ABSTINENCE

Refraining from eating some or all kinds of food. Abstinence differs from in that abstinence is not subject to the rules governing fasting. The practice, originally a form of , dates from the (Lv. 11), where elaborate prohibitionary rules were prescribed. These were later abrogated in the , but the early voluntarily renewed the practice of abstinence with more vehemence as an individual demonstration of religious zeal.

Saint ANTONY and his monks are said to have abstained from all manner of food except bread, salt, and water. , though preserving this tradition, was more lenient, allowing the addition of a cabbage leaf to the cenobite’s sustenance.

Among , total abstinence until the rise of the first evening star was customary, especially during . This practice was even intensified among certain heretical sects such as the Manichaeans and the Gnostics. commemorates the Passion of Jesus, and Wednesday abstinence commemorates Job’s suffering. Such practices were generally upheld by the fathers of the church, and some, such as , extended the abstinence days to Saturday. , however, rejected abstinence and fasting altogether.

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