HOLY MARTYRS FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE (Vera, Nadez, Ljubov)

Today, 30th of September, Orthodox Christians celebrate the holiday of the Holy martyrs, FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE and their mother SOPHIA

On this day we celebrate the memory of the famous Roman woman Sofia, who educated her daughters to have faith in themselves and in God, to have hope in God's goodness and to have love for close people and for the Almighty.
vera nadez ljubov

Sofia and her three daughters martyrs Vera (Faith), Nada (Hope) and Ljubov (Love) became popular in the late first and early second century, with their faith in Jesus Christ and their willingness to sacrifice for him. Mother Sophia was worthy of the name she wore, which means wisdom. She lived as a true Christian even after her husband's death, with good deeds, calmed soul and in obedience to God's will. In that spirit, she educated her three daughters who wore the names of the three most important Christian values: Faith, Hope and Love.
Soon after the birth of the third daughter, Sofia was widowed. She committed to her daughters in order to grow them and to educate them in the spirit of Christian faith. Together they read and re-read the prophets and apostles books. But this way of life in this family, did made an impression in the surroundings. First, the governor of the area, Antiochus, assured that the whole family profess Christian faith and then he presented that to the Emperor Hadrian, a great opponent of Christianity and persecutor of Christians. The emperor called the mother and three daughters to make sure what he heard was true . But, they not only weren't afraid of that invitation, but they gladly went to the infamous ruler to whom the wise mother announced:

- I'm a christian! And I'm proud of that. My three daughters are also proud of that.

The emperor was surprised by the decisive statement of the mother, but did not want to immediately rule on their punishment, hoping to win. The conversation was adjourned for three days and in the meanwhile they were monitored by a Roman, named Palladio. During the three days, they lived with their mother at Palladio's home and the mother spoke to hers daughters only about the Christian faith. She wanted to further strengthen them in the faith, saying that the Son of God is worth to suffer and to die for, and that she would be happy to be the mother of martyrs who died for the Savior Jesus Christ.
After three days, the emperor called them again to court and offered the three girls to be his children, to give them great wealth, luxurious and comfortable life, only to renounce their faith and to start worshiping the gods rulers of the universe. Otherwise they are threatened with a cruel death.
The three girls, without fear, and with great determination in one voice answered:

- Our father is God who lives in heaven. He cares for us and we want to be respected by him. We want to be his real children. We only worship him and obey his commandments, and despise your gods. We are not afraid of your threats because we are ready to endure great suffering in the name of Jesus Christ, our God.

Surprised by such a response emperor asked the mother how old are her daughters, she replied:

- First, Vera is 12, Nada is 10 and the third Ljubov is 9 years old.

The emperor came to the idea that he can reach his goal with separate talks with the girls and with promises and threats. So first he called Faith, and offered sacrifice to the goddess Artemis, and when she refused, he put here on severe suffering and death. Then he did the same with the other two sisters, Hope and Love. The mother watched the suffering of her daughters convinced that they do that for our Savior Jesus Christ. Then she buried them together and and prayed over their grave for 3 days after she surrendered her soul to her Saviour, confident that she goes to her daughters. That happened in the year 126.
Holy Church declared Sophia a martyr too, because she is credited for bringing up their daughters, but also because she suffered along with them while the infamous emperor tortured them..




KRSTOVDEN (HOLY CROSS DAY)

On Krstovden or The Holy Cross day, the cross is celebrated as a symbol of victory over world vanity, a symbol of calmed rebellion of the inner man. Today, Krsto, Krstana, Kristo, Kristina, Kristijan celebrate this day.
Exaltation of the Cross or only Holy Cross is a great Christian feast from the autumn cycle, one of 12 major Christian holidays, which is an unchangeable holiday and according to the old calendar, it always falls on September 27 Holy Cross Day is a holiday of fasting and repentance.
holy cross day

The cross is called "the life-giving Cross" because of its miraculous powers. On this day, believers recall the crucified God-man, the Cross worthy of unconditional fidelity, and the inevitable salvation that comes through Christ's Crucifixion.

