Sunday, June 21, 2015

In their Memory

This weekend I was blessed to help a family prepare koliva for a father and grandfather.  His name was John and he lived to be 103.  Please remember him.  May his memory be eternal. 

It is important for the family to prepare the koliva themselves, and not simply write a check.  There really is a healing process in the preparation.  During the time we prepped the ingredients (boiled the wheat, toasted the nuts and cleaned the raisins) they shared stories of his generosity, compassion and courage.  They had a chance to reflect on his life and I was able to learn about a man I never met.

If you haven't make a large portion of koliva yet, here are the ingredients:

For a Memorial Service your portions will look more like: 5 lbs whole wheat (cooked in 2 large pots) 4 c chopped walnuts, 4 c blanched / slivered almonds,  2 c raisins, 2 c golden raisins, 1 c Italian (flat) parsley, 4 c whole sesame seeds, 2 T cinnamon, 1 T pumpkin spice, 1 T honey, 2 lbs powdered sugar,  1 lb Jordan Almonds.

The cross and letters were found in Hobby Lobby and spray painted/decorated.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Deja Vu... How We Witness We were on our way to visit a neighboring parish and admire their newly completed iconography project when I saw firsthand what the hubbub in the local paper was all about. Recently​,​ our small town in South Carolina has experienced a series of vandalism ​attacks in which someone spray​-painted “Jesus is Lord” and “Jesus, Son of God” across regularly traveled roadways. It has sparked attention in the paper and on social media concerning what ​is good or bad about religious graffiti, and it touched slightly on the understanding of sacredness as one man contemplated his hesitance to wash out Jesus’ name.
As we drove over the graffiti​,​ I flashed back some twenty years ago​ to​ when I was a design major and living in Manhattan...   (Go to for the full article.)
Visiting Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Columbia, SC

Fish on a Hot day

It seems absurd to write that it is hard to be inspired by fasting foods on hot days, but it's just too hot for soups and pasta.  And who wants to heat the house with the oven.

When my grill master is too busy to grill, I like to make this rendition based on my mom's fish plaki for company. 

  • Sauté the onions and add celery, mushrooms and 4 smashed garlic cloves. 

  • When they are soft and translucent, pour 2 cups vegetable broth instead of tomato sauce.

  • After it boils, pour in diluted cornstarch. I like to put 2 T of cornstarch into a small jar with 1/2 cup warm water.  I close the lid and shake vigorously.  Then I have a clump-free liquid to thicken my broth.

  • Stir.  Simmer for 5 minutes. 

  • Add fish and close lid.  Let steam for 5-10 minutes. 

  • It's delicious, cooks on the stove, and reheats well. 

  • Serve with pasta, rice, roasted potatoes... or a side salad.  It's yummy!

Friday, June 05, 2015

Moveable Feasts and the Apostles Fast.

It's that time again!
Many of us have enjoyed a fast free Friday but do you know why?  It has to do with the moveable feasts which start with the Triodion and end with Holy Apostles on June 30th.   

We are currently in the post Pentecost period and are about to enter the Apostles Fast.  Being part of the moveable calendar, the duration of the Apostles Fast varies on how early or late PASCHA was. Notice the picture below...  if the Triodion starts earlier, the top circle turns counterclockwise which lengthens the Apostle Fast.  But if the Triodion starts later, the top circle turns clockwise and the Apostles Fast is shorter. 
This year we have a three week Apostles Fast.
Push pins mark the nine of the twelve major feasts: Nativity of the Theotokos, Elevation of the Cross, Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, Nativity of Christ, Theophany of our Lord, Presentation of Our Lord, Annunciation of the Theotokos, Transfiguration of Our Lord, Dormition of the Theotokos. 
 The Triodion (yellow) - "Three" weeks before Lent. 
  • No Fasting
  • Meatfare- Regular Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays
  • Cheesefare- Fast Week (Dairy, Eggs, and Fish Allowed)
Great and Holy Lent- (green)  Strict Fast (No Eggs, Dairy or Meat) ((not even lamb.))  (((Big Fat Greek Wedding)))

Saturday of Lazarus (Wine and Oil Allowed)

Palm Sunday (Fish, Wine and Oil Allowed) ((Big Fish day to give you strength for the upcoming week))

Holy Week, Strict Fast

Great and Holy PASCHA, Easter. Fast Free (But you already knew that)

Bright Week, Fast Free

Back to our regularly scheduled fasting schedule…. Wednesdays and Fridays.

Holy Ascension

Pentecost- Sunday of All Saints, No Fasting
Apostles Fast, (fish allowed) ((One of the "lesser" fasts that is often overlooked))
Holy Apostles