Xerophagia (Ξηροφάγια, from ξηρός, dry, and φαγεῖν, to eat) were fast-days in the early ages of the Christian Church, on which they ate nothing but bread and salt, and drank water; but afterwards pulse, herbs, and fruits were added. Epiphanius says, "throughout the Holy Week people continue to use dry food, viz. bread and salt, using water only in the evening" (Compend. Doct. Cath.). This great fast was kept six days of the Holy Week for devotion, and not by obligation; so that the Church condemned the Montanists, who, of their own private authority, would not only oblige all people to observe the xerophagia of the Holy Week, but also other fasts that they had established, as well as several Lents. The Essenes, whether they were Jews or the first Christians of the Church of Alexandria, observed xerophagia on certain days; for Philo says that they put nothing to their bread and water but salt and hyssop. During Lent fish was the only animal food permitted; but, according to some authorities, fowls were afterwards added.