Door of the rituals

Door of the rituals

Q: Is it possible to eat fish during Saint Mary’s fast?

A: Saint Mary’s fast is a 3rd degree fast in our Coptic church. It is possible to eat fish during this fast, as well as the Apostles’ fast(except Wednesdays and Fridays that come during a fast).

The church permitted eating fish during these fasts as a way to ease fasting for believers, especially sick and old people, children, pregnant and nursing mothers, etc. It may also be worthy to note that there are about 7 different fasts throughout the year, hence, being able to eat fish during some of those fasts is helpful to believers.

There are other spiritual and health reasons for eating fish during these fasts, these include:

  1. Fish is the food of blessing: all the miracles that our Lord Jesus Christ performed in order to feed the multitudes, were through bread and fish. (Matthew5 , Luke9)
  2. Fish is the food of resurrection: after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His appearance to the disciples in the upper room, He said to them: “Have you any food here? So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.” (Luke24:41-43) This occurred in order to prove to them that He rose up with the same flesh with which He once lived with them, the same flesh that He was crucified on the cross with.  It became a luminous spiritual flesh.  In addition, He ate bread and grilled fish with them when He appeared to them at the sea of Tiberius (John21)
  3. Fish is a symbol of life: it remains alive in the strong tossing sea. It does not take much from the sea, only what it needs; it absorbs the oxygen needed for it to live. Also the Christian believer should live in the world but not allow the world to live in him. “Do not love the world or the things in the world …” (1John 2:15-17)
  4. Fish symbolizes Christians: The symbol of the fish was a secret sign between Christians during times of persecution, and it symbolized the sign of the cross. In addition, we can see the drawing of a fish on the iconostasis of most of the churches, especially the ancient ones.
  5. Fish are cold- blooded, in other words they are calm and stable.
  6. Fish contain a light animal protein that does not exist in mammals. In addition, it can be easily digested and is light for the stomach.
  7. Fish is rich with phosphorus that benefits the human body in general, specifically the eyes and the brain.
  8. The reproduction of fish is without lust/desire, nor sexual intercourse between the male and the female. The female lays the eggs and the male comes later on to fertilize the egg.
  9. The word fish consists of the first letters of the name of Jesus Christ, Son of God the Savior (in Greek: I,YUC)
    1. I/COUCJesus
    2. XRICTOCChrist
    3. YEOCGod
    4. UIOCSon
    5. CWT/RSavior
    6. I/C P,C UIOCYEOC CWT/RJesus Christ Son of God , the Saviour