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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

54- Reply to the subject of vegetarian food         Image: A Coptic monk praying in the wilderness, with food after fasting صورة: راهب قبطي يصلي في البرية الجوانية، مع طعام بعد الصوم Image: A Coptic monk praying in the wilderness, with food after fasting

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: راهب قبطي يصلي في البرية الجوانية، مع طعام بعد الصوم

(a) Firstly, we would like to say that fasting in our Church is not merely eating vegetarian food but it is abstaining from eating for a certain time followed by eating vegetarian food (food free from animal fat).

(b) Vegetarian food was the food which God presented to Adam and Eve in Paradise (Gen.1: 29) and also after the sin (Gen.3: 18). All animals were fed on vegetarian food, namely grass (Gen. 1: 30).

(c) The Holy Bible did not allow the eating of meat until after Noah's Ark (Gen.9: 3) when the world had degraded to the extent that made God send the Flood.

(d) When God led His people in the Wilderness of Sinai, He offered them vegetarian food, that is, manna (Num.11: 7,8). He did not allow them to eat meat (quails) until after their wailing, groaning and the degradation of their spirits. When God gave them meat He struck them with a severe plague which caused the death of many of them (Num.11: 33), and we have discussed this issue before here on in other pages. The place where they were buried was named ‘Kibroth Hattaavah’ (which means ‘Graves of Craving’) because they had craved to eat meat.

(e) We notice that vegetarian food was the food which Daniel and the three youths ate. The Lord blessed their food and their health was better than all the servants of the king (Dan.1: 12,15).

The reasons for using vegetarian food are that it is light food which does not stimulate the bodily desires and it was the original food which God presented to man.

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