• A blessed Nativity / Theophany season to all! For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Non-Alcoholic Communion wine

Dominika

Taxiarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
7,612
Reaction score
157
Points
63
Age
29
Location
Poland
Website
www.youtube.com
That's an interesting topic! I know only that's practised by some Roman Catholics, mainly for the people (above all, priests), being addicted to alcohol.

One of my friends that works on "Niebieska Linia" (Blue Line in Polish - a public phone numer that offer you juidicial and psyhological help in case of some violence and abuse, mainly at home) had a strange call during this year Holy Week - a lady was highly iritaed by the fact that Orthodox Church gives the Holy Communion to small children and that wine is used there. She said that's a kind of violence and as she's sure it's true (because she had watched some videos of the Liturgy on Youtube) she wants to report it to an institution. My friend that's Roman Catholic phoned me after this and asked if we can substitute wine with something; I said that since it's been practised over the centuries and nobody had doubts and we believe it's teh Blood of Christ, there is no problem. And there are no more alcoholics among Orthodox than in other social groups.
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Age
34
Dominika said:
That's an interesting topic! I know only that's practised by some Roman Catholics, mainly for the people (above all, priests), being addicted to alcohol.

One of my friends that works on "Niebieska Linia" (Blue Line in Polish - a public phone numer that offer you juidicial and psyhological help in case of some violence and abuse, mainly at home) had a strange call during this year Holy Week - a lady was highly iritaed by the fact that Orthodox Church gives the Holy Communion to small children and that wine is used there. She said that's a kind of violence and as she's sure it's true (because she had watched some videos of the Liturgy on Youtube) she wants to report it to an institution. My friend that's Roman Catholic phoned me after this and asked if we can substitute wine with something; I said that since it's been practised over the centuries and nobody had doubts and we believe it's teh Blood of Christ, there is no problem. And there are no more alcoholics among Orthodox than in other social groups.
It's such a tiny amount of alcohol, I don't think it could trigger an alcoholic, anyway. The drive for non-alcohol seems to me more based on outside of Mass questions. Some Churches in rural Alaska (where there's a massive alcoholism problem among the Natives) have asked for dispensation from the OCA to use grape juice because there's a danger of people breaking into the Church to steal the wine. I don't think permission has ever been granted though, so they just keep locking it up between services.


ETA: Sorry, I was thinking of the amount of Blood received during intincture. I'm not sure about drinking from the Cup.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
NJ
Father Peter said:
I'm interested in knowing to what extent this has become normal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and if it is a practice in other OO churches.
I’ve heard stories that some churches in Egypt do this.  I have not visited one that did though.  But the rationalization that goes along with it peeves me.
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Age
34
minasoliman said:
Father Peter said:
I'm interested in knowing to what extent this has become normal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and if it is a practice in other OO churches.
I’ve heard stories that some churches in Egypt do this.  I have not visited one that did though.  But the rationalization that goes along with it peeves me.
Which is?
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
9
Points
38
Age
38
Location
PA, USA
I had read (take that for it's worth) that the non-alcoholic wine, ie grape juice in Alaska was actually being done, because that tiny amount of alcohol could indeed trigger an alcoholic. If that's true then I'm not sure if I can really fault it. That said I know hardly anything about alcoholism and, of course, this may not even be true.
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Age
34
Iconodule said:
I had read (take that for it's worth) that the non-alcoholic wine, ie grape juice in Alaska was actually being done, because that tiny amount of alcohol could indeed trigger an alcoholic. If that's true then I'm not sure if I can really fault it. That said I know hardly anything about alcoholism and, of course, this may not even be true.
Ah. Well, I was only hearing about it second hand (though an actual AA type told me the thing about it not triggering), so you might be right.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
NJ
Volnutt said:
minasoliman said:
Father Peter said:
I'm interested in knowing to what extent this has become normal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and if it is a practice in other OO churches.
I’ve heard stories that some churches in Egypt do this.  I have not visited one that did though.  But the rationalization that goes along with it peeves me.
Which is?
The wine in the wedding of Cana was not alcoholic.
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
9
Points
38
Age
38
Location
PA, USA
How the heck did they reach that conclusion? The account itself seems to say quite otherwise.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
NJ
A stigma that tends to shun all alcohol in a culture that promotes alcohol as sinful to drink.  There's really no other way to reach that conclusion except from a preconceived cultural notion on alcohol that leads one to reread the text in a completely different way.  This probably tended to happen sometime after the persecution of the Mamluks and Ottomans as the Coptic Church is trying to rediscover her theological heritage.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Father Peter said:
I'm interested in knowing to what extent this has become normal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and if it is a practice in other OO churches.
I don't know how widespread it is in the Indian Church, but there is a tradition of soaking raisins overnight and then using their juice as communion wine.  When I was trained, it was described as an alternative when wine was not available (which was useful knowledge in the one emergency situation in which I had to prepare this "wine"), but I also came to learn that it is used in some places as the default option. 

In my experience, though, it has always been "alcoholic" red wine that is used in the churches. 
 

