Friday, July 24, 2015

Celebrating St.Cristina....My Name Day July 24

Summer Meadow

Memories of childhood wrap around me each summer on July 24, bowls of sweet cherries, meadows filled with poppies and cornflowers, puffy clouds floating above...bliss in the hills of Saliste, Sibiu village of my youth in Transylvania.

Cotton Woven Towel

After church, a delightful summer picnic was unwrapped from the wicker basket, laid out on a woven table cloth in the middle of a meadow under a tree for shade.

Sibiu Burduf Cheese

Fresh yellow bean salad, grilled bacon dripping on Ardeal bread with sweet onions, selection of Sibiu cheese, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, sweet braided bread.

Bacon Over Fire 

Bacon & Drippings On Farm Bread & Sweet Onions

Sweet Braided Bread

Yellow Bean Salad

Pottery Large Jar

Traditional delights were brought in pottery bowls, well water and the always present tuica and a jug of wine from the cellar.

Hurezu Pottery Bowls

Corund Wine Jugs 

Tuica Plum Spirit

On the way back, a crown of meadow flowers was always braided and worn with pride reminding me of St.Cristina my patron saint.

Someone's Beautiful Child

St. Cristina of Tyre, Holy Martyr commemorated on July 24, celebrated by the Orthodox and Catholic Christians alike, lived in the city of Tyre,now known as Bolsena in Tuscany, under the rule of Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211).

Byzantine Icon of St. Christina
Her image was also depicted in the superb mosaics of Ravenna, Italy.

Ravenna Mosaic

She was the daughter of a Roman general named Urban who forbade the Christian faith, raised her with pagan gold idols and guarded by well-chosen pagan servants.

Romanian Icon of St. Hristina

This has not prevented the young Cristina to know Christ, to shatter the idols of gold and silver and to divide them among the poor, by throwing the pieces out the window.

An angel came to her and appointed her bride of Christ, giving her more devotion to her faith.

Catholic Statue of St. Cristina

The punishment of her father for her defiant actions was horrific. After being subjected to torture, Cristina was thrown in jail and finally sentenced to death for not denouncing her Christian faith.
Brutal end being killed with spears by soldiers.

Catholic Painting of St.Cristina

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

St.Ilie The Stormy Saint

July 20...a candle is sending holy light for my father's is St.Ilie, his name day, celebrated in the Orthodox traditions in Romania.
St. Elijah Fresco
Folk traditions associate this saint with the rain, he is patron of the clouds, lightning and thunder, he travels in a chariot with winged horses.

Traditions continue after the passing of our loved ones, they keep them with us during our journey among the living.

Icon of St. Elijah on Glass

I remember hot summer July days in Moldova, Bucovina roaming the region's hills for ancient painted monasteries and their feasts.

Now, in the villages, beekeepers harvest honey from their hives. Harvesting honey is made only by men clean in body and soul, dressed in holiday clothes, helped by a child, women are not allowed to enter the apiary. 
Country Beehives

Sweet Honey

Beehives Fresco

After harvesting the honey, the families, along with relatives and neighbors are invited to a festive meal, the guests taste and celebrate with new honey, and palinca, a plum spirit sweetened with honey. 

The women get the ovens hot to bake the savory pies and tarts.

Getting the oven ready

Transylvanian Traditional Foods

The meal is meant to ensure the abundance of beekeeper's hives, healthy bees and as every celebration it turns into a real party with song and dance.

Savory Pie

Fresh Romanian Cheese

Fresh Goat Milk and Savory Tarts

In my father's honor I painted my interpretation of St.Ilie, roaming the skies, snapping his whips as thunder and bringing rain clouds over the crops.

Memory Eternal Tati!

St.Ilie Painting on Gold Leaf