See also:Church, the
See also:period of
See also:fasting preparatory to the festival of
See also:Easter . As this fast falls in the early
See also:part of the
See also:year, it became confused with the
See also:season, and gradually the word
See also:Lent, which originally meant
See also:spring, was confined to this use . The Latin name for the fast, Quadragesima (whence Ital. quaresima, Span. cuaresma and Fr. care^me), and its Gr.
See also:equivalent Ts apaKOVri1 (now superseded by the
See also:term .rl
See also:min-eta " the fast "), are derived from the
See also:Sunday which was the fortieth
See also:day before Easter, as Quinquagesima and Sexagesima are the fiftieth and sixtieth, Quadragesima being until the 7th century the caput jejunii or first day of the fast . The length of this fast and the rigour with which it has been observed have varied greatly at different times and in different countries (see FASTING) . In the
See also:time of
See also:Irenaeus the fast before Easter was very
See also:short, but very severe; thus some
See also:ate nothing for
See also:hours between the afternoon of
See also:Friday and the
See also:morning of Easter . This was the only authoritatively prescribed fast known to
See also:Tertullian (De jejunio, 2, 13, 14; De or otiose, r8) . In Alexandria about the
See also:middle of the 3rd century it was already ' M von Rohr, Zeitschr.
See also:fair Sinnesphysiologie (1907), xli . 408-429 . FE C EA D customary to fast during
See also:Holy Week; and earlier still the days of abstinence by a series of proclamations and statutes . Montanists boasted that they observed a two
See also:weeks' fast instead of one . Of the Lenten fast or Quadragesima, the first mention is in the fifth
See also:canon of the council of Nicaea (325), and from this time it is frequently referred to, but chiefly as a season of preparation for
See also:baptism, of absolution of penitents or of retreat and recollection . In this season fasting played a part, but it was not universally nor rigorously enforced .
AtRome, for instance, the whole period of fasting was but three weeks, according to the historian
See also:Socrates (Hist. eccl. v . 22), these three weeks, in Mgr . Duchesne's opinion, being not continuous but, following the
See also:custom, broken by intervals . Gradually, however, the fast as observed in East and West became more rigorously defined . In the East, where after the example of the Church of
See also:Antioch the Quadragesima fast had been kept distinct from that of Holy Week, the whole fast came to last for seven weeks, both Saturdays and Sundays (except Holy Saturday) being, however, excluded . In Rome and Alexandria, and even in Jerusalem, Holy Week was included in Lent and the whole fast lasted but six weeks, Saturdays, however, not being exempt . Both at Rome and Constantinople, therefore, the actual fast was but
See also:thirty-six days . Some Churches still continued the three weeks' fast, but by the middle of the 5th century most of these divergences had ceased and the usages of Antioch-Constantinople and Rome-Alexandria had become stereotyped in their respective
See also:spheres of influence . The thirty-six days, as forming a tenth part of the year and therefore a perfect number, at first found a wide acceptance (so Cassianus,
See also:Coll. xxi . 30); but the inconsistency of this period with the name Quadragesima, and with the forty days' fast of Christ, came to be noted, and early in the 7th century four days were added, by what
See also:pope is unknown, Lent in the West beginning henceforth on Ash Wednesday (q.v.) . About the same time the cycle of
See also:paschal solemnities was extended to the ninth week before Easter by the institution of stational masses for Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays . At Constantinople, too, three - Sundays were added and associated with the Easter festival in the same way as the Sundays in Lent proper .
These three Sundays were added in theGreek Church also, and the
See also:present custom of keeping an eight weeks' fast (i.e. exactly 8X5 days), now universal in the Eastern Church, originated in the 7th century . The Greek Lent begins on the
See also:Monday of Sexagesima, with a week of preparatory fasting; known as Tupod)ayla, or the "
See also:butter-week "; the actual fast, however, starts on the Monday of Quinquagesima (Estomihi), this week being known as " the first week of the fast " (E(3Sogas rwv vrlvrea7w) . The period of Lent is still described as " the six weeks of the fast " (E% i3&opA&c TWV V1]UTEIWV), Holy Week (i7 &
See also:Ida Kai geyakrl 05ogas) not being reckoned in . The Lenten fast was retained at the Reformation in some of the reformed Churches, and is still observed in the
See also:Anglican and Lutheran communions . In England a Lenten fast was first ordered to be observed by Earconberht,
See also:king of Kent (64o-664) . In the middle ages,
See also:meat, eggs and milk were forbidden in Lent not only by ecclesiastical but by
See also:law; and this
See also:rule was enforced until the reign of
See also:William III . The chief Lenten
See also:food from the earliest days was
See also:fish, and entries in the royal
See also:household accounts of
See also:Edward III. show the amount of fish supplied to the king . Herring-pies were a
See also:great delicacy . Charters granted to seaports often stipulated that the
See also:town should send so many
See also:herrings or other fish to the king annually during Lent . How severely strict
See also:medieval abstinence was may be gauged from the fact that armies and garrisons were sometimes, in default of dispensations, as in the case of the
See also:siege of
See also:Orleans in 1429, reduced to
See also:starvation for want of Lenten food, though in full possession of meat and other supplies . The
See also:battle of the Herrings (
See also:February 1429) was fought in
See also:order to cover the
See also:march of a
See also:convoy of Lenten food to the
See also:English army besieging Orleans . Dispensations from fasting were, however, given in case of illness .
