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What type of oil to use in a lampada?


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#1 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:53 AM

Just looking for a little insight/guidance,

I was taught it is traditional to use olive oil in one's lampada, but over the years I have met a few who for reasons of economy use canola oil instead since it is more affordable...which on the whole I think is preferable to some scented petroleum product sold as lamp oil.

Does using some other kind of oil tamper with spiritual imagery/meaning of the lampada? Granted it's hardly on the same level of importance as other things in the Church...but we encourage beeswax for our candles, not petroleum based wax; we would not think of making a prosphora loaf out of corn meal or rye flour?

Then again, canola oil is every bit as natural as either beeswax or olive oil, and so seems to pass muster in that regard...but is olive oil special in the Church so that we should not light lamps before our icons with any other kind of oil, natural or not?

What guidance do we have for figuring out such things?

Any thoughts?

#2 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:01 AM

I believe olive oil is the norm because it is pure and it is the oil that is traditionally found in the Mediterranean countries.

The purest oil for our lamps in honour of God.



I found this at Wikipedia

"Canola is a type of edible oil derived from plants initially bred in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur Stefansson in the 1970s. The oil is extracted from a group of cultivars of rapeseed variants from which low erucic acid rapeseed oil and low glucosinolate meal are obtained. The word "canola" was derived from "Canadian oil, low acid" in 1978"

Does the above mean that canola oil is the result of genetically altered plants? What exactly does "initially bred"
mean? Was the plant imported or was it invented? If the latter, then canola oil cannot be considered a "pure" product.

If on the other hand, Canola oil is just another name for rapeseed oil, then it can be considered to be pure.

Effie

Something else from the same source :

"Genetically modified canola which is resistant to herbicide was first introduced to Canada in 1995. Today 80% of the acreage of canola is sown with genetically modified canola.[16]"

Monsanto must be one of the most unscrupulous companies in existence today. Wasn't it also involved in the Agent Orange scandal?
Still going strong though.

#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:51 AM

In Russia, they use a specially-prepared lamp oil but I've no idea what it's made from but it's not olive oil. Then again, olive oil was not formerly widely available in cold northern climes.

#4 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 08:55 AM

Andreas, I don't think it really matters what kind of oil as long as it is pure and the best you can afford.

I believe that this is what is important.

#5 Olga

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 09:21 AM

Olive oil would have undoubtedly been the only oil used in the Mediterranean and the Middle East in past centuries, as there would have been nothing else available. It would have been the only oil available for cooking and medicinal purposes as well. People have waxed at length about the theological significance of olive oil, some of which is plausible, much of which is not. However, is it not more important that an oil lamp be lit and maintained, whether or not olive oil is used in it?

An analogy is the form of wreath or crown worn by the couple during their marriage service. Greeks wear white wreaths linked with a long ribbon, Slavs wear crowns. The overriding principle here is not what material the crowns are made of, but what they represent.

If we are to be "dogmatic" about insisting that only olive oil be used in lampadi, then what of folks and churches in countries where olive oil is prohibitively expensive, or simply unavailable? Andreas rightly refers to Russia, I would add any country of high latitude, or tropical climate. What sort of oil would be used by the Orthodox in Japan or Indonesia? Or Canada? Fr Raphael?

Ironically, the southern regions of Australia are ideal for growing olive trees, yet if you go back 50 years or so, olive oil was something you bought in tiny bottles from the pharmacy. Thanks to the influence of Mediterranean immigrants, imported olive oil from Europe became readily available by the mid-1960s, and there is a small but growing local olive industry.

The oil is extracted from a group of cultivars of rapeseed variants from which low erucic acid rapeseed oil and low glucosinolate meal are obtained.


Effie, a cultivar is simply a variety of a particular plant, produced by selective breeding of strains of plants to produce a plant with certain characteristics. This is what farmers and plant breeders have been doing for centuries. The term does not imply genetic modification.

#6 James Blackstock

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 01:39 PM

I believe olive oil is the norm because it is pure and it is the oil that is traditionally found in the Mediterranean countries.

The purest oil for our lamps in honour of God.



I found this at Wikipedia

"Canola is a type of edible oil derived from plants initially bred in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur Stefansson in the 1970s. The oil is extracted from a group of cultivars of rapeseed variants from which low erucic acid rapeseed oil and low glucosinolate meal are obtained. The word "canola" was derived from "Canadian oil, low acid" in 1978"

Does the above mean that canola oil is the result of genetically altered plants? What exactly does "initially bred"
mean? Was the plant imported or was it invented? If the latter, then canola oil cannot be considered a "pure" product.