Agabus

Taxiarches
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
6,324
Reaction score
3
Points
0
Iconodule said:
How the heck did they reach that conclusion? The account itself seems to say quite otherwise.
I heard whole sermons on it when I was a kid. I might have found the faith a lot quicker if I'd known there were Coptic Rite Baptists.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
NJ
A blast from the past:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8265.0.html

And from another thread, just a historical proof that one of the differences between a Copt and a Muslim was the use of wine even among clergy:

minasoliman said:
It's hard to say whether there's an ascetic or an Islamic influence on the abstinence of alcoholic drinks (it could be a combination of both), but it's been known as late at the 10th Century that one of the major differences between a Copt and a Muslim was wine:

[In] The Book of the History of the Patriarchs [w]e find an amusing account about Severus of Ashmunin, which is often quoted, of one of his disputations with the Muslim Chief Justice (qadi al-qudat), who asked Severus (Sawirus) whether a passing dog was Muslim or Christian. To avoid giving an incriminating answer, Severus replied, "Ask him." The judge said, "The dog does not talk." It was Friday, a fast day for Copts, so Severus said that fasting Copts on that day eat no meat, and break the fast by sipping wine. he suggested offering the dog meat and wine, so that if he ate the meat, he was a Muslim, and if he drank the wine, he must be a Christian. In this manner he gave an answer that the Chief Justice could not refute. (Note 3: A.S. Atiya, Yassa `Abd al-Masih and O.H.E. Burmester History of the Patriarchs of the Egyptian Church known as the History of the Holy Church , Vol II part II (Cairo 1948), 92-93 (text), 138 (translation).)
"Eating and Drinking in Egypt After the Arabic Conquest" by Dr. Youhanna N. Youssef in Saint Shenouda Coptic Quarterly 1.1 (2004) 17-24.

This seems to confirm at least in the past that wine was not considered sinful, but in fact a Coptic cultural norm.  I would say however, I am personally worried by some Coptic clergy who can go as far as say that the wine in the wedding of Cana was not wine, but grape juice with no alcoholic content, only to further an agenda of abstinence not as recommended, but rather spiritual necessary.

I have nothing wrong with HG Bishop Youssef in his tone that abstinence is a recommendation, but sometimes some priests can take recommendations and change them into dogma, which is what I personally don't like.

I will say this.  In my opinion, alcohol should be rarely used, as well as smoking (very rarely since we do not know yet how that can affect each individual person, but collectively for the most part it does more harm than help), as well as fast food.  These are to be taken once in a blue moon so to speak, and not regularly.  Of course, it would be nice if one was to abstain, but I cannot guilt trip someone into having one drink as many priests have suggested to me.
 

Volnutt

Hoplitarches
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
15,089
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Age
34
Mor Ephrem said:
Father Peter said:
I'm interested in knowing to what extent this has become normal in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and if it is a practice in other OO churches.
I don't know how widespread it is in the Indian Church, but there is a tradition of soaking raisins overnight and then using their juice as communion wine.  When I was trained, it was described as an alternative when wine was not available (which was useful knowledge in the one emergency situation in which I had to prepare this "wine"), but I also came to learn that it is used in some places as the default option. 

In my experience, though, it has always been "alcoholic" red wine that is used in the churches.
Oh wow, very interesting.
 

rakovsky

Toumarches
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
USA
Website
rakovskii.livejournal.com
Maybe someone who has visited many Coptic monasteries can tell us how common it is to use non-alcoholic grape juice for the wine?

In Rituals, Signs, and Symbols: Coptic (Egyptian) Christian Traditions, Deacon William A. Hanna, Ph.D. of St. Mary & St. Abraam  Coptic Orthodox Church writes:
Wine and water are brought in glass vessels. Wine ('abarka') is unfermented grape juice prepared and bottled special for church services. The size of the glass has to match the size of the cup used in the service (no leftovers). After it is blessed it is poured into the cup and washed with water which is also poured into the cup.

We use special wine for the service (abarkah) which is unfermented bottled grape juice. The same that our brothers the Jews use for the cup of offering.
http://www.stmary-church.com/rituals2.txt

Does that sound like an accurate description?

In The Society of Coptic Church Studies' Coptic Church Review: Volume 17, Numbers 1 & 2 Spring/Summer 1996, Fr. John Watson writes:
In general experience, Oriental Orthodox hierarchs customarily identify their individual national cultures with the Christian Gospel... One Oriental Orthodox bishop in Australia recently devoted a retreat address to a comparison between Christian teetotal practice in his church and in Islam: Jesus used unfermented grape-juice for the Last Supper and total abstinence was a point of dogma! Such stories abound in the Oriental Orthodox tradition. Although most of the participating churches would be unable to distinguish between Gospel and Culture, some did understand the problem and they were successful in inserting these affirmations into the [1965 Addis Ababa] Conference proceedings.
https://www.scribd.com/document/111707387/CCR-Pope-Kyrillos-Edition

Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, St George & St Rueiss Church, Toronto Canada

Do you think that this miracle [at Cana in the gospels] means that drinking wine or alcohol is OK?
The answer is NO. Our Master and Lord Jesus changed the water into a “new wine” which was called by the bridegroom “the good wine.” It was only a natural grape Juice that tasted beautifully and much better than the previous wine that they were drinking.
http://stmarkcharlotte.org/Sunday_School/Canadian_curriculum/Grade_Eight.pdf

See also:
Alcohol and the Coptic Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=29193.0

The old thread points to this article:
Fr Antonios Kaldas
What’s Wrong With Alcohol?

The Coptic Orthodox Church strongly recommends that alcohol not be a part of its member’s lives, apart from Holy Communion of course. ... On a statistical level, while I have no actual figures, I can say with some confidence that within our Coptic community the incidence of alcoholism is vanishingly small. ... I have no doubt that this excellent health outcome is due to the Church’s policy against even social drinking.