During the religious confusion of the Reformation, the practice of fasting was generally relaxed and it was found necessary to reassert the
See also:obligation of keeping Lent and the other periods and In these, however, the religious was avowedly subordinate to a
See also:motive, viz. to prevent the ruin of the
See also:fisheries, which were the great nursery of English
See also:seamen . Thus the statute of 2 and 3 Edward VI., cap . 9 (1549), while inculcating that " due and godly abstinence from flesh is a means to virtue," adds that by the eating of fish much flesh is saved to the
See also:country," and that thereby, too, the fishing
See also:trade is encouraged . The statute, however, would not seem to have had much effect; for in spite of a proclamation of
See also:Elizabeth in 156o imposing a
See also:fine of Do for each offence on butchers slaughtering animals during Lent, in 1563
See also:Sir William
See also:Cecil, in Notes upon an
See also:Act for the Increase of the
See also:Navy, says that " in old times no flesh at all was eaten on fish days; even the king himself could not have license; which was occasion of eating so much fish as now is eaten in flesh upon fish days." The revolt against fish had ruined the fisheries and driven the fishermen to turn pirates, to the great
See also:scandal and detriment of the
See also:realm . Accordingly, in the session of 1562-1563, Cecil forced upon an unwilling parliament " a politic ordinance on fish eating," by which the eating of flesh on fast days was made punishable by a fine of three pounds or three months' imprisonment, one meat dish being allowed on Wednesdays on
See also:condition that three fish dishes were present on the table . The kind of
See also:argument by which Cecil overcame the
See also:temper of the parliament is illustrated by a clause which he had meditated adding to the statute, a draft of which in his own
See also:handwriting is preserved: " Because no
See also:person should misjudge the
See also:intent of the statute," it runs, " which is politicly meant only for the increase of fishermen and mariners, and not for any superstition for choice of meats; whoever shall preach or teach that eating of fish or forbearing of flesh is for the saving of the soul of man, or for the service of
See also:God, shall be punished as the spreader of false
See also:news " (Dom .
See also:MSS., Elizabeth, vol.
See also:xxvii.) . But in spite of statutes and proclamations, of occasional severities and of the patriotic example of Queen Elizabeth, the practice of fasting fell more and more into disuse . Ostentatious avoidance of a fish-
See also:diet became, indeed, one of the outward symbols of militant Protestantism among the Puritans . " I have often noted," writes
See also:Taylor, the
See also:water-poet, in his
See also:Jack a Lent (162o), " that if any superfluous feasting or gormandizing, paunch-cramming
See also:assembly do meet, it is so ordered that it must be either in Lent, upon a Friday, or a fasting: for the meat does not relish well except it be sauced with disobedience and comtempt of authority." The
See also:government continued to struggle against this spirit of
See also:defiance; proclamations of
See also:James I. in 1619 and 1625, and of
See also:Charles I. in 1627 and 1631, again commanded abstinence from all flesh during Lent, and the High Church
See also:movement of the 17th century lent a fresh religious sanction to the official attitude . So
See also:late as 1687, James II. issued a proclamation ordering abstention from meat; but, after the Revolution, the Lenten
See also:laws fell obsolete, though they remained on the statute-
See also:book till repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863 . But during the 18th century, though the strict observance of the Lenten fast was generally abandoned, it was still observed and inculcated by the more
See also:earnest of the
See also:clergy, such as William Law and John
See also:Wesley; and the custom of
See also:women wearing
See also:mourning in Lent, which had been followed by Queen Elizabeth and her
See also:court, survived until well into the loth century .
With the growth of the
See also:Oxford Movement in the English Church, the practice of observing Lent was revived; and, though no rules for fasting are authoritatively laid down, the
See also:duty of abstinence is now very generally inculcated by bishops and clergy, either as a discipline or as an exercise in self-denial . For the more " advanced " Churches, Lenten practice tends to conform to that of the pre-Reformation Church .
See also:Mid-Lent, or the
See also:fourth Sunday in Lent, was long known as Mothering Sunday, in allusion to the custom for girls in service to be allowed a
See also:holiday on that day to visit their parents . They usually took as a present for their
See also:mother a small cake known as a
See also:simnel . In shape it resembled a pork-
See also:pie but in materials it was a
See also:pudding . The word is derived through M .
See also:Lat. simenellus, simella, from Lat. simila, wheat
See also:flour . In
See also:Gloucestershire simnel cakes are still
See also:common; and at Usk,
See also:Monmouth, the custom of mothering is still scrupulously observed .
LENS (from Lat. lens, lentil, on account of the sim...
WILLIAM LENTHALL (1591-1662)
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