Archive for December, 2008

A.D. 330-379


You became for the Church a solid foundation,

and for all mankind strengthened by your teaching,

you became a harbor of refuge,

O Venerable Basil who reveals heaven’s mysteries!




Vasilopeta Cake


According to The Complete Book of Greek Cooking, page 208:

Vasilopeta is a cake made in honor of Saint Basil, whose feast day is January 1. Cakes differ in the various regions of Greece: some are a type of bread, others a type of rich yeast cake, others are flat, made of cookie dough. The cakes may differ, but all include the customary hidden silver coin. It symbolizes good luck to the person who finds the coin in his piece of cake…The following recipe is the most traditional version.

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, or pistachios)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Cream butter and sugar together until light. Add flour and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir baking powder into milk and stir into egg mixture. Mix baking soda and lemon juice and stir in. Mix well.Pour into a greased round layer cake pan 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. Bake for 20 minutes. Slip inside cake, a coin wrapped in aluminum foil. Sprinkle with nuts and sugar and bake for 20 to 30 minutes longer, or until cake tests done. Cool 10 minutes in pan and invert onto serving plate. Serve right side up.

Personal note: Our family actually uses an 11 x 3 spring roll pan and it takes us longer, more like an hour and a half, to bake this vasilopeta recipe. In our experience, this recipe requires significantly more volume in pan size than what is stated.It is a tradition to take these cakes or loaves of bread to church to be blessed after the liturgy for St. Basil the Great.


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Homily on the Nativity of the Lord

by  St. John Chrysostom


I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.

The Angels sing!
The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!
The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!
The Seraphim exalt His glory!
All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.

And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, he had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things move in obedience to God.

This day He Who Is, is Born; and He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became he God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His Incarnation has he departed from the Godhead.

And behold,
Kings have come, that they might adore the heavenly King of glory;
Soldiers, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;
Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child-birth into joy;
Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin, beholding with joy, that He Who is the Giver of milk, Who has decreed that the fountains of the breast pour forth in ready streams, receives from a Virgin Mother the food of infancy;
Infants, that they may adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouth of infants and sucklings, He might perfect praise;
Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;
Men, to Him Who became man, that He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;
Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedech;
Servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our servitude with the reward of freedom;
Fishermen, to Him Who from amongst fishermen chose catchers of men;
Publicans, to Him Who from amongst them named a chosen Evangelist;
Sinful women, to Him Who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant;
And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world.

Since therefore all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice. I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival. But I take my part, not plucking the harp, not shaking the Thyrsian staff, not with the music of pipes, nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ. For this is all my hope, this my life, this my salvation, this my pipe, my harp. And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels, sing: Glory to God in the Highest;
and with the shepherds: and on earth peace to men of good will.


Posted from here.

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Shrimp Creole

A lenten recipe our children loved. I plan to make the sauce in bulk and freeze. It will then be very quick meal to put together with our plain (unseasoned) parboiled rice.


1 minced onion

3 TBS veg. oil

2 sweet bell peppers diced

3 cloves garlic minced

4 cups diced tomatoes (2 big cans)

2 TBS Creole seasoning

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

3 TBS margerine

1 package of salad shrimp (could use diced squash or some other ‘meaty’ vegetable as an alternative)

4 cups cooked rice 

Saute onion and garlic in vegetable oil until transparent, then add bell pepper, tomatoes, and Creole seasoning. Cook, partially covered, on low for an hour. Once done cooking, add shrimp.

Grind dry bread into crumbs and saute in margarine. Set aside. Spread rice in an 8X13 oiled pan. Pour and smooth shrimp and tomato sauce over rice. Spread bread crumbs on top and bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

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Updated! Now supplemental readings are complete and cover days 1 through 52!


Includes hymns and additional suggested reading resources for each day, graciously made available by a member of our group:



Copywork and additional weeks of suggested supplemental reading will be added to this post as they come available.

Thank you!

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Just updated! Now includes readings through Day 52!

Please note, some ornaments have been rearranged:



Fr. Joshua and M. Jenny Mosher have finished the first part of the Jesse Tree readings and have graciously made it available:


Thank you Fr. Joshua and M. Jenny!

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St. Wenceslas

“Good King Wenceslas”, a very well know Christmas carol written by John Mason Neale,* is about an actual Orthodox saint. You can listen to an MP3 version of this hymn: here. John Mason Neale also wrote a children’s story on St. Wenceslas’ life which can be found here:


*John Mason Neale, an Anglican clergyman of the early to mid 19th century, was the first to translate Orthodox hymns and liturgies into English. He had hoped the Anglican Church would join with the Orthodox, as witnessed by his letters. And the highest ranking clergy at his funeral were Orthodox.

More of John Mason Neale’s stories written for children can be found here:

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Spiritual Quotes

For what else is the feast, but the constant worship of God, and the recognition of godliness, and unceasing prayers from the whole heart with agreement? So Paul wishing us to be ever in this disposition, commands, saying, ‘Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks.’ Not therefore separately, but unitedly and collectively, let us all keep the feast together, as the prophet exhorts, saying, ‘O come, let us rejoice in the Lord, let us make a joyful noise unto God our Saviour.’ Who then is so negligent, or who so disobedient to the divine voice, as not to leave everything, and run to the general and common assembly of the feast?~St. Athanasius the Great (A.D. 293 – 373)


The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.~Psalm 34:10


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