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January 2010 Newsletter
 This Month 
January's Article: Cretan Nutrition and the Mediterranean Diet Special Feature: Parish Names (Part 3 of 3)
What's New: Sterling Silver Jewelry, Children's DVDs & Toys, Greek Music, DVDs, & Books, Kylix, Snacks & Beauty Care Featured Destination: Ionian Isles - Lefkada
Latest Arrivals: Beauty Care, Ornaments, Calendars, Vintage Prints, Vancouver Pins, Greek Flag Gear, Tshirts January's Recipe: New Year's Confetti Twist
Saint Namedays in January Suggestions, Comments, Subscription Info
Special Offers for Newsletter Subscribers    

January's Recipe:
New Year's Confetti Twist

Ingredients:
The Dough
  • 1 oz compressed yeast or
    1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water 100° F
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk 100 °F
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

The Filling

  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely ground blanched almonds
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract or
    1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green maraschino cherries
The Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp water or milk

Preparation:

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with 2 tablespoons flour. Blend, cover and let rise. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast and the remaining dough ingredients. Gradually take the flour from the sides and mix with the liquid. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work top and knead 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Add flour as needed until no longer sticky. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, brush the top with butter, cover and let rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

Prepare the filling: Cream the butter with the flour and sugar. Add the almond extract, or the lemon zest and the almonds. Combine with your fingers into a loose crumbly mixture, and refrigerate. Punch down the dough and place on a well-floured worktop. Roll out into a rectangle 10x24 inches (25x60cm). Crumble the filling and sprinkle over the top. Then roll dough up jelly-roll fashion, starting with a long edge. Wet the outer edge to seal. With a sharp floured knife, cut roll in half lengthwise and carefully turn halves so that the cut sides face up. Loosely twist both ropes of dough around each other, keeping cut sides up so filling is visible. Generously butter a round 16 inch (40cm) baking pan and carefully transfer roll, shaping it into a circle. Wet the ends and pinch together firmly to seal. If you wish wrap a single coin in foil and insert it into the dough so it is concealed. According to a tradition in many countries, the one who finds the coin when the bread is cut will have good fortune in the New Year. Cover the wreath with a cloth and let rise in a warm humid place until doubled in bulk. Bake in a 400° F oven for about 20min, until lightly brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. In a small bowl, blend the glaze ingredients, gradually adding the water until the desired consistency is reached. Dribble the glaze with a spoon, following the cut edges of the wreath.


Festive Cuisine by Vefa AlexiadouExcerpts and Photography from: Festive Cuisine
by Vefa Alexiadou
 
