Vegetarianism is common among both Jewish and Gnostic forms of Christianity. One of the first Christian communities, the Ebionites, is thought to have been vegetarian. Jewish Christians and Gnostic sects, such as the Cathars, have adhered to vegetarianism throughout history.
The Seventh-day Adventists present a health message that recommends vegetarianism and expects abstinence from pork, shellfish and other foods proscribed as "unclean" in Leviticus. Another denomination with common origin, the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement requires vegetarianism as a test of fellowship, with many of its members being practicing vegans as well.
The Word of Wisdom is a dietary law given to adherents of the Latter Day Saint movement (also known as Mormonism) which says that meat and fowl "are to be used sparingly; And ... that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine." Not given as advice, this commandment is reiterated in the same section, "And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger." (see also animals in the LDS Church).
All Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic monastics abstain from meat year-round, and many abstain from dairy and seafood as well. Laity generally abstain from animal products on Wednesdays (due to a traditional belief that it was a Wednesday on which Judas arranged to betray Jesus Christ) and Fridays (because Jesus was crucified on a Friday), as well as during the four major fasting periods of the year: Great Lent, the Apostles' Fast, the Dormition Fast and the Nativity Fast. This is not for environmental or animal welfare reasons, but for spiritual reasons. Fasting is seen as purification and the regaining of innocence. Through obedience to the Orthodox Church and its ascetic practices, the Orthodox Christian seeks to rid himself or herself of the passions, or the disposition to sin.
Roman Catholic monastic orders such as the Carthusians and Cistercians also follow a strict vegetarian diet, and Catholic laity are encouraged to abstain from meat on Fridays and through the Lenten season leading up to Easter. Carmelites and others following the Rule of St. Albert also maintain a vegetarian diet, although the old and sick are permitted to eat meat according to this rule of life. However, Pope John III declared an anathema against the vegetarians at the First Council of Braga in Portugal. He wanted to outlaw the Manicheans who were living vegetarian.
Some members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) practice vegetarianism or veganism as a reflection of the Peace Testimony, extending non-violence towards animals. Historically, the early vegetarian movement had many Quaker promoters. Some Ranter sects back in the mid-17th century are known to have been vegetarian as well.
In some Christian communities partial fasting, for example during Lent, resembles vegetarianism since meat and dairy products are forbidden for a temporary period. For some groups, seafood is permitted during these periods of fasting. A basic difference to other forms of vegetarianism is that Lent has spiritual connotation, not environmental or animal welfare reasons. Also, abstaining from meat and dairy products during Lent is intended to be temporary, lasting only until the season is over, not a permanent way of life.
A versed cited by many Christians who support vegetarianism is Genesis 1:29-30, which says:
Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
Preaching Christian vegetarianism. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign on Jesus Christ's eating style)(Brief Article)
Jul 17, 1998; Catholic priests, Southern Baptists and even poultry producers are getting an earful from People for the Ethical Treatment of...