During the feast, the cross is laid in the center of the temple, surrounded by flowers and basil twigs .

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated to commemorate the finding of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. This event is attributed to the Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, founder of Constantinople (Constantinople).

The location of the cross of Christ was not known the first three centuries. It is thought that it was buried near his grave, because according to Jewish customs, crosses were buried near the graves. Empress Helena ordered to dig around the tomb of Christ, but there they found three crosses near Christ's tomb, because there were graves of the two thieves who were crucified at the same time as Christ..

The problem was they didn't know which of the three is the cross of Christ. At that time, passed a funeral procession and Empress Helena ordered to put the corpse on the three crosses. And a miracle occurred. On one of them, the dead become alive. It was a sign that it was the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

The residents of Jerusalem heard about this miracle and ran to see the cross. There was a great crowd that had been created and they couldn't see it. Then Bishop Macarius from Jerusalem repeatedly billowed and lowered cross turning on all four sides. People in thrill sang "Lord have mercy."

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a strict fast.

MACEDONIAN FOLKLORE

"A nation without its own folklore and without solid ethno-geneses is a tree without roots."


Ancient Macedonian culture was closely linked with the culture of Hellenes, which after the fall of the Macedonian empire was soon completely transformed, leaving only the memory of the great Macedonians. After the 6th century, a new culture came to the Balkans - the new Macedonians with Slavic origin, who had a completely different culture - they were later called Macedonians, living in the geographical region of Macedonia.
Everything from folklore has gone through the creative spirit of Macedonians. There were produced highly original and extremely artistic and craft values, ​​whose strongest expression can be seen in the phenomenon of folk art which contains venerable challenges, aspirations, sufferings and hopes of the Macedonian people. In such constellations, richness of forms and means of expression, they are nothing but emotional and artistic response to the turbulent cultural and historical processes through which Macedonians passed in the past millennia.

What is a folklore? 

Under folklore we understand all the material and spiritual culture of a people; songs and legends that they as a community have preserved over thousands of years, their traditions and customs, and even the way they dressed and built their houses. Folklore of the local population is like a whole system of beliefs that are added to the standard form of Christianity - the belief in magic and the energy of nature, and even the ancient rituals that were given Christian names only; at the same time, local folklore is telling fascinating stories about the struggles of the Saints with dragons or meetings with shepherds female demons that are called "fairies", stories about mighty heroes like King Marko (Krale Marko), which protects people and so on.

What is fascinating about the Balkan folklore is that the pagan culture is perfectly preserved under Orthodox Christian mask. One reason or another, Christianization here in southern Europe is not as complete as in most other places. People here call themselves Christians from the 9th century, but in fact, they have preserved their pagan traditions, giving them Christian form or name.

Macedonian folk world is full of magic and superstition, beautiful female demons (Fairies) and dragons. All traditional rituals and celebrations were considered an act of magic, most importantly for most of people, it was the only factor that gave balance with nature and nature's anger. In this context, there is a custom in July, is a great example of this. This custom is called Goreshnici (Days of heat) or Churuci (smoke or Schur). Throughout the year people retained the fireplace in their homes burning, and the only time I lit a fire outside the house are the days of Goreshnici (hot days) from 17th-19th July. In these three days it is forbidden to work and believed that if someone does not respect the customs, his home or grain will burn.

Macedonian traditional medicine

In the Middle Ages medical treatments were done by healers, who were both spiritual and community leaders. This is related to the fact that these people have inherited their knowledge from the ancient shamans. Treatments often include a dose of mysticism, but in most cases they are based on a deep knowledge of herbs.

Even today, homeopathic remedies and natural treatments for most diseases are really popular in Macedonia. A simple Google search for cancer in Macedonia, shows how popular are natural remedies for cancer.

Songs and legends from Macedonia.