– At the wedding of Cana of Galillee, Jesus changed the water into oinos. This is the Greek word used in the Gospel of John. It actually denotes the juice of the grape in general and was most likely very low on alcohol content. [Quote follows from a Reformed Protestant claiming Biblical wine was just grape juice]

– Doubtless, the Muslim society in which the Church has developed for fourteen centuries has contributed to this no alcohol policy, but what difference does that make? ... We as a Coptic community already have this policy – who cares where it came from?
http://www.frantonios.org.au/2010/07/07/whats-wrong-with-alcohol/

This is probably from a Reformed Protestant writer, since Reformed Protestants like to propose that grape juice was used in the Last Supper:
According to the book 'WINE IN THE BIBLE: A BIBLICAL STUDY ON THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES' written by the professor of theology and church history,  Samuele Bacchiocchi, Chapter 5: 'JESUS AND WINE' states with historical records and proves that Jesus and the apostles used unfermented non alcoholic grape juice ...
- The third Council of Braga (A.D. 675), which reports that Cyprian (died 258 A.D.) condemned those who "used no other wine but what they pressed out of the cluster of grapes that were then presented at the Lord’s table."
- Instructions in this regard had already been given three centuries before by Pope Julius I (A. D. 337) in a decree which says: "If necessary let the cluster be pressed into the cup and water mingled with it."
- The Christians of St. Thomas in India, the Coptic monasteries in Egypt, and the Christians of St. John in Persia, all of which celebrated the Lord’s Supper with unfermented wine made either with fresh or dried grapes.
http://fbinvestigations.blogspot.com/2014/08/holy-mass-and-wine-issue.html
I think that the part in bold actually implies that the Eucharistic liquid should not be just fresh grapes freshly crushed into a cup with water. Cyprian of Carthage the church father seems to condemn just using so called "wine" freshly pressed from fresh grapes sitting right then and there on the communion table. Cyprian seems to demand that Christians use other wine than that, namely wine already made from grapes different than those sitting right there on the table.

During the heydey of the Temperance Movement, Wilbur Fisk Crafts in his book "World Book of Temperance: Temperance Lessons, Biblical, Historical, Scientific" pointed to the practices of Malabar Christians, Copts, Ethiopians, and Manicheans as proof that using non-alcoholic grape juice was the ancient and "correct" Christian practice, and that Augustine was wrong to reject using just grape juice for communion:
The Christians of St Thomas who were found on the coast of Malabar and claimed to have derived the gospel from St Thomas the Apostle celebrated the Lord's Supper in the juice expressed from raisins softened one night in water, says Odoard Barbosa. 'They use in their sacrifices wine prepared from dried grapes', states Osorius. ... Tischendorf, in his narrative of visits to the Coptic monasteries of Egypt, remarks that at the Eucharist the priest took the thick juice of the grape from a glass with a spoon; amd Dr Gobat, the Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem, in his Abyssianian (Ethiopian) Journal, records the reception of 'some bottles of grape wine. The wine is the juice of dried grapes with water.'

It is morally certain that the eucharistical notices of some of the ancient Christian sects, who are represented as denouncing wine and rejecting it from the Lord's Supper, are colored and perverted statements pointing simply to a refusal to use fermented wine in the sacrament. When so able and acute a theologian as St. Augustine charges his old associates the Manicheans, with inconsistency because they condemned intoxicating wine and yet allowed the use of grapes, it is difficult to estimate the capacity for blundering in lesser minds upon the kindred question of the wine used by the independent sects of antiquity; some of whom may have been very wrong in respect to articles of faith, and very right in points of discipline and practice.
Do you agree with the portrayal that pressing fresh grapes or raisins into water to make grape juice is what he calls "the long established practice" of the Malabar, Coptic, and Ethiopian churches?

One of the missionaries, on being asked what kind of wine the Coptic Church and the societies connected with his mission used as a sacramental wine, replied that they use a wine made by soaking raisins in water for twelve or more hours, and then pressing them... "when the Copts were told that Western Christians use shop wine, as they call fermented wine, for a communion wine, they were horrified at the idea"...

Intoxicants, Prohibition, and Our New Church Periodicals in 1884-5
, By John Ellis
I can understand a possibility that Islam affected the Coptic Church and led to some individual monasteries and parishes using grape juice instead of wine. But this does not explain why the Ethiopian and Indian OO Churches would have the same practice - if in fact that is true. And there could also be a question of why those OO churches use grape juice while Greek, Jerusalemite and Syrian Churches that also lived for centuries under Islamic rulers did not develop the same custom.


See however:

The Coptic, Abyssinian, Nestorian, and Armenian churches use only fermented wine, though there is evidence that in the Abyssinian Church the juice of raisins, washed Saturday night by monks and pressed Sunday morning, is sometimes given bv the priests to the communicants, before fermentation has begun or proceeded very far.
http://www.westervillelibrary.org/antisaloon-wine/
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
NJ
Unlike what “Deacon William A. Hanna PhD” of Missouri wrote, “abirka” is fermented wine.  It’s similar in taste to the Jewish Manischewitz. 
 

Alpha60

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
5,793
Reaction score
8
Points
0
Location
Alphaville Zone Sud
Note that several of the Protestant / evangelical churches that are trying to corrupt the Coptic church are anti-alcohol and some, such as the SBC and UMC, were among the main architects of the Prohibition.  It is their doctrine, which I heard in my youth, tht the "new wine" was grapce juice.

Even then, its wrong, because therenis a huge gap between unfermented must which the RCC uses for alcoholics, and pasteurized Welch's.

And if we truly believe the wine become the blood of our Lord, and the bread his body, concerns about alcoholism or celiac disease can be dismissed on that basis.  If the bread or wine actually affects you as bread or wine in a harmful biochemical way, as opposed to the spiritual harm cited in 1 Corinthians 11:27-34, I propose the Eucharist didn't happen; the sacrifice was not properly or legitimately performed and the mystery non-legitimate.
 

