Friday, November 28, 2014

Saint Stephen the New of Mt. St. Auxentius

The Monk Martyr and Confessor Saint Stephen the New of Mt. St. Auxentius, also Stephen the Younger (Greek: Ὁ Ὅσιος Στέφανος ὁ Ὁμολογητής ὁ Νέος), 715-767 AD, was a Byzantine monk from Constantinople who became one of the leading opponents of the iconoclastic policies of Emperor Constantine V (741–775). He was martyred in 767 AD, becoming the most prominent iconodule martyr. His feast day is celebrated annually on November 28.
 Saint Stephen the New please pray for us sinners!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Eye Bean Burgers

I used to make a variety of great vegan burgers using of course wheat flour to bind them well. As I changed to gluten-free diet I was not so sure I would be successful in making them. Today I did adventure and using some left overs I decided to make them vegan style and gluten-free. They came out surprisingly good!
How did I make them? As I had some left over black eye bean dish - 1 cup (made with onions, tomatoes sauce, garlic, oregano, carrots) I only added 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup corn flour (I only get organic corn flour), paprika, pepper and sea salt.
In general, I like to eat these burgers for breakfast on the days I go to work to hold me until lunch time. I serve them with a few leaves of Romaine lettuce and vegan mayo or mustard.

Friday, November 21, 2014


“Mankind, which had its beginning in the first Adam, had to be given a new beginning. A new Adam was needed to become the Head of the New Humanity, the Head of the body, the Church, which is His body (Ephesians 1:22-23). However, just as in the creation of the Old Humanity, mankind was given the freedom to choose sonship; similarly in the creation of the New Humanity, mankind was granted the opportunity to choose. The first Adam was from the earth, a man of dust, the second is from Heaven (1 Corinthians 15: 47). The first could choose sin because he was not yet perfect, the second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, being God by nature, was totally alien to sin. It is because God's oikonomia required a member of the human race who was able to prove himself free from every sin that the time had fully come (Galatians 4:4) for God to send forth His Son, since mankind was able to bring forth the All-Holy Virgin.”

GMOs kill us softly

Study Linking Genetically Modified Corn to Rat Tumors Is Retracted
 “The study found that rats fed for two years with Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant NK603 maize (corn) developed many more tumors and died earlier than controls. It also found that the rats developed tumors when glyphosate (Roundup), the herbicide used with GM maize, was added to their drinking water.”
Here is another study:
“A significant number of genetically modified (GM) crops have been approved to enter
human food and animal feed since 1996, including crops containing several GM genes
'stacked' into the one plant. We randomised and fed isowean pigs (N=168) either a mixed
GM soy and GM corn (maize) diet (N=84) or an equivalent non-GM diet (N=84) in a longterm
toxicology study of 22.7 weeks (the normal lifespan of a commercial pig from
weaning to slaughter). Equal numbers of male and female pigs were present in each
group. The GM corn contained double and triple-stacked varieties. Feed intake, weight
gain, mortality and blood biochemistry were measured. Organ weights and pathology
were determined post-mortem. There were no differences between pigs fed the GM and
non-GM diets for feed intake, weight gain, mortality, and routine blood biochemistry
measurements. The GM diet was associated with gastric and uterine differences in pigs.
GM-fed pigs had uteri that were 25% heavier than non-GM fed pigs (p=0.025). GM-fed
pigs had a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation with a rate of 32% of GM-fed pigs
compared to 12% of non-GM-fed pigs (p=0.004). The severe stomach inflammation was
worse in GM-fed males compared to non-GM fed males by a factor of 4.0 (p=0.041), and
GM-fed females compared to non-GM fed females by a factor of 2.2 (p=0.034).”

Here is what the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility published on this topic:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nativity Fast