January's Article:
Cretan Nutrition and the Mediterranean Diet


CRETAN NUTRITION AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

Cretan (Mediterranean) Diet - Research - Recommendations Research interest in any gastronomic heritage is rather limited. Nevertheless, the few papers published are interesting in terms of their folkloric content. What is missing is field research in specific nutritional customs and habits that are worth preserving or imitating. A case in point is the gastronomic heritage of Crete whose effects on human health and happiness render it a paragon of a diet. The traditional diet of Cretans, which is a way of life, meets the scientific criteria for an optimal/ideal diet, a nutritional standard that promotes health and prevents the onset of diseases. This was the conclusion of the Seven Countries Study conducted by Dr Ancel Keys and collaborators in 1960. They studied a number of population groups (cohorts) in Europe, USA, Japan and Greece. The cohorts from Greece were pooled from the islands of Crete and Corfu. Crete was chosen as it met the study's requirement for a location where people remained faithful to a traditional way of life and nutrition, Corfu was selected on account of the fact that it was the first region in Greece to adopt western dietary habits. Data were collected on the causes of death for each group during 15 years of follow-up, and the relationship between antioxidant nutrient intake and mortality rates from heart diseases and cancer growths were assessed. The study showed that Cretans had the lowest mortality rates from heart diseases and cancer. During the period of 15-year follow-up the deaths from cardiovascular (CVD) diseases were 38 for Crete, 132 for Japan, 202 for Corfu, 462 for Italy . 773 for the USA, and 972 for Finland. On the basis of these results the English epidemiologist Blackburn spoke of the Cretan miracle. The lowest mortality rates for the Cretan group were attributed to their way of life and nutrition. Thirty one years following the onset of this study the University of Crete (department of Social Medicine) established that in 1991 half (50%) of the Cretan participants in the study were still alive, while all participants from Finland had passed away.
One might ask what was the particular way of life of Cretans in the late '50s and early '60s, when the study was in full swing? Well, Most of Cretans were involved with manual work, mainly in the fields - They also walked approximately 13 km on average daily. This increased physical activity was combined with a diet high in calorific value. Olive oil provided 1/3 of daily energy requirements per person. The typical Cretan diet consisted mainly of cereals )bread), legumes, vegetables, fruits and olive oil. Little cheese and very little meat or fish, plus one or two glasses of wine in each meal were also on the daily agenda of Cretans. Now another question might be: were the Cretans much wiser than other Europeans or Americans to have adopted this kind of healthy diet? Certainly not. The physical activities - farming, fishing, walking long distances, etc - were the standard way of living on the island. What about their diet? The answer is that Cretans had no alternative diets. They had to consume what they themselves produced - and they did an excellent job with their home-grown and field products. In fact, the palatable Cretan dishes were the result of female imagination, The physical activities involving the growing and collection of foodstuff was mainly the task of males, while cooking was the task of females. This division of tasks and roles was part of the Cretan family organization - a tradition. The nature of the local cuisine provided nourishment and strength to Cretan families, the majority of which were poor people, devastated by velars and conflict. As the industrial wave nudged in their way of life, family bonds were loosened (increased mobility of women and children, etc), which brought significant changes in the Cretans' dietary habits.

Continued next month

 Special Feature: Parish Names
 Part 3 of 3

Every parish constitutes both an entity of communicants from that particular locale as well as the fullness of the universal (catholic) Church. One does not exist outside the other. With this understanding, every Orthodox parish receives the name of a Saint or event in the life of Christ or the Theotokos. While the procedures vary as to how the naming occurs, the name ties the local community to the Church throughout the ages. The name often gives the local community inspiration and something to emulate as members progress on their Christian walk. Below are the names of the parishes in the Metropolis of Chicago with a brief explanation about the Saint(s) or events and the date of the feast day on which they are commemorated.

Continued from last month...

St. Luke the Evangelist
Author of the gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles, he was a disciple and companion of St. Paul. He was born in Antioch, Syria, where he practiced medicine and died in the Achaia region of Greece. His feast is celebrated October 18.

St. Nectarios
One of the most recent Greek Orthodox Saints, this Metropolitan of Pentapolis (in Libya) died in 1920 AD as a humble priest-monk in an Athens hospital after unjustified slanders in Africa. His holiness was manifest at his death when the garment that he was wearing touched and healed a sick person in the hospital ward next to the unknown hierarch. Buried on the island of Aegina, Greece, his memory is  celebrated on November 9.

St. Nicholas
Born in Asia Minor this Archbishop of Myra and wonderworker was known for his abundant mercy in helping the poor and needy. Eventually his works of charity in the person of "Santa Claus" whose name is a distortion of St. Nicholas. He is also the patron of travelers, especially sailors, and his feast is celebrated on December 6.

St. Sophia
During the reign of Emperor Hadrian (c. 120 AD) this faithful woman's three children, Faith, Hope, and Love (ages 12, 10, and 9), were beheaded. After mourning at their grave for three days, St. Sophia died and was proclaimed a martyr because of the pain she had endured in watching her three young daughters tortured and beheaded. They are celebrated on September 17.

St. Spyridon
Originally from Cyprus this humble shepherd became a Bishop after his wife passed away. He attended the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD, and died in about 350 AD. His remains still exist in an uncorrupt state on the island of Corfu, Greece, and many miracles are attributed to his intercessions. His memory is celebrated on December 12.

