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ABSTINENCE – A penitential practice, consisting in abstaining from meats and meat products. Days of Abstinence in the Orthodox Church are observed every Wednesday and Friday through the year, except the weeks after Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. Certain holydays are days of strict abstinence – no meat or milk products – the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Elevation of the Cross, and other days appointed by the Church.