Wine during Christianity and Monastic Life

by GreekCellar
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Over 250 references in the Holy Bible attest to the importance of wine and vine before and after Christ as well as in Christian worship. Furthermore, even Jesus himself passed the sacrament of Holy Communion to his pupils during Last Supper with wine and bread.

The relationship between religion and vine and by extension to wine begins according to the Scriptures much earlier. Noah is the first vintner, as he planted a vine after the flood ended and waters subsided. But God too in the Book of Exodus promises to the Israelites he will bless three main staples: bread, wine and water.

The Scriptures reveal the existence of famed vineyards in Palestine’s Hebron, while David mentions in one of his Psalms: “Wine that gladdens man’s heart”,
while elsewhere he writes: “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound”.

In the New Testament the first miracle of Jesus Christ that revealed to many his divine nature was about the transformation of water into wine in the Wedding at Cana.  Blessed in every aspect, wine becomes over the centuries inextricably linked to monastic life all over the world and mostly in the Greek world.

Grape vine cultivation is not just about the production of sacramental wine but also about making wine which serves as a supplement in lack of animal protein in the everyday diet of the monks. Having said that, wine serves as a necessary accompaniment to the two daily rations of food offered to overnight guests (except during fasting).

The lack of pharmaceutical drugs for many centuries in the Monastic State of Mount Athos lead the monks to discovering many of the beneficial effects of wine.

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