Sts. Anargyroi Cosmas & Damianos
These two brothers from Asia Minor were skilled in many sciences including medicine. They used their skills to heal people and not accept any payment as indicated by the Greek word anargyros, which means "no silver." Although there are other similar unmercenary saints, these are celebrated on November 1.

Sts. Constantine & Helen
The Roman Emperor Constantine was the child of a Christian mother (St. Helen) and a pagan father who was Caesar of the Western part of the Roman Empire. Constantine unified the Empire, legalized Christianity, transferred the capital from Rome to Byzantium (renaming it Constantinople) and called the First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD. Helen found the true cross and built churches in the Holy Land. For their efforts they received the title "equal to the Apostles" and are celebrated on May 21.

Sts. Peter & Paul
Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome under Emperor Nero in 67 AD. Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded while Peter, leader of the Apostles and the Apostle Andrew's brother, asked to be crucified upside down. Peter founded the church of Antioch and later came to Rome while Paul, a Pharisee, repented from persecuting Christians after his conversion on the road to Damascus and became the Apostle to all nations. They are celebrated on June 29.
 
Three Hierarchs
This feast was established in the year 1100 AD to honor the three greatest theologians of the Church and thwart attempts by some to elevate one above the other. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom (Golden mouth) were known as the great "Teachers of the Church" and "Satellites of the Holy Trinity." They are remembered on January 30.

Twelve Holy Apostles
Holding special place among all those whom Christ has sent forth as His apostles are: the original eleven, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John sons of Zebedee, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot; and Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas (who betrayed Christ.) Their feast is celebrated on June 30.

Ecclesia: Greek Orthodox Churches of the Chicago Metropolis
Excerpts and Photography from
Ecclesia: Greek Orthodox Churches
of the Chicago Metropolis
by Panos Fiorentinos

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  Featured Destination: Ionian Isles - Lefkada (part 4 of 7)


GEOGRAPHY Lying just off the coast of Central Greece, Lefkada is more like a peninsula than an island. It is 303 sq. km. in area, has 117 km. of coastline and a population of 19,947. Lefkada, along with its neighboring islets, inhabited and uninhabited (Kastos, Skorpios, Madouri, Meganisi, Sparti) comprises a separate Prefecture. The island can be reached by air, via Preveza, or car and bus. There is a local connection with Fiskardo in Cephallonia and Frikes in Ithaka. A caique sails between Nidri, Ithaka, Sami, Cephallonia, Meganisi and in the summer there are tourist excursion craft to the nearby islets of Sparti and Madouri. Buses also link it to Aktion in Preveza and Agrinion. The island has a mountainous interior (highest peak Elati, 1158 m. a.s.l.) and several fertile valleys and plains. It has a rich vegetation cover, gentle coastline and lovely beaches. The high standard of tourist facilities and good road network make it an attractive place for holidaymakers who revel in its lovely landscape, numerous monuments and quaint villages.

HISTORY Lefkada has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Excavations have brought to light Mycenaean installations and, according to the German archaeologist Dorpfeld, Homer's Ithaka was here, a theory with few supporters today. In around the middle of the 7th century BC colonisers arrived here from Corinth. Lefkada participated in the Persian Wars and sided with Sparta during the Peloponnesian War. In the 4th century BC it passed to the Macedonians, was sacked by Pyrrhus king of Epirus and then conquered by the Romans. In Byzantine times it was savagely attacked by pirates many times and from the 13th century onwards belonged to the-Italian Orsini family. At the beginning of the 14th century it came into the hands of the d'Anjou family who held it until 1479 when it capitulated to the Turks. In 1684 it was captured by the Venetians, in 1797 by the French, in 1815 by the British and finally incorporated in the Greek state in 1864. Two highly important Greek poets are sons of Lefkada, Aristotelis Valaoritis and Angelos Sikelianos.

SIGHTS-MONUMENTS The island's capital, Lefkada, is situated at its northeast edge facing the shores of Akarnania. It is a very attractive town virtually built in the sea and strong Venetian elements may be observed in both its architecture and lay-out. Its many churches, a lot of them privately owned, are well worth visiting. Their architecture and interior decoration is strongly influenced by Italian baroque. Some of the most interesting are those of St. Minas (1707), St. Spyridon (renovated in the 18th century) and that of the Pantocrator. In the small cemetery behind this church is the tomb of the poet Aristotelis Valaoritis. The Museum of Postbyzantine Art and the Folk Museum, with its large collection of folk art from Lefkada, as well as the archaeological collection of finds from excavations conducted by the German archaeologist Dorpfeld, all merit a visit. In the Municipal Library there is a notable collection of books and manuscripts. At the northern edge of town stands the castle of Aghia Mavra, built by the Orsini and renovated by the Venetians and Turks. On the south side of town is the church to St. John Anjousi, founded by the d'Anjou family. Below this church there are therapeutic springs. Not far from the town are two important monasteries, the Phaneromeni monastery with its superb vista of the open sea and that of the Virgin Megalovrysiotissa.

On top of the hill at Kalligoni (about 1.5 km. south of Lefkada) there are ruins of the prehistoric, Classical and Medieval acropolis of the island for this was the site of its ancient capital, traces of which can be discerned amongst the trees. On the acropolis sections of the Cyclopean fortification wall and cisterns can be seen and excavations have brought to light a small theatre of Hellenistic times. Just beyond here are the villages of Karyotes and Lygia and then the road continues on to Nydri, the most frequented place on the island after the capital.
Nydri is a modern village in the gulf of Vlychos and there are many lovely beaches in the vicinity. One can take a boat from here to the islets of Chelonaki, densely wooded, Madouri, where there is the Valaoritis family mansion, Skorpios, owned by the shipowner Onasis and Meganisi. Just opposite Madouri is cape Aghia Kyriaki on which stands a chapel of St. Kyriaki, on the site of an ancient temple, and alongside is the grave of Dorpfeld. Nydri is the port of call for the ferry boats from Sami in Cephallonia. Southeast of the capital (27 km.) is Poros with its port Aspros Yalos, which has a particularly delightful beach. One of the most beautiful regions is Syvota, at the far end of a narrow inlet where the sea is enchanting. Of the mountain villages one should visit Karya (15 km. south of Lefkada) in which the famous Lefkas embroideries are produced. Not only is the traditional architecture impressive but local customs are kept alive and many women still wear costume. 5 km. south of Karya is the highland village of Englouvi. One of the loveliest routes on the island is that along the west coast leading to the village of Athani and cape Lefkata. Between the monastery of St. Nicholas and this promontory there are remainsof the temple of Apollo, one of the most significant in antiquity to which votives were sent from all over Greece. It was from this cape that Sappho flung herself into the sea and many others have followed here since, seeking consolation for unrequited love. Indeed these dives were famous in antiquity, being a kind of judgement imposed on those awaiting trial or those seeking a cure for their incurable love. To minimise risk of drowning those who jumped were equipped with feathers, checking their fall and boats awaited below to haul them out bf the sea.

Vasiliki is the southernmost village on the island (40 km. south of Lefkada) and in recent years has grown into a bustling holiday resort. It is also the port for ferry boats from Fiskardo in Cephallonia.

Lefkada has many beaches for swimming: Megali Ammoudia near the main town, close to the castle, Lygia, Nydri, Aspros Yalos, Vasiliki, Aghios Nikitas, Syvota. The south coast is also good for fishing and there is hunting in the interior. The beaches on the nearby islets are also fine for both swimming and fishing and these can be reached by boat from Nydri. Accommodation is available in several hotels, rooms to let and furnished apartments. Those with yachts of boats can sail around the island, as well as explore its many offshore islets. There are refuelling stations at Lefkada and Nydri.
 

Next month: Ionian Isles, Part 5a - Cephallonia-Ithaka

Some products to help prepare you for your trip to Lefkada...
Lefkada - Travel Guide

Lefkada - Travel Guide
Lefkada Travel Guide

Lefkada Travel Guide
Road Map of Lefkada

Road Map of Lefkada
Road Map of Lefkada

Road Map of Lefkada

 January 2010 Greek Orthodox Calendar

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
       

 
1
Fast Free

Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia

Circumcision of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Gregory, Bishop of Nanzianzos, Father of Gregory the Theologian
 
2
Fast Free

Forefeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Sylvester, Pope of Rome

Cosmas, Archbishop of Constantinople
 
3
Fast Free

Sunday before Epiphany

Malachi the Prophet

Gordios the Martyr of Caesarea
 
4
Fast Free

Monday of the 16th Week

Synaxis of the 70 Holy Apostles

Theoctistos the Righteous of Sicily
 
5
Eve of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Martyrs Theopemptos and Theonas

Righteous Syncletiki of Alexandria
 
6
Fast Free

The Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Theophan the Recluse
 
7
Synaxis of John the Holy Glorious Prophet, Baptist, & Forerunner

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
 

8
Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

George the Chozebite

Domnica the Righteous of Constantinople

 

9
Saturday after Epiphany

Polyeuctos the Martyr of Meletine in Armenia

Eustratios the Wonderworker
 
10
Sunday after Epiphany

Gregory of Nyssa

Dometian, Bishop of Melitene

 
11
Righteous Theodosios the Cenobiarch

Vitalis of Gaza

Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

 
12
Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Tatiana the Martyr of Rome

Martyr Mertios

 
13
Afterfeast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Hermylos & Stratonikos the Martyrs at Belgrade

Maximos the Righteous of Kapsokalyvia, Mount Athos
 
14
Leavetaking of the Theophany of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

The Holy Fathers slain at Sinai and Raitho

Agnes the Virgin-martyr

 
15
John the Cave Dweller

Paul of Thebes

Pansophios the Martyr of Alexandria

 
16
Veneration of Apostle Peter's Precious Chains

Righteous Hierodeacon Makarios of Kalogeras
 
17
15th Sunday of Luke

Anthony the Great

Anthony the New of the Berropas Skete

 
18
Athanasios & Cyril, Patriarchs of Alexandria

Zenia the Martyr

 
19
Makarios the Great of Egypt

Mark, Bishop of Ephesus

Arsenios, Metropolitan of Kerkyra
 
20
Righteous Euthymios the Great

Zacharias the New Martyr of Patra
 
21
Maximos the Confessor

Neophytos the Martyr of Nicaea

 
22
Timothy the Apostle of the 70

Anastasios, the Persian Righteous Monk-martyr
 
23
Clement the Hieromartyr & Bishop of Ancyra

Agathangelos the Martyr

Righteous Father Dionysius of Olympus

24
Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee: Triodion Begins Today

Xenia, Deaconess of Rome

Vavylas the Holy Martyr
 
25
Fast Free

Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople
 
26
Fast Free

Tuesday of Prodigal Son


Xenophon & his Companions

Symeon the Elder of Mount Sinai

 
27
Fast Free

Removal of the Relics of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople


Peter the Righteous of Egypt

Demetrios the New Martyr of Constantinople
 
28
Fast Free

Ephraim the Syrian

Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah

James the Righteous
 
29
Fast Free

Removal of the Relics of Ignatios the God-bearer

Laurence the Recluse of the Kiev Caves
30
Fast Free

Synaxis of The Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, & John Chrysostom

Hippolytos, Pope of Rome

Athanasia the Martyr & her 3 daughters
 
31
Sunday of Prodigal Son

Cyrus & John the Unmercenaries

Holy Women Martyrs Theodote, Theoktiste and Eudoxia
 
           


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