This story orginally ran in the Onion Dome on November 29, 2002
SASKATOON, Canada – In a move that still has him kicking himself, non-vegetarian Orthodox believer Tom (“The Apostle Thomas”) Wilberforce accidentally ate nothing but vegetables on a fish/wine/oil day this past week.
“Man, I could have had fish and I blew it,” lamented Wilberforce. “And I didn’t even have a glass of wine to the glory of God or anything.”
Orthodox piety sets aside over 200 days a year for some sort of partial fasting; usually this means abstention from red meat, poultry, bony fish, dairy products, eggs, alcohol, and oil (all oil for the Greeks and Arabs; olive oil for the Slavs). However, on certain days the regimen is relaxed, and additional foods are allowed.
“And I didn’t realize it! Jeez, what a numbskull I am!” said Wilberforce. “I just had steamed veggies and some white rice. And I could have had salmon! Or cod! Or, or, or halibut!”
“This is a mistake many new Orthodox fasters make,” opined Father Grigory (“of Nyssa”) Sanders, Wilberforce’s confessor and parish priest. “You’ve got to keep your eye on the calendar! But Tom can clear it up at his next confession.”
“Is outrage!” interjected Father Vasiliy Vasileivich of the Church Overseas of Russian Orthodox Christians (COROC). “Was it fancy printed calendars in Nineteenth Century Russia? No, it was not. We memorized entire Typikon and never failed to eat fish on fish/wine/oil day. Caviar too.”
At this point Father Vasiliy started singing “Those were those days my friend,” and our intrepid Onion Dome reporter turned to—
“Here we see an interesting phenomenon in the history of the church,” interrupted Yeraslav Penguin, professor of historical liturgics at St. Toucan’s Orthodox Seminary and Roadside Icon Shoppe. “As the faith spread out from the Mediterranean basin, and was translated—”
“Please to be turning him off!” interrupted Father Vasiliy. “Was it so-dry-as-dust-is-dry seminary professors in Nineteenth Century Russia? Nu, da, okay, to be being honest, it was. But even then we were not enjoying it!”
—turned to Wilberforce’s fiancée, Debi (“The Righteous Deborah”) Ingersoll, who appeared badly shaken by the incident.
“This is horrible! This could ruin everything! What if, after we’re married, he’s in charge of cooking, and serves a vegan meal on a fish/wine/oil day? I’m not thinking about myself, mind you, but about our children.”
“Did you eat fish on Monday?” asked our intrepid Onion Dome reporter.
“That’s not important,” countered Ingersoll.
“I guess I will see you both at confession this week,” said Father Grigory.
Copyright © 2002–2012 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.