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Is seafood permitted during Lent?


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#21 IoanC

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 11:18 AM

I once asked a monk from a Romanian Monastery why the Church does not consider fish to be regular meat. While he didn't have a definitive answer, he did point out the interesting fact that fish may not feel pain. I am not sure if this remains scientifically accurate in recent years, depending on what research you take into consideration.

#22 Owen

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 05:33 PM

Fish belong to the Phylum Chordata, therefore, are forbidden during strict fasts. Technically, anything in the Animal Kingdom outside the Phylum Chordata is legit during a strict fast, though the stricter Orthodox will go totally vegan.

At the time fasting rules were formulated, little was know about the nature, feeding habits, etc, of sea life. The monks took into account what secular science of the time had to say, and then came to a consensus on the nature of fish and the place of fish in the fasting regimen. There is no more rhyme or reason to it than that.

#23 Michael T.

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 06:14 PM

What's interesting to me about the Orthodox fast is that it is from a physiological Point of view, the opposite of Atkins diet. I'm not going to go into the relative merits of Atkins right now are the dangers of Atkin's Where the Atkin's diet was formulated to increase weight loss while minimizing hunger; the Orthodox fast, from the physiological point of view is ideal for increasing hunger and minimizing weight loss. That is the point, right? To endure, not loose weight. The endurance is the "goody" we get from fasting. How can something that hurts be "goody?" It help us to grow.
When one lives life satiated, anyone, he becomes an addict. The alcoholic doesn't want to get falling down drunk just that satiated buzz that is further and further out of reach. It doesn't matter what it is, full stomach, that endorphin rush after sex, it's that desire that quest for satiation. These are the things that rip us apart. You know the psychologist who study desire tell us that it is the desire itself that is the motivation. Any of you guys smokers or former smokers like me? Cigarettes taste bad screw up your health cost too much and really, make one feel sick, not better. What keeps a smoker sucking them down? The desire for the next cigarette. One doesn't need a degree in theology to see how his passions lead him around as if there were a ring in his nose.
I am so well practiced at giving in to desire, at justifying what ever i want to do, often without the regard to the cost.... most of my problems don't come from a lack of "knowing any better" but not making the choices I know are to my advantage. If i walk away from those desires, practice putting my head over nagging desires then maybe I can start to live in a different way. A way without rationalization and all the blinding BS I tell myself. The worst lies I tell are the ones I tell myself because they get in the way of me seeing me as I am (humility) and living in reality.
We can debate and get legalistic about fasting but the real motivation here is if "I" am going to control my desire or is it going to distort and destroy me.
If I got this wrong then let me know.

#24 Michael T.

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 07:47 PM

Fr Averky touched on the point that I was taught:
If it bleeds red then it not its products should be consumed
That makes it simple
Secondly, I think I should clarify my point about legalism
A mentor and confessor once told me, "If you are asking a question such as 'should I do this' most of the time you are formulating rationalizations and you know that it is wrong in you heart of hearts." So applying the same logic to fasting, if questioning if you should eat something, most of the time you you shouldn't

#25 Michael T.

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 07:55 PM

While from a philosophical point of view one cannot know if a fish feels pain, we can measure nerve impulses to its brain, and physiological changes including shock responses and behavioral changes which are highly indicative of pain in fish. I think one can make a very rational argument that fish do experience pain

#26 Olga

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 06:07 AM

While from a philosophical point of view one cannot know if a fish feels pain, we can measure nerve impulses to its brain, and physiological changes including shock responses and behavioral changes which are highly indicative of pain in fish. I think one can make a very rational argument that fish do experience pain

 

Any fisherman worth his salt knows that fish should be chilled, ideally put into an ice slurry, as soon as possible after being caught. This has two benefits: it stuns the fish, leading to a quick death; and the chilling ensures the texture and flavour of the flesh is maintained. Heat and stress spoil the quality.

 

On the matter of whether fish feel pain or distress, I think this is of little importance when it comes to Orthodox fasting. Crustaceans are also capable of being distressed, yet they are permitted during lenten periods. They are also ideally rapidly chilled once caught, just as fish are, for the above reasons.



#27 Kosta

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 01:16 AM

The easiest way to remember is that everything and anything that is derived from any organism that contains blood is to be fasted from. Usually this will include all fish with backbones. Squid, and Octopus which has ink instead of blood can be fasted from. Anthropods such as Insects like ants and crickets or crustaceans can be eaten because they have no blood but some sort of open circulatory system.

#28 Olga

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 11:07 PM

The easiest way to remember is that everything and anything that is derived from any organism that contains blood is to be fasted from. Usually this will include all fish with backbones. Squid, and Octopus which has ink instead of blood can be fasted from. Anthropods such as Insects like ants and crickets or crustaceans can be eaten because they have no blood but some sort of open circulatory system.

 

Kosta, I think you meant to say arthropods. :)

 

This analogy is useful, but there's at least one excepton. Fish are not permitted, but fish roe is allowed.



#29 Kosta

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 09:36 PM

ah yes arthropods. Had to throw in mention of insects as certain health buffs now use cricket flour.
Not sure amongst the slavs but fish roe, Tamara spread in Greek is certainly popular during fast. Not sure how it was introduced, maybe it's an anomaly or perhaps they introduced it when many took the fast extremely strict and was prescribed to add some protein for the infirm. Who knows (well maybe someone does).

Edited by Kosta, 14 April 2017 - 09:38 PM.


#30 Olga

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 04:55 AM

Fish roe is indeed popular among Slavs. Salmon and lumpfish roe is commonly eaten. Russians and some other Slavs also have a custom of eating roe/caviar on Lazarus' Saturday. The raising of Lazarus is a prelude to the Resurrection of Christ a week later. Eggs being symbolic of new life and of the Resurrection, eating fish eggs therefore is a prelude to eating "real" eggs at Pascha.






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