On November 15th we begin the forty day period where we proclaim the miracle of God becoming man. This is the time in the Orthodox Church where our attention is drawn to the great mystery of the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is joyful Fast! We await his coming in anticipation of the great joy of His birth on Christmas Day. For our preparation the wisdom of our Church asks us to participate in a fast, with all the inconvenience and discomfort it may bring. If this is a season of such great joy, why is this the practice of Orthodox Christians around the world? Why are we asked to fast when we hear daily the hymn "Hark, the herald angels sing!" almost every place we go?
According to St. Symeon of Thessalonica, “…the Nativity Forty-day Fast represents the fast undertaken by Moses, who, having fasted for forty days and forty nights, received the Commandments of God, written on stone tablets [of the Law]. And we, fasting for forty days, will reflect upon and receive from the Virgin of the living Word - not written upon stone, but born, incarnate, and we will commune of His Divine Body.”
The Nativity Fast was established to allow us through repentance, prayer and fasting to cleanse ourselves before the Nativity of Christ, so that with clean heart, soul, and body, we might reverently meet the Son of God, Who has come into the world and so that in addition
to bringing the usual gifts and sacrifices, we might bring Him our clean hearts and a desire to follow His teachings. May God grant that we all spend the salvific days of the Nativity Fast in such a way as to be a great benefit to our souls.
1166 - The Council of Constantinople decrees the fast as we know it now. A 40 day fast from November 15th to December 25th.
To read more about the Nativity Icon and its meaning:
At the bottom left is Joseph who was greatly battling doubts. The figure next to him is supposed to be the devil who is, of course, not making it any easier on him.  We may sing “What Child is This?” but Joseph’s question was “Whose child is this?!” since he knew he was certainly not the father. Mary is facing Joseph and Jesus. She is concerned about him and interceding for him.  Jesus lies next to Mary wrapped in grave clothes foreshadowing his coming death. Joseph also has a halo, indicating he is a saint of the Orthodox Church.  He wrestled with doubt even after God incarnate had physically come into his life.  It makes me wonder if the shepherds appeared after Jesus’ birth more for Joseph’s sake than anything else. At the bottom right Jesus is being cleaned up by midwives to show his humanity (that he was fully God and fully human). However The mother of God did not give birth as all the other women did before or after her. She remained a virgin!
May we all have a Blessed Nativity Fast!

"Kupyatich" Icon of the Mother of God

"Kupyatich" Icon of the Mother of God appeared in the year 1180 near the village of Kupyatich, in the Pinsk District of the Province of Minsk. A peasant girl named Anna, who was tending livestock, found the icon on a tree in the forest. The Image, which was in the form of a cross, shone forth with an unusual light. At the site of its miraculous appearance, the peasants constructed a church in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos, and in it installed the newly discovered Icon. Several years later the Tartars burned down this church. The Icon was again found, by a traveler named Joachim who happened to be passing by, at the site of the destroyed church. The peasants transferred the Icon-Cross to the village church, where by Divine inspiration, Joachim became the sexton. In the beginning of the 17th century the Kupiatitsky Monastery was founded near the church. At the close of the Century, the monastery was seized first by [Roman] Catholic, then by Uniate monks. The Orthodox monks left the monastery, and took with them the Holy Kupyatich Icon of the Theotokos. They translated the Holy Icon to the Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom in Kiev. "Kupyatich" icon is actually a small copper Cross. On one side of the Cross the Mother of God and the Pre-eternal Infant are depicted, and on the other, the Crucifixion. Those that are sick with palsy are healed with prayer before the miraculous Kupyatitsk Icon of the Mother of God.

"Kupyatich" Icon of the Mother of God (Feast Day November 15)


Friday, November 14, 2014

My chickens ate my Lemon Balm

Checking the garden today, I discovered the unthinkable (for me). My beloved plant was gone! My chickens ate my Lemon Balm! Doing a quick internet search, I find out that most of the chickens like it! Our chickens love all the greens, from green onions, cabbage to… Lemon Balm!
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb often used to treat anxiety and stress. A member of the mint family, lemon balm contains terpenes (chemicals thought to produce a relaxing effect). Common health claims for lemon balm include the treatment and/or prevention of these conditions: anxiety, depression, hypertension, fever, nausea, digestion problems, dysmenorrhea, migraines, herpes, dementia (One small study demonstrated decreased stress and agitation in patients with dementia and Alzheimer disease), insomnia, cold sores, hyperthyroidism etc.
Combines well with these herbs: lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, lavender.
De-stress recipe:
For anxiety, frazzle nerves, exhaustion and irritability: dilute 3 drops of melissa, 2 drops of bergamot, 2 drops of chamomile in 1 teaspoon of almond oil and add to the bath water.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take lemon balm.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Saint Nektarios

“ How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things, which have a bitter end! It is the same thing to construct the tower of happiness outside of ourselves as it is to build a house in a place that is consistently shaken by earthquakes. Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God.”
St. Nektarios of Aegina, from 2014 Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints and Fasting Calendar.
 I am happy to recommend a great children’s book about St. Nektarios, made in Romania – which it is also found in Romanian language :
Order it at :

For the Romanian version seek out this website:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fermented Foods

