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Monastery Food
See: Monastic Obedience
See: Monastic Life
See: Monastic Clothing

Monastic Food

A monastery's kitchen is directly linked to the church's liturgical cycle, and what food is to be prepared when and how. Most of the permanent pilgrims grow the monastery's food in the large organic garden. One of the gardens are behind the main church .Monastic's eat one main meal a day after Liturgy and a light meal just before Vespers. If you are planning to visit the monastery and would like to bring either a food offering or other useful supplies, you also can ask ahead for the most needed items by contacting the monastery. Everything is shared equally in the monastery life, including the food.

The monastery constantly makes sure enough food is provided for all those who come in great desperation to the monastery for some food, and even shelter, which is provided to all souls! Every soul who knocks on the doors of the monastery is helped with great Christian love, no matter who this person might be, or where he or she is from, and needs assistance. They are careful not to eat that which invites gluttony or attachment to food, but to partake of the "daily bread" that provides for sustenance. The monks grow their own food, spend long hours each day in prayer, and rarely venture out of the monastery. Food and a bed to sleep are provided entirely free, although the conditions are basic and visitors are expected to conduct themselves according to certain standards

Most monastic's are imitators of Christ. Like Christ, they fast. Like Christ, they live the life of poverty, both in what they wear and what they possess. Monastic's spend there time by not thinking and de welling about food and clothing but praying for the world. They are careful not to eat that which invites gluttony or attachment to food, but to partake of the "daily bread" that provides for sustenance.

The food is just basic: a seasonal salad, baked beans or lentils cooked in plenty of water like soup, a dish made of all the seasonal vegetables cooked together in one pot, salted fish, olives, cheese, wheat bread, potatoes and fruit juices. At festivals fish is served but they never use meat. The Abbot will sit at the front table and begins and stops the end of the meal with the ringing of a bell and a prayers.

A single meal without oil is eaten at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. No fish, cheese, butter, or eggs are permitted during the forty days of Lent ending with Easter. The most reverent monks eat nothing during the last days of the fast. A similar abstinence takes place during the Lent of the Apostles Peter and Paul, (from Monday after All Saints Day to June 28), during the fourteen day Lent of the Mother of God, (from the 1st of August to the 14th) and during the Christmas Lent, beginning on 15th of November and ending on the night of Christmas Eve
.

The Fathers of the Church have taught that too little or too much of sleep or too little or too much of food are dangerous. Modern medicine now also teaches us that excessive food leads to many diseases, such as cancer and heart ailments. All of this is consistent with the teachings of the ancient Church Fathers and monastic's life.




Gluttony

There are three degrees in eating food: temperance, sufficiency, and satiety. Temperance is when someone wants to eat some more food but abstains, rising from the table still somewhat hungry. Sufficiency is when someone eats what is needed and sufficient for normal body nourishment. Satiety is when someone eats more than enough food and is more than satisfied after the meal. (St. Gregory the Sinaite)

Now if you don't keep temperance or sufficiency and you go toward satiety, then, do not become a glutton. Remember Jesus said in Luke 6:25: "Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep". Also the rich man who ate in this present life sumptuously every day, but who was deprived of the desired bosom of Abraham in the next life, simply because of this lavish eating.

Sitting at meals, do not look and do not judge how much anyone eats, but be attentive to yourself, nourishing your soul with prayer.
(Saint Seraphim of Sarov)

By begrudging the stomach, your mouth will stay closed, because the tongue flourishes where food is abundant. (St. John Climacus - The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 14:On Gluttony)

It is just as shameful for lovers of the flesh and the belly to search out spiritual things as it is for a harlot to discourse on chastity. (St. Isaac of Syria)

When heavy with over-eating, the body makes the intellect spiritless and sluggish; likewise, also when weakened by excessive abstinence, the body makes the contemplative faculty of the soul dejected and disinclined to concentrate. We should therefore regulate our food according to the condition of the body, so that it is appropriately disciplined when in good health and adequately nourished when weak. The body of someone pursuing a spiritual life must not be deprived of strength; he must have enough strength for his labors. The soul can be appropriate for the occasion be purified through bodily exertion as well. (St. Diadochos of Photiki) (On Spiritual Knowledge no. 45)

First control of the stomach. The Holy Fathers have not given us only one single rule for fasting or one single rule for eating, because not everyone has the same strength. Age, illness or delicacy of body create many different needs. But the Holy Fathers have given us all a one goal: to avoid over-eating and over filling our bellies. A simple life rule for self-control that was handed down by the Fathers is stop eating while still a little hungry and do not continue until you are satisfied. (St. John Cassian, On the Eight Vices in The Philokalia, Vol. 1)

To act “according to one’s strength” means to use a little less than necessary both of food, drink, and sleep. As for food, restrain yourself when you wish to eat a little more, and in this way you will always make use of it moderately
. (“Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life,” trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood)


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