Macedonian folk music is a synthesis of what the Macedonian people carried from their old land and what they inherited from their today's homeland and the wider environment. This music brings together ancient (Greek and Roman) elements, such as Byzantine (with an impact on spiritual music), Oriental (chalgii) and Western influences (old town songs (starogradski)).

Folk songs from Macedonia are known for their beauty, but there is something more in them. The lyrics of most of the songs date back to ancient times, and sometimes they are just playful songs, but sometimes they tell long and sad stories. Singing has always been a part of the activities of the Macedonians, they sing for grief and joy. These songs often tell stories about mythical creatures and legends.

Macedonian folk songs also tell stories of legendary heroes. These heroes are given superhuman powers and usually portrayed as protectors of the people. One of the most beloved heroes in Macedonia and the Balkans, was the real historical figure - Krale Marko, who was the ruler of the Prilep kingdom.

Musical folklore tradition is embodied in thousands of folk dances and Macedonian folk songs, thousands in number, sung long ago. It is a direct link with the past of the Macedonian people.
Macedonian folk art is a cultural phenomenon which can't leave one indifferent. It is based on cultural values from the ancient Macedonian experience, but it has also involved elements from later periods and some element from nations which existed in this area for centuries.

Macedonian folk costumes

The richness and diversity of traditional culture is most strikingly expressed in folk costumes. The red color and the color of the wine are colors of earth and fertility, while gold is the color of the gods (the sky) That is why our national costume is red with gold embroidery.
Folk Costumes in Macedonia have a tradition that lasts for centuries. They are part of the material culture of the Macedonian people and an important branch of folk art. Created as a collective benefit of all Macedonian people, they have been passed from generation to generation for many years and during their development, they included many elements of the diverse cultural influences that have crossed this part of the Balkans. The biggest influence comes from the Old Balkan, then the traditions of the civilizations of ancient Greece and the dressing culture of the ancient Slavs which inhabited this part of the Balkan Peninsula from V to VII century.

The influence of folklore is great and in contemporary musical trends, where authors go towards artistic stylized folk rituals, without turning away from the original, the folklore idiom. Folk songs were and remain permanent source of new inspirations in music creation.


Material folk artifacts

Items such as dolls, decorative items used in religious rituals, hand-built houses and stables, handmade clothes and other trades are considered folk artifacts, grouped in the field known as "material culture" . In addition, the figures reflect folk characters and can be considered folk artifacts depending on how they are used in one culture. Its definition will depend on whether the artifacts are used and appreciated by the society that made them and whether they meet the social aesthetics.

MACEDONIAN WEDDING CUSTOMS


Wedding customs are part of the tradition of every nation. They make every wedding different and special. Special customs are practiced in the days before the wedding and on the very wedding day, which according to popular beliefs, have the goal to protect young people, to bring happiness and love and to unite in one family.

There are various ways of performing these customs and different beliefs and practices are inherited from different ends of the country.
Macedonian wedding customs

In Macedonia, almost every town has at least one different custom done before or during the wedding. Often the bride and the groom do not know what must and where/how to do these customs. But what unites them all is the belief in luck and tradition.

Here are the single most performed Macedonian wedding customs practiced in different parts of Macedonia:

- Kneading bread for fortune of the young a day before the wedding. It should be kneaded by a non married girl from the female side.

- Decorating the homes of young people on Thursday before the wedding by placing a wreath at the outer door that will stand the whole year, as a sign that that family had a wedding.

- When they come to ask for the bride, two girls are standing at the entrance and adorn them with flowers,  men on the left side, women on the right, and they leave money.

- Matchmakers and the best man go first to the home of the groom, play dances, sing songs and then go after the bride.

-  Male family members are standing at the door of the bride and don't let the groom to enter, until he pays or until he is very persistent in pushing the door.

- When he enters, he must kiss the bride three times.

- In some parts before entering the groom, the bride sees the groom through the wedding ring from the window or door and says three times: "Through ring I see you, in your heart I enter!"