There are so many ways to ferment vegetables and dairy (yogurt, kefir) at home! Here is a very simple way to do it using any vegetables you already have in the house. Now is the time to start working on your home made probiotics (vegan-style) since the Christmas fasting is near and we can't eat kefir or yogurt anymore.
Take a 1 gallon wide-mouth glass jar. Use any veggies you would like (carrots of different colors, peppers, cabbage etc). You do not need to peel the veggies, just wash them well. Set aside a few cabbage leaves. Place all the veggies in a chopper. Transfer to the jar and press well. If the veggies are filling the jar, but the juice they produced is not enough, just add water to fill it up and 3 tbsp of Himalayan salt. Set on top 1-2 cabbage leaves to make sure all the chopped veggies are in the liquid. Close the jar and keep it at room temperature for 1-2 days or more.
Watch this little video if you like to see how it could be done.
Quick and Easy Fermented Vegetables | In the Kitchen with JJ Virgin and Donna Gates
How to Make Water Kefir
Kombucha: How to Grow a SCOBY (Mother) From Scratch 

In spite of the heavy selling points, it may be good to also watch this:

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael & the other Bodiless Powers: Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, & Barachiel

Glory to God for all things! Great Feast Day today! To all who celebrate their name's day: “Happy Name’s Day!” and “Kalo Paradiso!”
“The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.
A Feastday was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the holy Fathers. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the Eighth Day, and then "the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all the holy Angels with Him" (Mt. 25:31).
The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest, middle, and lowest.
The Highest Hierarchy includes: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.
The six-winged SERAPHIM (Flaming, Fiery) (Is 6:12) stand closest of all to the Most Holy Trinity. They blaze with love for God and kindle such love in others.
The many-eyed CHERUBIM (outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment) (Gen 3:24) stand before the Lord after the Seraphim. They are radiant with the light of knowledge of God, and knowledge of the mysteries of God. Through them wisdom is poured forth, and people's minds are enlightened so they may know God and behold His glory.
The THRONES (Col 1:16) stand after the Cherubim, mysteriously and incomprehensibly bearing God through the grace given them for their service. They are ministers of God's justice, giving to tribunals, kings, etc. the capacity for righteous judgment.
The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three Ranks: Dominions, Powers, and Authorities:
DOMINIONS (Col 1:16) hold dominion over the angels subject to them. They instruct the earthly authorities, established by God, to rule wisely, and to govern their lands well. The Dominions teach us to subdue sinful impulses, to subject the flesh to the spirit, to master our will, and to conquer temptation.
POWERS (1 Pet 3:22) fulfill the will of God without hesitation. They work great miracles and give the grace of wonderworking and clairvoyance to saints pleasing to God. The Powers assist people in fulfilling obediences. They also encourage them to be patient, and give them spiritual strength and fortitude.
AUTHORITIES (1 Pet 3:22, Col 1:16) have authority over the devil. They protect people from demonic temptations, and prevent demons from harming people as they would wish. They also uphold ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with evil thoughts.
The Lowest Hierarchy includes the three Ranks: Principalities, Archangels, and Angels:
PRINIPALITIES (Col 1:16) have command over the lower angels, instructing them in the fulfilling of God's commands. They watch over the world and protect lands, nations and peoples. Principalities instruct people to render proper honor to those in authority, as befits their station. They teach those in authority to use their position, not for personal glory and gain, but to honor God, and to spread word of Him, for the benefit of those under them.
ARCHANGELS (1 Thess 4:16) are messengers of great and wondrous tidings. They reveal prophecies and the mysteries of the faith. They enlighten people to know and understand the will of God, they spread faith in God among the people, illuminating their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.
ANGELS (1 Pet 3:22) are in the lowest rank of the heavenly hierarchy, and closest to people. They reveal the lesser mysteries of God and His intentions, guiding people to virtuous and holy life. They support those who remain steadfast, and they raise up the fallen. They never abandon us and they are always prepared to help us, if we desire it.
All the Ranks of the Heavenly Powers are called angels, although each has its own name and position by virtue of their service. The Lord reveals His will to the highest ranks of the angels, and they in turn inform the others
Over all the Nine Ranks, the Lord appointed the Holy Archangel Michael (his name in Hebrew means "who is like unto God"), the faithful servitor of God, as Chief Commander.”
For further reading about the names of each archangel see:
The wondrous icon of the Holy Archangel Michael, Mantamados, Mytilene (Lesvos)
Miracles of the Archangel Michael the Taxiarch to Mother Stavritsa the Missionary
Here you could listen to the recorded book on miracles worked by Archangel Michael, the commander of the heavenly hosts, including the appearance of a miracle-working spring at Chonae: