Differences in Fasting Rules

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
Why is fish allowed in Coptic religion during fasting season? Or is it allowed to eat fish during Fasting?


  • [quote author=Tewahedo link=topic=9322.msg115067#msg115067 date=1275665013]
    Why is fish allowed in Coptic religion during fasting season? Or is it allowed to eat fish during Fasting?

    It is allowed in some fasts...
    There are three degrees of fasting in our Church:
    First Degree: Jonah's, Lent and all Paramoune days of the three ultimate major feasts
    ----(no meet, no dairy and no seafood)
    Second Degree: Nativity and Apostles
    ----(no meet and no dairy)
    Third Degree: Saint Mary's
    ----(no meet and no dairy mainly.....BUT, many people do more; many fest with no seafood. many fast an extra week. many fest with eating simple foods as "3eesh we malh" = bread and salt. some people fast with out eating things that have oils. some even fast extra hours in the day without food)

  • I think also, Wednesdays and Fridays falls under First Degree. Correct?
  • [quote author=the_least link=topic=9322.msg115088#msg115088 date=1275688406]
    I think also, Wednesdays and Fridays falls under First Degree. Correct?

    oh yes....that's what i forgot....and that is soo even if they are in other fasts of 2nd and 3rd degrees. meaning Wed and Fri in the Nativity and apostles fast are first degree--no seafood.

    And i tend to say seafood considering that some seafood are not considered fish.
  • wow, so I am allowed to eat Fish furing the Apostles fast?
    I never knew that. And I even went to the fish and chip shop yesterday and missed out.  :-[
  • DanieM,

    Except on Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Actually, no animal products, including fish, is to be partaken during any fast. 
    The current "degrees" as outlined by Minagir, are an evolution in the Church to try to lessen the burden.  It is the current system.

    For example, during the Papacy of Anba Yusab II and Anba Kyrillos VI, fish was allowed on Wed. & Fri.  Yet during the Papacy of Pope Shenouda III, there was a Synodal and Papal Decree that a reversal would be set for Wed. & Fri. to exclude Seafood.

    In other regards the number of days has changed for given fasts.
  • I think that we will find there has always been a flexibility and variety in fasting rules and these are entirely and properly in the jurisdiction of our bishops. We should not expect that at all times and in all places all things have been done the same way.

    Most of the fasts were not even formalised until later centuries, so we should not be concerned that our bishops provide an instruction which varies in some degree from bishops of other times and other contexts. As far as I can see ALL Orthodox allow fish or sea-food in some of the fasts, while not allowing it in others.

    Other Orthodox would usually allow fish during some fasts, but retain a strict fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, therefore the judgement of the present times is entirely in accord with Orthodox practice around the world.

    Since our bishops DO allow fish and seafood during the Apostles Fast then it IS allowed. It seems to me that we should not lightly reject the instruction of our bishops and in this case it is clear that as with other Orthodox we are allowed fish and seafood during the Fast of the Apostles.

    Father Peter
  • Father,

    I wasn't rejecting it.  I was giving a historical perspective.
  • You did say that people should not eat fish in the Apostles Fast, which does disagree with the bishops instructions.

    Historically speaking all of the fasts developed in first few centuries of the Church and at the beginning most of the fasts we keep now were not kept in the Church. The first fasts were on Wednesday and Friday and are attested in the Didache. The Jews fasted on Monday and Thursday and so the early Church taught the believers to fast on Wednesday and Friday.

    And those who were to be baptised were encouraged to fast at first for a few days, with other believers who were supporting them. It took some time before the Great Lent was kept as long as it is now. And the other fasts, such as that of the Nativity were first introduced in the West and then moved to the East, or were first introduced in the East and moved to the West.

    The Paramon fasts before some of the great feasts are some of the earliest. But they also show that fasting was originally of a shorter period but very strict. The last fast to be introduced was that of Nineveh which we copied from the Syrians.

    This wide variety of fasting practices even in our own Church remind us that the Church is not static and neither is it simply archaological, but it is a living organism, the body of Christ, which lives and grows in particular times and places under the care of our bishops.

    Father Peter
  • I was speaking of Wed and Fri; even in the Apostles' Fast.
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