If on the other hand, Canola oil is just another name for rapeseed oil, then it can be considered to be pure.

Effie

Something else from the same source :

"Genetically modified canola which is resistant to herbicide was first introduced to Canada in 1995. Today 80% of the acreage of canola is sown with genetically modified canola.[16]"

Monsanto must be one of the most unscrupulous companies in existence today. Wasn't it also involved in the Agent Orange scandal?
Still going strong though.


Dear Effie:

Interestingly enough is ADM's efforts to use Genetically Modified Seeds (GMO's) to corner the market and put all the independant growers out of business. The day is coming when (because of the pollens) if you don't nuy GMO's from one of the big corps. you may not be able to grow your own food! Following is an interesting website (there are many)
http://www.revolutio...s.net/about.htm

INXC,
Seraphim

#7 Father David Moser

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 02:18 PM

I was taught it is traditional to use olive oil in one's lampada, but over the years I have met a few who for reasons of economy use canola oil instead since it is more affordable


I use canola oil at the suggestion of the Archbishop. He spent some of his younger years as a monk in the Holy Land where olive oil is naturally the "norm" for lamps. However, he says that he is unable to find the grade of olive oil used for lamps here in the US and that the food grade olive oils that are sold do not burn properly. Thus he recommended to me canola oil which he said burns better.

we would not think of making a prosphora loaf out of corn meal or rye flour?


Actually that would not be possible (as any baker could tell you). Neither corn nor rye by themselves develop the glutens that wheat flour does. It is the glutens that make the structure of the bread and that hold the gases that result from the growth of the yeast in the dough. This is what makes bread more than a flat lump of dough. To make rye bread you simply add some rye flour to the wheat flour. The wheat provides the structure of the loaf while the rye provides the flavor. Corn bread is not a yeast bread at all. It is a "quick rise" recipe and the air pockets in that is the result of the chemical reaction of the baking power with the liquid which then produces gases which bubble up through the batter as it bakes. Corn bread batter is much runnier than bread dough. So neither corn nor rye could be used to make prosphora which requires rising and shaping the dough - and only wheat gluten provides the structure for such a process. Aren't you glad you asked a bread baker that question?

Fr David Moser

#8 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 04:08 PM


Effie, a cultivar is simply a variety of a particular plant, produced by selective breeding of strains of plants to produce a plant with certain characteristics. This is what farmers and plant breeders have been doing for centuries. The term does not imply genetic modification.



Thanks Olga for that explanation. I agree with your statements. The symbolism is important not the actual things we use. I believe though that it is important that the best be used.

Effie

#9 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 04:34 PM

Dear Effie:

Interestingly enough is ADM's efforts to use Genetically Modified Seeds (GMO's) to corner the market and put all the independant growers out of business. The day is coming when (because of the pollens) if you don't nuy GMO's from one of the big corps. you may not be able to grow your own food! Following is an interesting website (there are many)
http://www.revolutio...s.net/about.htm

INXC,
Seraphim


What is happening is despicable. A lot of farmers in India went bankrupt because of this company and some committed suicide.

This year we bought our vegetable seeds from an ecological organization in Thessaloniki. The seeds are free and our only obligation is to save seeds from the plants we grow and to send some back to this organization. We are trying to grow varieties of Greek vegetables that are becoming rare.

All gardeners on this forum will know what I am talking about when I say that some old varieties of e.g. apricots are absolutely delicious and aromatic, while some newer varieties are tasteless.


Greece is one of the few European countries that are resisting genetically altered seeds.

19.07.1008
Greenpeace applauds Greek ban on GMO corn

The environmental group Greenpeace on Monday applauded Greece's decision to renew a ban on the sale and cultivation of genetically-modified corn seed, in defiance of a European Union ultimatum ordering Athens to lift the ban by January 10.

According to Greenpeace, the new ban by Greek authorities affects GM corn strains developed by Monsanto and another 14 new varieties that the European Commission "secretly" added to the European list on December 30, without informing the public.'


'...opposition (to GM products)within Europe remains strong. UK-based pressure group Friends of the Earth (FoE), which enjoys considerable public sympathy on this issue, says that ten years after the first significant planting of GM crops, no plants with benefits to consumers or the environment have materialised.
GM crops are not 'green'," claims the new FoE international report.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans, the most extensively grown GM crop today, has led to an increase in herbicide use. Independent reports from the US show that since 1996, GM corn, soybean and cotton have led to an increase in pesticide use of 55 million kilos."

"every single one of Greece's 54 prefectures declared itself GM-free."

"In a free society, it is hard to see how consumers could be denied the right to make that decision. But that's exactly what the introduction of crops whose genes cannot be contained implies. Which means there is something quite unseemly about the spectacle of a U.S. ambassador telling a Greek government minister that he or she must allow GM products into the country."



Elder Paisios told us many years ago that there would come a time when people would not even be able to buy food if they resisted the system. We are still resisting, but for how long?

#10 James Blackstock

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:15 PM

I use canola oil at the suggestion of the Archbishop. He spent some of his younger years as a monk in the Holy Land where olive oil is naturally the "norm" for lamps. However, he says that he is unable to find the grade of olive oil used for lamps here in the US and that the food grade olive oils that are sold do not burn properly. Thus he recommended to me canola oil which he said burns better.



Actually that would not be possible (as any baker could tell you). Neither corn nor rye by themselves develop the glutens that wheat flour does. It is the glutens that make the structure of the bread and that hold the gases that result from the growth of the yeast in the dough. This is what makes bread more than a flat lump of dough. To make rye bread you simply add some rye flour to the wheat flour. The wheat provides the structure of the loaf while the rye provides the flavor. Corn bread is not a yeast bread at all. It is a "quick rise" recipe and the air pockets in that is the result of the chemical reaction of the baking power with the liquid which then produces gases which bubble up through the batter as it bakes. Corn bread batter is much runnier than bread dough. So neither corn nor rye could be used to make prosphora which requires rising and shaping the dough - and only wheat gluten provides the structure for such a process. Aren't you glad you asked a bread baker that question?

Fr David Moser


OK Father, now could you explain this? There are prosphero receipes from different ethnic groups; Russian, Arabic, Greek, they all use the same ingredients; flour, water, yeast, and salt. Why do they all have different tastes and textures?
INXC,
Searphim

#11 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 07:15 PM

Thank you Father for the information,

Bless. Thanks to other replyers too.

What is lamp grade olive oil...how does it differ from food grade olive oil and EVOO?

With regard to corn flour or rye flour, my point of course was regarding substituting one thing for another more conventional/traditional thing. I suppose I could have said barely flour, which is white, has less gluten than wheat but I think enough to rise (correct me if I am wrong)...and barley loaves do have some Scriptural place typifying Christ and the Holy Eucharist (Gideon's dream, the loaves and fishes miracle)...still I doubt a bishop would sanction using barley flour for prosphora if by some strange chance wheat flour was in very short supply...and if I may press the point down a rabbit trail to perhaps absurd lengths...barley pancakes are prettier and at least as tasty...if not moreso than wheat flour pancakes. That said...the input of a hieroartopoios (i hope that's right) is appreciated.

the unworthy seraphim

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 08:32 PM

OK Father, now could you explain this? There are prosphero receipes from different ethnic groups; Russian, Arabic, Greek, they all use the same ingredients; flour, water, yeast, and salt. Why do they all have different tastes and textures?
INXC,
Searphim


That'a easy to explain. If I give 10 people the same ingredients and tell them to find a recipe using these same ingredients to make the same product (bread), they will all taste differently due to the quantities of each ingredient used. If even similar qantities but not eaxactly the same amount of salt is used, you get a different flavor.

Now you are asking about different countries as well. Each country's ingredients will also naturalyy simply by region taste different. USA wheat is genetically slightly different than Greece wheat. I am not saying this from an altered genetics point of view, but from a farmers point of view. soil, composte, fertilizer, the seed istslef, the amount of rain and sunlight will all affect the "flavor" of the ingredients.

Aern't you glad you asked a chef?

Paul

Sorry for my poor typing today. I spent the night in th Emergency Room. I was mowing the yard yesteray anf as I was trying to get the lawn mower into the back yard, my dog wanted to get out the same time. I was watching him as I was physically manuevering the lawnmower. As I opened the gate he made a bolt for the gate, I grabbed the lawnmower to cut him off but grabbed the muffler instead and got 2nd degree burns on all my fingers on my left hand. I am typing with my left thumb abd right hand.

I am feeling much better after they gave me the little white pill and the ointment, (Thank God for medicine) it still stings and itches, but went from a level 10 pain to a 3 in about 2 hours.

Paul

#13 Olga

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 03:41 AM

I agree completely with Paul's and Fr David's comments about the differences in taste and texture of prosphora (and other types of food), even if the generic ingredients are the same. I can count in my lineage both breadbakers and cooks, and I'm sure they would concur with the comments about ingredients and conditions affecting the end result. Even in my own cooking and baking, there are variations dependent on ambient temperature and humidity, inherent quality of ingredients, etc. This is particularly significant in baking where yeast is used.

(a tip for yeast bakers: I've found the BEST place to prove dough is in a car left in a reasonably sunny spot. If the outside temperature may be too warm, say over 30 degrees C, then open a couple of windows an inch or two. The warmth in a car is even and gentle. Since discovering this trick, I've always had good results.)

I use canola oil at the suggestion of the Archbishop. He spent some of his younger years as a monk in the Holy Land where olive oil is naturally the "norm" for lamps. However, he says that he is unable to find the grade of olive oil used for lamps here in the US and that the food grade olive oils that are sold do not burn properly. Thus he recommended to me canola oil which he said burns better.


I agree. Our church has been using canola for many years, as it burns far more cleanly. The wrong grade of olive oil inevitably leaves a stubborn sludge in the lamp glasses, and can wreak havoc on the surface of church murals and portable icons, especially those varnished with olifa.

#14 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 03:46 AM

Paul, perastika. We say that for all illnesses and accidents such as you had. It means " may it pass".

You are right about the different tastes of the same foods in different countries. I have experienced this myself. As you said, a lot of elements are responsible.

Robert asks about "lamp grade oil". We have been taught that the best olive oil is to be used. Firstly out of respect and love for our Lord, and secondly because it is environmentally friendly. Using just any oil might make the wick smoke and you don't really know what's in the oil itself.

The main reason we use high quality oil is that we want to give the best we have or rather the best we can afford, to God.

Olga, I'm sorry. I just read your message. I am completely in agreement with you.

Effie

Edited by Effie Ganatsios, 20 July 2008 - 03:48 AM.
Just read Olga's message which says the same thing


#15 Nina

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 07:06 PM

Personally I use (what I have been taught): the best of the best olive oil that I can afford. Also I have heard that in the past when people were very poor because of wars etc. they still got the best olive oils for the lampadas. As Effie mentions so we offer God the best we can (like Abel). And not only in this case but in everything -Fathers say- we must strive to offer Him the best. However contrition of the heart and humility is also what makes our offer acceptable and pleasing to God.

#16 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 07:26 PM

Above, Fr David wrote:

I use canola oil at the suggestion of the Archbishop. He spent some of his younger years as a monk in the Holy Land where olive oil is naturally the "norm" for lamps. However, he says that he is unable to find the grade of olive oil used for lamps here in the US and that the food grade olive oils that are sold do not burn properly. Thus he recommended to me canola oil which he said burns better.

I often do the same thing, given that much of the olive oil available for purchase here (even the most expensive) contains particles in it that prevents it from burning well -- clogging up the wicks in the lampadi, sometimes after only a few minutes of burning. When I travel I often buy purer olive oil from elsewhere, and at times I am brought pure, burnable olive oil -- which I always greatly appreciate. But when I do not have this, I buy good-quality canola oil, allowing the lamps to burn properly.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 07:51 PM

We are running out of lamp oil bought in Russia, and when my brother-in-law arrived two weeks ago the only bottles he brought were vodka! Under what brand name can canola oil be brought in England?

#18 Nina

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 12:55 PM

Wow. What does it mean that olive oil does not burn properly? How does the wick clogs up? Does that mean that the flame goes out after the wick clogs up? Sorry, but I have never seen it and I do not understand how it happens.

P.S Although I have heard about impurities in olive oil since the grandmother of my friend in Spain got very ill because she consumed olive oil (which she purchased as extra virgin olive oil from Spain) mixed with some oil for the car.

#19 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 04:39 PM

Impurities in the oil do not burn cleanly and coat the wick with a carbon build-up. This prevents the wick from doing its job, which is to feed the oil to the flame, in effect, "clogging" the wick. This means you have to replace the wick often (if you blow out and relight the lamp) or the wick soon consumes itself if you keep it burning.

#20 Nina

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 04:46 PM

Herman thank you so much for explaining. I have never seen it happening though.

Now that you described what can happen: Can the wick (its quality) play a role also in addition to impure olive oil? I carefully select where I buy the wicks and stock up when I am at a place that I know they are good. My favorite ones are those with beeswax.




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