Greek Holiday Foods
Χριστός Ανέστη! Christos Anesti… Christ is Risen!
Αληθώς Ανέστη! Alithos Anesti … Truly he is!
It is still amazing to me that I am now blogging from Florida. This Easter came and went so quickly for us that I feel like we barely got to enjoy it. Let’s just say that there is a big difference in working 20 hours as opposed to 40, like in good ‘ole America! And it is funny to think that there are several things I actually miss in Greece, and that says a lot compared to when I first moved there. The grass just always seems greener I guess.
Sorry I am a little late in wishing you all a Happy New Year, but my only excuse is that we have been on vacation! Well, at least it feels like that. We are very much enjoying the Christmas holiday in St. Pete beach, Florida, and it still seems a little too good to be true. First of all, the weather has remained in the low to mid 70′s which provides us the perfect opportunity to walk the beach everyday, play tennis, ride a bike, and explore. We fully believe that THIS truly was God’s timing in sending us because the transition has been so natural. We have gotten to spend time with some family and also reunite with old friends, just the way the holidays should be!
I can’t believe it is almost November, and even almost 2012! Where has the time gone?
Now that school has begun, the days fly by and Monday to Friday seems to come and go faster than I can keep up with. Thankfully though, life is really good right now. Amidst all the turmoil this country is facing and the extreme austerity measures we are forced to adapt to, we still feel very blessed. We are still being taken care of on a daily basis: we have shelter, food, work, health, love, and an abundance of so many more daily joys!
Easter is right around the corner, and today in the Orthodox church we remember the crucifixion of Christ. The church always holds services the previous night for the actual day that the events will occur. Today, this morning actually, is the remembering of the last supper. We ascend to Mt. Zion with Christ and the chosen twelve to enter into the upper room for a special gathering. Once there, we witness the example of Christ abolishing the practice of the Old Covenant and establishing the ritual of the New Covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah, through the Mystery of Holy Communion. The faithful who have prepared also partake in communion during tonight’s evening service. This also will include the memorial of the underserved suffering of Jesus Christ, endured for our sake, so that we might be reconciled anew to God the Father. The Gospel readings go through each account of his arrest, his trial, his conviction, and finally his torture, crucifixion and death at the hands of sinful humanity. Tonight ends with a very heavy heart and understanding of the crucified Christ. Below are the icons of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion of Christ. I hope to make a blog dedicated to the explanation of Byzantine icons and what they represent; I have come a long way from being confused and irritated by the veneration of icons to finally understanding their meaning and place in the church. More on that later though.
All the way from Lesvos, Greece … we wish you a very blessed New Year 2011. May you strive to be the person God has made you to be, may He lead you in each step you take, may you listen closely for His voice and follow, may you choose to find the love, joy, peace, and patience in everything God allows to come across your path, and may this build your faith and wisdom every day of 2011. Our coin was in Christ’s piece, I guess that means we will all be blessed this year as long as we are following Him!
Vasilopita Recipe (Makes one large round cake or two smaller cakes)
4 cups flour, sifted (I use 1/2 cups whole wheat)
2 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon or all spice
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk
zest of 1 lemon or orange
1 coin (cleaned and wrapped in foil)
Preheat oven to 350°F and butter or line your round cake pan. Sift dry ingredients in small bowl and cream butter and sugar in another bowl. Add eggs to sugar mixture gradually, then stirring in vanilla and zest. Alternately mix in the dry ingredients with the milk, beginning and ending with the milk. Bake for 40-45 minutes, remove and cool on rack. Decorate with powdered sugar and or icing.