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Is beer a lenten beverage?


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#1 Michael Albert

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:56 PM

I know this is a silly question, but I am going to ask it anyway.

When the fast is relaxed on certain days (ie: to permit fish, oil and wine), where does beer fit into the equation? Can one drink a cold beer and still be considered to not be breaking the fast?

#2 Ryan

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:04 PM

My understanding is that beer is not really considered the same way as other alcoholic beverages, at least in Russian tradition, and is allowed on fast days. On a side note, the Russian government just classified beer as alcoholic last month!

#3 Albion

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:39 PM

Can one drink a cold beer and still be considered to not be breaking the fast?


I think you've hit the nail right on the head, Michael Albert. A cold beer would be sinful; a warm one would be all right. :>)

Seriously, though, my sense of things as viewed from here in Cyprus is simple. Beer is alcoholic and should therefore not be drunk during fasting times, nor should whisky or any other spirits. That said, I fail miserably in this.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:44 PM

Beer is liquid bread (at least in the Russian tradition). Bread does not break the fast. YMMV

or so it seems to this bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#5 Albion

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:46 PM

Beer is liquid bread (at least in the Russian tradition). Bread does not break the fast. YMMV


That would make vodka liquid potatoes, ipso facto ...

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 04 August 2011 - 04:53 PM.
fixed quote tags


#6 Michael Albert

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:59 PM

I think you've hit the nail right on the head, Michael Albert. A cold beer would be sinful; a warm one would be all right. :>)


LOL!

Seriously, though, my sense of things as viewed from here in Cyprus is simple. Beer is alcoholic and should therefore not be drunk during fasting times, nor should whisky or any other spirits. That said, I fail miserably in this.


In the Greek Tradition, on a day when wine and oil are permitted......does that include all alcohol (in moderation of course)?

#7 Michael Albert

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:01 PM

Beer is liquid bread (at least in the Russian tradition)


LOL! I've heard that before. Gotta love the Russians! :)

#8 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:04 PM

That would make vodka liquid potatoes, ipso facto ...

Actually, not so much. Vodka is made FROM potatoes and wine is made FROM grapes, but most beer is not made from bread, just roughly the same ingredients with lots more water, and whole toasted grains instead of flour (Darn, now you got my mouth watering).

Vodka, however, is a distilled spirit and technically not really covered by the "rules" either since they developed long before distilled beverages existed and it obviously is not wine. That being said, "wine" these days has come to mean "alcohol" in general as far as fasting is concerned in most jurisdictions, so that would, indeed include beer unless you want to get semantic about the whole thing.

Of course, drinking most Russian beers can be considered a form of penance to begin with. A Russian sent some Russian beer to a lab to have it analyzed to find out why it tasted so bad. A couple of weeks later he received a letter that read: "Dear Sir, we are sorry to inform you that your horse has diabetes ..."

Herman the anti-semantic Pooh beer (I mean beAr)

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 04 August 2011 - 05:38 PM.


#9 Thomas Brunson

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:16 PM

My priest says that beer is OK to drink any time, as long as its in moderation, i.e. with a meal or one in the evening. +Thomas

#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 06:17 PM

Of course, drinking most Russian beers can be considered a form of penance to begin with.


Obviously you have not had the chance to enjoy a Baltika 9, or 6 for that matter.

Fr David Moser

#11 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:51 PM

That would make vodka liquid potatoes, ipso facto ...


Nice try. My guess is that wine and vodka were luxuries for most people, whereas beer was, like bread, a staple, at least before the days of coffee, tea, and soft drinks.

#12 Albion

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:30 PM

Herman the Pooh


I would have thought Pooh would drink mead.

#13 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:33 PM

In the Greek Tradition, on a day when wine and oil are permitted......does that include all alcohol (in moderation of course)?

As far as I know wine = all alcohol in Greek tradition, so as fast means none I guess wine and oil allowed means all all alcohol is fine that day.

Does anyone know is the Russian tradition of beer always allowed due to a historical lack of clean drinking water like in England?

In Christ.
Daniel the tea-totaler,

#14 Jason Hunt

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:28 PM

I am interested in renewing this thread in case anyone can clarify how the Orthodox church in different countries has regarded beer in the context of Lent, and how that difference in understanding developed historically. As I understand it, in the Greek tradition "no wine" = "no alcohol" and so beer is not permitted on strict fast days, whereas in the Russian tradition beer is permitted when wine is not. Can anyone comment on this from a historical perspective? Is anyone familiar with the history of beer and wine in Russia, Greece, or other Orthodox lands, and the relationship between availability and production of beer and wine in different places and the fasting rules regarding each (assuming such a relationship exists)?

It should go without saying that we should always consult with and obey our own spiritual father in this and other matters, whether he instructs us to refrain from beer during the Fast or permits its consumption. It should also go without saying that allowing the consumption of beer does not sanction drunkenness or indulgence in any form, nor does this allowance sanction the sins which may follow from drunkenness.

#15 Kusanagi

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:49 PM

Someone told me that wine was not permitted because in the old days wine was kept in animal skin so it shouldn't be drunk.
Also I tend to think of wine as in the one made from fruits, so other wines should be allowed.
I have known Russian monks and Romanian lay people drink beer during the fast so going by their example I assume it is OK.

#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:33 PM

Beer is considered liquid bread. In the cold climate of Russian lands, a little extra caloric intake was no doubt considered necessary and beer was healthier than the water in most places. I thought we already had this discussion in a couple of other threads.

#17 Alice

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:27 AM

Jason,

Until recent times beer was not a drink known to Greeks nor was hard alcohol--only wine and ouzo. Hmm...wonder where ouzo plays into the fast?

#18 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:42 AM

wonder where ouzo plays into the fast?


Like vodka in Russia, it's 'medicinal'!

#19 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

So we move smoothly from drinking wine to drinking beer, from eating meat to eating Quorn (texturised fungi protein), from milk to oat, almond or soya milk, from butter to soya spread.

And them we wonder why the Great Fast doesn't bring us closer to God. Truly the rich 21st century westerners have a hard time getting to heaven.

I loved the joke about Russian beer though :)

Love,
Richard.

#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:01 AM

Quite so, Richard. When we fast, we still eat better than most people in the world eat normally.




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