Pentecost), and the two weeks preceding the feast of Assumption of the Theotokos on August 15. Fasting is prescribed for a total period of 150 to 180 days a year. The duration of fasting periods can range from seven weeks, in the case of the Great Lent, to a single day. In addition, meat is prohibited throughout the year on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Keywords:   fasting, food habits, Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox dietary rules, vegetarianism, Greek Orthodox, religious calendar, Lent, Great Lent, Fasting of the Apostles

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