Dietary rules for Holy Saturday in the Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents & cumin flavor

According to the “Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents: A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders’ Typika and Testaments”(1),  “In Stoudios [A30], the monks begin the vesper service at the eleventh hour and break their fast when it is concluded with a meal of fruit, bread, and two measures of wine. In [B30], the meal is more substantial, consisting of cheese, fish, and eggs, with three measures of wine. (11) Ath. Rule[26], rejecting the Studite model, declares that the refectory should not be opened after the vesper service, begun in the middle of the twelfth hour, is concluded “because a large meal would weigh heavily on the stomach and on the mind.” Its monks were to be content with the blessed bread, and two servings of wine distributed in the narthex.
In (20) Black Mountain [66], cf. [65] there is a discussion of various canonical authorities for when to end the Easter fast. The less stringent typika of “the great monasteries,” including those discussed above, are preferred in their provision for a small meal of bread (baked ahead of time on Holy Thursday), fruit and a little wine at the end of the third hour of the night.
For its part, (22) Evergetis [10], followed by (27) Kecharitomene [47], simply provides for a “customary collation,” in order to avoid distraction from the vigil.  Mamas [18] and (33) Heliou Bomon provide for opening the refectory for a collation. (30) Phoberos [28], citing the patristic tradition considered but rejected by the author of (20) Black Mountain [66], provides for the collation at the sixth hour of the night (i.e., at midnight). (28) Pantokrator [12], with typical lenience, allows its monks to have a meal of bread, legumes soaked in water, and wine mulled with cumin even before the vesper service. (43) Kasoulon [9], also typically, insists that the fast should last until midnight, at which time its monks were to partake of a cooked meal prepared in the refectory with olive oil and accompanied by wine.
In the thirteenth century, (34) Machairas [72] provides for a collation only, in the narthex, after the dismissal of the liturgy celebrated “around the third or fourth watch of the night.” In the fourteenth century, (58) Menoikeion [8] likewise provides for breaking the fast in the church without a cooked meal after the dismissal of the liturgy.” (2)

Monasteries allowed the consumption of wine mulled with cumin and a beverage named eukraton  that was  flavored with pepper, cumin, anise, and hot water. The typikon of Blemmydes monastery explains that cumin- flavored hot wine is used as  a precaution against flatulence. Since legumes were an important element of monastic diet  cumin seeds were used to reduce flatulence or heaviness of stomach related to their consumption.

Dining room ~ Aghia Kyriaki monastery, Varipetro /Chania- Crete

(1) edited by John Thomas and Angela Constantinides Hero, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. in five volumes as number 35 in the series Dumbarton Oaks Studies.

(2) 9th century

10th century
Athon. rule

11th century
Black Mountain

12th century
Heliou Bomon

13th century

14th century


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