- Once the groom, best man, brother in law and matchmakers enter, an unmarried girl from the bride side should bind to a tie on one hand of the brother in law. When finished tying, one of the two should be faster, the girl can slap the brother in law or he can kiss her.

- The brother in law carries bridal shoes that are one size bigger, he fills shoes with money until they fit well on bride's feet.

- The bride should give wedding gifts to the godfathers, matchmakers, mother in law, brother in law or sister in law.

- The groom should drink a glass of red wine in the house of the bride, and there should be a golden coin on the bottom of the glass which groom keeps as a symbol of prosperity.

- Bread is broken over the heads of the young for happiness.

- All sit at the table to toast and the bride is welcomed with dances and songs while her father is carrying her out.

- For easy and good marriage, the bride has to dump a glass bowl with water.

- When going to church, the godfather brings lane which binds the young's hands and how many times he binds their hands - that many children they will have.


- When leaving the church, mother in law throws rice, candies and coins in the way and small children collect them as a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

- After marriage becomes official in the Wedding department, everyone congratulates the newlyweds.

- The newlyweds welcome all guests in the restaurant and play the first wedding waltz on their favorite song.

- They toast with champagne together with the godfathers and the matchmakers.


- Then, folk dances start and last until serving dinner.

- The wedding cake is cut after dinner and piece of cake is shared to all guests.


- Finally, bride throws her wedding bouquet, one that will catch it is believed to be the next bride.



FRIED LIVERS WITH ONIONS (2 RECIPES)

I love to eat livers. Whether livers are considered a laboratory of the organism, I still love them. Baked in foil in the oven ... yummy, you'll lick your fingers. After I got married, I don't eat livers so often - I'm the only one that eats them and I hate eating alone, so I stopped cooking them.

Tip: always before you begin to cook livers, leave them some time to stand in fresh milk. That way livers will be juicy and won't dry, especially if fried. And most importantly, don't add salt before cooking, but add salt or mixed spices at the end of cooking.

I usually cook livers with lots of onions. I add several big chopped onions to a slightly fried livers, add dried chili peppers (they go great with the liver), a little sauce (homemade tomato sauce), after a nice fry I add spices, water and leave to cook and to evaporate the water. There are different ways to prepare livers, here I present you 2 different recipes.

Recipe 1: Lamb livers 

Ingredients: 

For livers:

  • 500 g lamb livers (large pieces with about 1-2 cm thickness)
  • flour
  • sea ​​salt
  • black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon butter

For the onions:
  • 1 large onion, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • a few drops of balsamic vinegar
  • black pepper

Preparation:
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat, place chopped onion in the pan, season with pepper, then cook until the onions get golden brown color. Stir frequently to avoid burning. 
  2. Add the mustard and vinegar and leave to simmer until liquid almost evaporates. The entire process should take about 20 minutes.
  3. After onions, prepare livers. Coat livers in flour, heat the olive oil in a pan at the highest temperature. Put livers to cook until darkened and softened, for about 1 minute on both sides (inside should remain slightly pink and externally beautifully darkened). Add a little butter in order to enrich the flavor. Add salt and spices in the end.
  4. Align cooked livers on a plate for serving and add the onions sauce on top.
Recipe 2: Chicken livers

Ingredients:

  • 500 g chicken livers
  • 2 onions
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • laurel leaf
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • oil for cooking
  • parsley 

 Preparation:

  1. Divide chicken livers in halves. 
  2. Chop onions, garlic and carrots in cubes.
  3. In a saucepan heat a little oil in which the liver is cooked shortly and when lightly browned, add chopped vegetables. Mix and cook until soft.
  4. Then add the crushed tomato puree, bay leaf and garlic, allow to cook for a few minutes and stir occasionally.
  5. Before the end add salt and sprinkle black pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Finished goulash sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Enjoy!