Alpha60

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
5,793
Reaction score
8
Points
0
Location
Alphaville Zone Sud
minasoliman said:
A blast from the past:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8265.0.html

And from another thread, just a historical proof that one of the differences between a Copt and a Muslim was the use of wine even among clergy:

minasoliman said:
It's hard to say whether there's an ascetic or an Islamic influence on the abstinence of alcoholic drinks (it could be a combination of both), but it's been known as late at the 10th Century that one of the major differences between a Copt and a Muslim was wine:

[In] The Book of the History of the Patriarchs [w]e find an amusing account about Severus of Ashmunin, which is often quoted, of one of his disputations with the Muslim Chief Justice (qadi al-qudat), who asked Severus (Sawirus) whether a passing dog was Muslim or Christian. To avoid giving an incriminating answer, Severus replied, "Ask him." The judge said, "The dog does not talk." It was Friday, a fast day for Copts, so Severus said that fasting Copts on that day eat no meat, and break the fast by sipping wine. he suggested offering the dog meat and wine, so that if he ate the meat, he was a Muslim, and if he drank the wine, he must be a Christian. In this manner he gave an answer that the Chief Justice could not refute. (Note 3: A.S. Atiya, Yassa `Abd al-Masih and O.H.E. Burmester History of the Patriarchs of the Egyptian Church known as the History of the Holy Church , Vol II part II (Cairo 1948), 92-93 (text), 138 (translation).)
"Eating and Drinking in Egypt After the Arabic Conquest" by Dr. Youhanna N. Youssef in Saint Shenouda Coptic Quarterly 1.1 (2004) 17-24.

This seems to confirm at least in the past that wine was not considered sinful, but in fact a Coptic cultural norm.  I would say however, I am personally worried by some Coptic clergy who can go as far as say that the wine in the wedding of Cana was not wine, but grape juice with no alcoholic content, only to further an agenda of abstinence not as recommended, but rather spiritual necessary.

I have nothing wrong with HG Bishop Youssef in his tone that abstinence is a recommendation, but sometimes some priests can take recommendations and change them into dogma, which is what I personally don't like.

I will say this.  In my opinion, alcohol should be rarely used, as well as smoking (very rarely since we do not know yet how that can affect each individual person, but collectively for the most part it does more harm than help), as well as fast food.  These are to be taken once in a blue moon so to speak, and not regularly.  Of course, it would be nice if one was to abstain, but I cannot guilt trip someone into having one drink as many priests have suggested to me.
This Mina, is the kind of epic, information-dense post that makes me love OCNet; thank you for this beautiful edification.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
rakovsky said:
I can understand a possibility that Islam affected the Coptic Church and led to some individual monasteries and parishes using grape juice instead of wine. But this does not explain why the Ethiopian and Indian OO Churches would have the same practice - if in fact that is true.
1.  Nothing in my post suggested that Indians use "grape juice" for the Eucharist; I feel that your often irresponsible choice of words requires I make this clarification explicitly.  Even the allowance for the juice of soaked raisins is a) not a matter of allowing "grape juice" and b) not in preference to wine or to the exclusion of wine.  It was and is an allowance in light of certain contingencies.  Speaking of those...

2.  You are forgetting that not all regions of the world are equally conducive to the growing of vineyards and the making of wine. 
 

Alpha60

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
5,793
Reaction score
8
Points
0
Location
Alphaville Zone Sud
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
I can understand a possibility that Islam affected the Coptic Church and led to some individual monasteries and parishes using grape juice instead of wine. But this does not explain why the Ethiopian and Indian OO Churches would have the same practice - if in fact that is true.
1.  Nothing in my post suggested that Indians use "grape juice" for the Eucharist; I feel that your often irresponsible choice of words requires I make this clarification explicitly.  Even the allowance for the juice of soaked raisins is a) not a matter of allowing "grape juice" and b) not in preference to wine or to the exclusion of wine.  It was and is an allowance in light of certain contingencies.  Speaking of those...

2.  You are forgetting that not all regions of the world are equally conducive to the growing of vineyards and the making of wine.
I've heard the Assyrian Church of the East at times, due to Turkocratia + the unsuitability of Iraq as a winemaking region, at times was basically using water with a tiny droplet of wine during the Eucharist, and it was hinted at in the 1915 history written at the same time as the Sayfo against Syriacs and Assyrians that at times the shortage was so acute that the Assyrians were pouring water into old wine bottles to soak up the sediment.

The Indian raisin technique strikes me as a good emergency solution.  You know how my mind works, Mor, so it will not surprise you to learn that I did at one time wonder what would happen if a ship carrying three Orthodox bishops and a male ane female choir of unmarried persons wrecked on a lush, fully inhabitable desert island, replete with tropical fruit but devoid of wheat or grapes.  Sort of like an ecclesiastical take on Lost or Blue Lagoon.  Fortunately I have since gained some custody of the thoughts to at least avoid reaching those depths of silly speculation into the boundless world of the highly improbable, even though I have obviously not entirely rid myself of the vice.

I think St. Augustine warned there is a special place in Hell reserved for people asking those kinds of questions, so this is a passion I am battling with with some intensity.  ;)
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Alpha60 said:
You know how my mind works, Mor, so it will not surprise you to learn that I did at one time wonder what would happen if a ship carrying three Orthodox bishops and a male ane female choir of unmarried persons wrecked on a lush, fully inhabitable desert island, replete with tropical fruit but devoid of wheat or grapes.  Sort of like an ecclesiastical take on Lost or Blue Lagoon.  Fortunately I have since gained some custody of the thoughts to at least avoid reaching those depths of silly speculation into the boundless world of the highly improbable, even though I have obviously not entirely rid myself of the vice.
Well, you know how my mind works, so it will not surprise you to learn that, not having wheat or grapes, there'd be no point in trying to celebrate the Eucharist, so I'd move on to checking out the choir girls. 
 

