Today we celebrate the feastday of one of my favorite saints, St. Fanourios the Martyr and Miracle Worker.
St. Fanourios is one of the saints that we ask to intercede for us when we lose things. His name is from the Greek word fanerono which means I reveal. I can remember my mother teaching us to do this as children and I would actually get excited when things were lost. She would bake a traditional Fanouropita and I would bake my own version with my sister in our easy-bake oven.
There is not a whole lot known about his life. We know that he lived during Roman times and was in constant persecution because of his Christian beliefs. There is an icon that was discovered on the island of Rhodes during a period when the island was ruled by Turks.
The Turks decided to rebuild the walls of the city that had been destroyed during the war. They sent workers outside to collect rocks from the house ruins to help rebuild the wall. While doing this a beautiful church that was also destroyed was discovered and many icons were found inside. Most of them were destroyed to the point that you could not read the lettering on them. Amazingly, one stood out from all the others completely unharmed. It was an icon of a young man in a Roman soldier’s uniform. In his right hand he held a spear and in his left hand was a cross and a lit candle. Around he perimeter of the icon were twelve events of martyrdom that the Saint suffered, which revealed much of his life.
The Tradition of the Fanouropita
The tradition of baking a Fanouropita is a great honor bestowed upon the Saint. It is typically a small, round cake and is made whenever the saint reveals a lost object, a job, a cure or anything else the person has sought to find, is found.
There are many variations of this recipe but this is the one I have always used.
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup & 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dark raisins
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- grated peel of one lemon
- pinch of salt
- powdered sugar to dust the top
- Mix flour and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, mix oil, sugar, orange juice, water and lemon peel. Beat well.
- Add baking powder, salt, raisins and walnuts to the first bowl. Mix well.
- Add dry ingredients to Bowl 2.
- Grease and flour a baking pan.
- Pour batter into pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes @ 350 degrees.
- Cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
tip: If you let the cake sit a day before serving, it absorbs the flavors better.
*It is also a tradition for each person to say a prayer for St. Fanourios’ mother when eating their slice of the cake. The pita’s can also be brought to church to be blessed and shared among the people.
There is a beautiful icon of St. Fanourios located at the church of St. Syridon in Palos Heights, IL. St. Spyridon’s church also has a beautiful little book that contains the life and Paraklesis service to the saint. Call 708.385.0787 to order a copy. It is the only book I have been able to locate on St. Fanourios.