Alpha60

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
5,793
Reaction score
8
Points
0
Location
Alphaville Zone Sud
rakovsky said:
Maybe someone who has visited many Coptic monasteries can tell us how common it is to use non-alcoholic grape juice for the wine?

In Rituals, Signs, and Symbols: Coptic (Egyptian) Christian Traditions, Deacon William A. Hanna, Ph.D. of St. Mary & St. Abraam  Coptic Orthodox Church writes:
Wine and water are brought in glass vessels. Wine ('abarka') is unfermented grape juice prepared and bottled special for church services. The size of the glass has to match the size of the cup used in the service (no leftovers). After it is blessed it is poured into the cup and washed with water which is also poured into the cup.

We use special wine for the service (abarkah) which is unfermented bottled grape juice. The same that our brothers the Jews use for the cup of offering.
http://www.stmary-church.com/rituals2.txt

Does that sound like an accurate description?

In The Society of Coptic Church Studies' Coptic Church Review: Volume 17, Numbers 1 & 2 Spring/Summer 1996, Fr. John Watson writes:
In general experience, Oriental Orthodox hierarchs customarily identify their individual national cultures with the Christian Gospel... One Oriental Orthodox bishop in Australia recently devoted a retreat address to a comparison between Christian teetotal practice in his church and in Islam: Jesus used unfermented grape-juice for the Last Supper and total abstinence was a point of dogma! Such stories abound in the Oriental Orthodox tradition. Although most of the participating churches would be unable to distinguish between Gospel and Culture, some did understand the problem and they were successful in inserting these affirmations into the [1965 Addis Ababa] Conference proceedings.
https://www.scribd.com/document/111707387/CCR-Pope-Kyrillos-Edition

Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, St George & St Rueiss Church, Toronto Canada

Do you think that this miracle [at Cana in the gospels] means that drinking wine or alcohol is OK?
The answer is NO. Our Master and Lord Jesus changed the water into a “new wine” which was called by the bridegroom “the good wine.” It was only a natural grape Juice that tasted beautifully and much better than the previous wine that they were drinking.
http://stmarkcharlotte.org/Sunday_School/Canadian_curriculum/Grade_Eight.pdf

See also:
Alcohol and the Coptic Orthodox Church
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=29193.0

The old thread points to this article:
Fr Antonios Kaldas
What’s Wrong With Alcohol?

The Coptic Orthodox Church strongly recommends that alcohol not be a part of its member’s lives, apart from Holy Communion of course. ... On a statistical level, while I have no actual figures, I can say with some confidence that within our Coptic community the incidence of alcoholism is vanishingly small. ... I have no doubt that this excellent health outcome is due to the Church’s policy against even social drinking.

– At the wedding of Cana of Galillee, Jesus changed the water into oinos. This is the Greek word used in the Gospel of John. It actually denotes the juice of the grape in general and was most likely very low on alcohol content. [Quote follows from a Reformed Protestant claiming Biblical wine was just grape juice]

– Doubtless, the Muslim society in which the Church has developed for fourteen centuries has contributed to this no alcohol policy, but what difference does that make? ... We as a Coptic community already have this policy – who cares where it came from?
http://www.frantonios.org.au/2010/07/07/whats-wrong-with-alcohol/

This is probably from a Reformed Protestant writer, since Reformed Protestants like to propose that grape juice was used in the Last Supper:
According to the book 'WINE IN THE BIBLE: A BIBLICAL STUDY ON THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES' written by the professor of theology and church history,  Samuele Bacchiocchi, Chapter 5: 'JESUS AND WINE' states with historical records and proves that Jesus and the apostles used unfermented non alcoholic grape juice ...
- The third Council of Braga (A.D. 675), which reports that Cyprian (died 258 A.D.) condemned those who "used no other wine but what they pressed out of the cluster of grapes that were then presented at the Lord’s table."
- Instructions in this regard had already been given three centuries before by Pope Julius I (A. D. 337) in a decree which says: "If necessary let the cluster be pressed into the cup and water mingled with it."
- The Christians of St. Thomas in India, the Coptic monasteries in Egypt, and the Christians of St. John in Persia, all of which celebrated the Lord’s Supper with unfermented wine made either with fresh or dried grapes.
http://fbinvestigations.blogspot.com/2014/08/holy-mass-and-wine-issue.html
I think that the part in bold actually implies that the Eucharistic liquid should not be just fresh grapes freshly crushed into a cup with water. Cyprian of Carthage the church father seems to condemn just using so called "wine" freshly pressed from fresh grapes sitting right then and there on the communion table. Cyprian seems to demand that Christians use other wine than that, namely wine already made from grapes different than those sitting right there on the table.

During the heydey of the Temperance Movement, Wilbur Fisk Crafts in his book "World Book of Temperance: Temperance Lessons, Biblical, Historical, Scientific" pointed to the practices of Malabar Christians, Copts, Ethiopians, and Manicheans as proof that using non-alcoholic grape juice was the ancient and "correct" Christian practice, and that Augustine was wrong to reject using just grape juice for communion:
The Christians of St Thomas who were found on the coast of Malabar and claimed to have derived the gospel from St Thomas the Apostle celebrated the Lord's Supper in the juice expressed from raisins softened one night in water, says Odoard Barbosa. 'They use in their sacrifices wine prepared from dried grapes', states Osorius. ... Tischendorf, in his narrative of visits to the Coptic monasteries of Egypt, remarks that at the Eucharist the priest took the thick juice of the grape from a glass with a spoon; amd Dr Gobat, the Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem, in his Abyssianian (Ethiopian) Journal, records the reception of 'some bottles of grape wine. The wine is the juice of dried grapes with water.'

It is morally certain that the eucharistical notices of some of the ancient Christian sects, who are represented as denouncing wine and rejecting it from the Lord's Supper, are colored and perverted statements pointing simply to a refusal to use fermented wine in the sacrament. When so able and acute a theologian as St. Augustine charges his old associates the Manicheans, with inconsistency because they condemned intoxicating wine and yet allowed the use of grapes, it is difficult to estimate the capacity for blundering in lesser minds upon the kindred question of the wine used by the independent sects of antiquity; some of whom may have been very wrong in respect to articles of faith, and very right in points of discipline and practice.
Do you agree with the portrayal that pressing fresh grapes or raisins into water to make grape juice is what he calls "the long established practice" of the Malabar, Coptic, and Ethiopian churches?

One of the missionaries, on being asked what kind of wine the Coptic Church and the societies connected with his mission used as a sacramental wine, replied that they use a wine made by soaking raisins in water for twelve or more hours, and then pressing them... "when the Copts were told that Western Christians use shop wine, as they call fermented wine, for a communion wine, they were horrified at the idea"...

Intoxicants, Prohibition, and Our New Church Periodicals in 1884-5
, By John Ellis
I can understand a possibility that Islam affected the Coptic Church and led to some individual monasteries and parishes using grape juice instead of wine. But this does not explain why the Ethiopian and Indian OO Churches would have the same practice - if in fact that is true. And there could also be a question of why those OO churches use grape juice while Greek, Jerusalemite and Syrian Churches that also lived for centuries under Islamic rulers did not develop the same custom.


See however:

The Coptic, Abyssinian, Nestorian, and Armenian churches use only fermented wine, though there is evidence that in the Abyssinian Church the juice of raisins, washed Saturday night by monks and pressed Sunday morning, is sometimes given bv the priests to the communicants, before fermentation has begun or proceeded very far.
http://www.westervillelibrary.org/antisaloon-wine/
Congratulations for bringing Mani into this discussion.  Now perhaps you might kindly remove him forthwith, as he has nothing to do with Oriental Orthodoxy, and the articles you are quoting are 19th century half-truths written by Protestant and Catholic Victorian inquirers into the "quaint customs and charming traditions of the native adherents of a peculiar religion that claims to be Christian, stained though it is by clear Paganism."

The book Creeds of Christendom, which is not the source of that particular quote, is particularly condescending to Assyrians and OOs, describing our churches as inherently heretical and nothing more than particularly fertile mission fields for Protestant proselytization.
 

Alpha60

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
5,793
Reaction score
8
Points
0
Location
Alphaville Zone Sud
Mor Ephrem said:
Alpha60 said:
You know how my mind works, Mor, so it will not surprise you to learn that I did at one time wonder what would happen if a ship carrying three Orthodox bishops and a male ane female choir of unmarried persons wrecked on a lush, fully inhabitable desert island, replete with tropical fruit but devoid of wheat or grapes.  Sort of like an ecclesiastical take on Lost or Blue Lagoon.  Fortunately I have since gained some custody of the thoughts to at least avoid reaching those depths of silly speculation into the boundless world of the highly improbable, even though I have obviously not entirely rid myself of the vice.
Well, you know how my mind works, so it will not surprise you to learn that, not having wheat or grapes, there'd be no point in trying to celebrate the Eucharist, so I'd move on to checking out the choir girls.
Indeed.  Alas, I would feel sorry for the bishops.  With my luck, I would be one of them, or else a tonsured monk, and thus completely prevented from participating in the more enjoyable aspects of the imperative to be fruitful and multiply in the new Eden on which we had inadvertantly arrived.

I do love you Mor, Mor than you can know, but as a friend and brother obviously, and not in the manner of the loving you would be preparing for the female survivors of our hypothetical shipwreck.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Alpha60 said:
I do love you Mor, Mor than you can know, but as a friend and brother obviously, and not in the manner of the loving you would be preparing for the female survivors of our hypothetical shipwreck.
I'm glad you know your limits and my lack thereof. 
 

Alpha60

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
5,793
Reaction score
8
Points
0
Location
Alphaville Zone Sud
Mor Ephrem said:
Alpha60 said:
I do love you Mor, Mor than you can know, but as a friend and brother obviously, and not in the manner of the loving you would be preparing for the female survivors of our hypothetical shipwreck.
I'm glad you know your limits and my lack thereof.
Indeed.  Well, if anyone deserves to be marooned on a desert aisle with a boatload of beautiful young maidens today, it would be you.
 

rakovsky

Toumarches
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
USA
Website
rakovskii.livejournal.com
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
I can understand a possibility that Islam affected the Coptic Church and led to some individual monasteries and parishes using grape juice instead of wine. But this does not explain why the Ethiopian and Indian OO Churches would have the same practice - if in fact that is true.
1.  Nothing in my post suggested that Indians use "grape juice" for the Eucharist; I feel that your often irresponsible choice of words requires I make this clarification explicitly.  Even the allowance for the juice of soaked raisins is a) not a matter of allowing "grape juice" and b) not in preference to wine or to the exclusion of wine.  It was and is an allowance in light of certain contingencies.  Speaking of those...

2.  You are forgetting that not all regions of the world are equally conducive to the growing of vineyards and the making of wine.
Can you explain more what you meant when you wrote:
Mor Ephrem said:
I don't know how widespread it is in the Indian Church, but there is a tradition of soaking raisins overnight and then using their juice as communion wine.  When I was trained, it was described as an alternative when wine was not available (which was useful knowledge in the one emergency situation in which I had to prepare this "wine"), but I also came to learn that it is used in some places as the default option. 
Were you saying that where you were taught it is used as alternative when wine is unavailable (eg. in an emergency), but in other places (eg. places where wine is available), it is the normal, default choice?
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
rakovsky said:
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
I can understand a possibility that Islam affected the Coptic Church and led to some individual monasteries and parishes using grape juice instead of wine. But this does not explain why the Ethiopian and Indian OO Churches would have the same practice - if in fact that is true.
1.  Nothing in my post suggested that Indians use "grape juice" for the Eucharist; I feel that your often irresponsible choice of words requires I make this clarification explicitly.  Even the allowance for the juice of soaked raisins is a) not a matter of allowing "grape juice" and b) not in preference to wine or to the exclusion of wine.  It was and is an allowance in light of certain contingencies.  Speaking of those...

2.  You are forgetting that not all regions of the world are equally conducive to the growing of vineyards and the making of wine.
Can you explain more what you meant when you wrote:
Mor Ephrem said:
I don't know how widespread it is in the Indian Church, but there is a tradition of soaking raisins overnight and then using their juice as communion wine.  When I was trained, it was described as an alternative when wine was not available (which was useful knowledge in the one emergency situation in which I had to prepare this "wine"), but I also came to learn that it is used in some places as the default option. 
Were you saying that where you were taught it is used as alternative when wine is unavailable (eg. in an emergency), but in other places (eg. places where wine is available), it is the normal, default choice?
I didn't mention where I was taught. 

What I meant was that raisins are a contingency plan, something used in place of wine when wine is not available.  In some places, it became the default norm because of the lack of availability of anything else over long periods of time.  IOW, the adopted practice just never changed.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
Alpha60 said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Alpha60 said:
I do love you Mor, Mor than you can know, but as a friend and brother obviously, and not in the manner of the loving you would be preparing for the female survivors of our hypothetical shipwreck.
I'm glad you know your limits and my lack thereof.
Indeed.  Well, if anyone deserves to be marooned on a desert aisle with a boatload of beautiful young maidens today, it would be you.
You are not far from the kingdom.
 

Aram

High Elder
Joined
Jun 29, 2011
Messages
609
Reaction score
2
Points
0
I had a long talk with a priest about this once, particularly in the aspect that clergy alcoholism is a significant issue, and they're required to consume what amounts to a half, or even a full glass of wine as a normal part of the preparation, and may not say a word about it. He'd never even thought about it as a potential issue. It had never crossed his mind--which struck me as a bit of a problem in itself, given that clergymen are more likely than not to minister to people with addictions. I've even heard older priests talk about winos who would come to services specifically for communion wine (people with addictions, after all, are after their drug, trace amount or not, wherever they can get it). This isn't something to take lightly, though I'm not sure what the solution might be.
 

augustin717

Taxiarches
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
6,850
Reaction score
0
Points
0
And in the village of  Vasoaia , close to home, the priest was wont to substitute the wine with palinka .
 

peterfarrington

Protokentarchos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 28, 2003
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
47
Points
48
Age
57
Location
Maidstone, Kent, England
Website
www.stgeorgeministry.com
It is a real issue and not a hypothetical one. Non-Alcoholic wine is NOT grape juice. It is fermented wine from which most of the alcohol has been removed. It will contain < 0.5% alcohol.

I am concerned that:

i. Is this canonically acceptable, since it is the fermented juice of the grape, and does contain some alcohol.

ii. The teaching that the Church does not and has never used alcoholic wine is very wrong, to the point it is a lie, and when youth are taught this they are being deceived.

iii. The history of the use of wine, spirits and beer in Egypt until recent times is being erased, and a young community, in this matter and others, lose a grasp of historical reality and accept only what they have been told and assume it is Apostolic.
 

peterfarrington

Protokentarchos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 28, 2003
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
47
Points
48
Age
57
Location
Maidstone, Kent, England
Website
www.stgeorgeministry.com
This is an interesting and detailed article about wine making in Egypt and the effects of periods of prohibition...

I would say that in the past Christians had to use what they could, but the new period of Protestant inspired teetotalism is something else.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=A4YeDQAAQBAJ&lpg=PA59&dq=wine%20coptic&pg=PA56#v=onepage&q=wine%20coptic&f=false
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
NJ
Father Peter said:
It is a real issue and not a hypothetical one. Non-Alcoholic wine is NOT grape juice. It is fermented wine from which most of the alcohol has been removed. It will contain < 0.5% alcohol.

I am concerned that:

i. Is this canonically acceptable, since it is the fermented juice of the grape, and does contain some alcohol.

ii. The teaching that the Church does not and has never used alcoholic wine is very wrong, to the point it is a lie, and when youth are taught this they are being deceived.

iii. The history of the use of wine, spirits and beer in Egypt until recent times is being erased, and a young community, in this matter and others, lose a grasp of historical reality and accept only what they have been told and assume it is Apostolic.
I’ve had these similar concerns for years.  But your first question is interesting and it makes me wonder also.  At an initial reaction one could say by concession it could be acceptable for particular reasons in a community, like the concerns of recovering alcoholics.  But I would like to know the answer to that as well.
 

rakovsky

Toumarches
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
USA
Website
rakovskii.livejournal.com
Father Peter said:
It is a real issue and not a hypothetical one. Non-Alcoholic wine is NOT grape juice. It is fermented wine from which most of the alcohol has been removed. It will contain < 0.5% alcohol.

I am concerned that:

i. Is this canonically acceptable, since it is the fermented juice of the grape, and does contain some alcohol.
I don't think so, since EOs and OOs share the same canons before c. 451 and they would say "wine". And the intended meaning there would be fermented wine with its alcohol content intact as Cyprian and Augustine were saying. To take away the alcohol reminds me of the modern innovative practice of Reformed Protestantism to use grape juice due to the Temperance Movement.

But then, the canons in the Christianized Roman/Byzantine world and their Church fathers like Augustine and Cyprian could be saying one thing, and then there could be a different practice in some other far away part of Christendom dating to before Constantine's time. We can see from those Church fathers' writings that it was an issue even in their time. John the Baptist was said not to have drunken wine, and I somewhat remember reading about 1st century sects that didn't. If India, Persia, Ethiopia and Egypt have had a common practice of using fresh grape juice, I can understand an explanation that Egypt and Persia didn't have real wine available due to the climate or they were influenced by Islam. But then, the climate hasn't stopped northern Russian churches from using wine, nor has Islam changed the practice in Greece, Palestine or Syria, AFAIK.
 

Mor Ephrem

Hypatos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
36,281
Reaction score
163
Points
63
Age
39
Location
New York!
Website
www.orthodoxchristianity.net
rakovsky said:
If India, Persia, Ethiopia and Egypt have had a common practice of using fresh grape juice
Here we go again.  No one is talking about "fresh grape juice" except you, and we know why you are doing it.  Go away.
 

rakovsky

Toumarches
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
12,030
Reaction score
13
Points
38
Location
USA
Website
rakovskii.livejournal.com
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
If India, Persia, Ethiopia and Egypt have had a common practice of using fresh grape juice
Here we go again.  No one is talking about "fresh grape juice" except you, and we know why you are doing it.  Go away.
Dear Mor,

In Reply #14, the writer talked about "The Christians of St Thomas who were found on the coast of Malabar". As I understand it, that would include Malankaran Christians. He said that they were "subsidiary evidence" of non-alcoholic Eucharist. When he writes that it was just the liquid "expressed from raisins softened one night in water", it doesn't mean "fresh" grape juice. By saying "fresh grape juice" I just meant any kind of unfermented juice.

Maybe the Temperance book writers have provided the wrong information about the praxis in these churches, and the OOs here like yourself can refute them based on their experience traveling to OO churches in the native countries. That is something great about this board. We can get lots of firsthand insights that can prove correct information and overturn misconceptions.

The reason I am talking about unfermented grape juice being used is because I think it's important to discuss what different practices there are in our churches, Mor. Imagine if someone wrote in that Alaskan and northern Russian churches didn't use alcoholic wine and wanted to know why. That would be new information worth discussing. Using wine vs. non-alcoholic juice is a major difference in communion between EO and Reformed Protestant churches too, and I talked alot about whether alcohol should be allowed with Reformed Protestant relatives.  Learning the RC, EO, and OO churches practice regarding alcohol is relevant to proving what the earliest practice is. It is new information on an important topic interesting to me.

One of the major points of Orthodoxy is learning and discussing what the earliest practice is in Christendom. This is an important point discussed by Augustine and Cyprian, and so it is important that we have this discussion.

Let me give you other examples. I think someone (you?) wrote that the Malankaran churches do not use ikons as much as the EO churches because they did not have the controversy of Iconodules vs. Iconoclasts. That is also important information. It's important for us to see what the early practice is. If the Malankaran church is continuing an early practice that uses less ikons, it's important.

How about iconostases? They are not in the Malankaran church either, AFAIK. We could have a thread asking why. We can ask: How early are ikonostases vs. not having ikonostases, and investigate the traditions passed down in different churches.
 

peterfarrington

Protokentarchos
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 28, 2003
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
47
Points
48
Age
57
Location
Maidstone, Kent, England
Website
www.stgeorgeministry.com
There is a tradition of raisins being left to ferment in a vessel in the warm. Sometimes this was necessary. The Muslims went through periods when all the vineyards were dug up, and even grapes themselves were banned as imports. Raisins could be soaked in water and then left to ferment a little.

I think that non-alcoholic wine is still wine, in that it has fully fermented, and then had much of the alcohol removed by a process. It is not grape juice. It still contains alcohol.

I would prefer the usual wines I have used for communion, and continue to use when I am responsible for such things. But the nin-alcoholic wine - and I need to check what was in the cupboard! - still contains alcohol.

If we are going to become very nit-picky, and I am a Traditionalist but not a Pseudo-Traditionalist, then we would have to say that the flour we use for the prosphora is not the same as that used by the ancients, and had been modified in a great many ways and blended with grasses, and processed by chemicals.

It seems to me that Christ still descends and receives our offerings, if we are not acting in pride or rebellion etc.

I would not be happy using grape juice, but if I discovered that was the case after a Liturgy then I do not think I would doubt that it had become the Blood of our Lord, though I would be seeking the instruction and advice of the bishop and being obedient to it.
 

Iconodule

Hoplitarches
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
16,486
Reaction score
9
Points
38
Age
38
Location
PA, USA
Something that is not always understood in these discussions is that fresh grape juice ferments pretty quickly, even without yeast being added. Unless it is frozen or pasteurized, or some preservative is added, it's going to be alcoholic in a couple days.
 
Top