8TH OF SEPTEMBER, INDEPENDENCE DAY OF REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

Independence Day, September 8th in Macedonia is celebrated since 1991. On that day, the Macedonian people got out on a Referendum and in democratic manner voted for independence by majority votes - 95% of citizens who came to the referendum, responded positively to the referendum question: " Are you for independent Macedonia with the right to enter into a future alliance with sovereign Yugoslav states? "
A large share in this act had the Macedonian emigrants in Germany, Sweden, Norway, USA, Canada, Australia. Macedonians outside strongly supported the centuries-old idea of ​​the Macedonian people for their own independent state. I must mention that with their immense moral support, as well as financial support and enthusiasm, was established VMRO DPMNE, the party that is most deserving for an independent and sovereign Macedonia.

After the referendum, the world's leading media came out stating that the majority of voters were in favor of independence of Macedonia and that it would mean a step closer to the breakup of Yugoslavia.

"... What is mainly required with this referendum is an affirmative approaches to that age-old struggle of the Macedonian nation, which was once solved with guns and blood. Today free and with our own cultural emancipation and national consciousness, we are determined for creating an independent and sovereign state and then to approach with our legal legitimacy, liberated from all allegiance philosophy and inferiority in negotiations with the parties, which are the six republics of Yugoslavia and no otherwise and it gave us the right to say that our sovereignty and our independence are seen only as an incentive motivation, inspiration and legal legitimacy to get in an alliance with sovereign states. Hence our idea and we want to build a new community of sovereign Yugoslav states based on these principles and this view. But if that doesn't happen, then the historical obligation and destiny will makes us to approach ourselves to walk trough our own sovereign state, ie all its segments in legal, political, economic system and it will give us a chance to establish partnership with all who have an interest to be with us and Europe is that home that will integrate and connect us together .... "- part of the speech of the academician Nicola Kljusev, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia.

"Dear citizens of Macedonia, allow me tonight to congratulate you and all citizens of Macedonia the free, sovereign and independent Macedonia". With these words, 25 years ago then Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov addressed the citizens which spontaneously gathered in the square "Macedonia" to celebrate the successful referendum.

The referendum was preceded by a Declaration of Independence at the first multi party Macedonian Parliament on January 25, 1991.

Formally the will of the people for independent state was confirmed with the declaration of acceptance of the referendum results on September 18, 1991 in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.
The next important step in the strengthening of the state was the adoption of the new Constitution on 17 November 1991. Majority of the Albanian ethnic community boycotted the referendum and Albanian MEPs in Parliament didn't support the new constitution.
Ten years later, the Constitution was supplemented after the 2001 conflict and signing of the Framework Agreement (Ramkoven dogovor).

After the failure of the Conference on the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Yugoslavia, the key place takes the Declaration of dissolution of Yugoslavia, adopted by the Council of Ministers of the European Union on 16 December 1991 which called on Yugoslav republics to declare whether they want to become independent and internationally recognized states.
Macedonia was among four of the six former Yugoslav republics, along with Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia who voted in favor in the Declaration.
Although only Slovenia and Macedonia received positive reviews from the specially Badinter Commission that satisfy the requirements for independence, the European Community in mid-January, 1992, recognized only Slovenia and Croatia.

In that period, ie on 15 January 1992, Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the statehood of Macedonia. Subsequent were decisions to establish diplomatic relations by Turkey, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
International legal status of the state was definitely confirmed on April 8, 1993 whenwith acclamation at the General Assembly of the United Nations, Macedonia was admitted as the 181st full-fledged UN member.

However, because of opposition and pressure from Greece, which doesn't accept our constitutional name, the UN accession was carried out under interim reference Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

|The last years were marked by the process of adapting legislation harmonization with the European Union and NATO.

Congratulations and happy Independence day!

FANURIJA (FANOUROPITA) SWEET BREAD FOR FULFILLING WISHES

Fanuropita or fanurija is a cake which is mostly prepared in Bitola and Prilep on 9th of September when the day of St.Fanurij the martyr is celebrated. This cake is also widely prepared in Greece on every 27th of August. It's a lovely, traditional low-fat cake. It's named after the holy Fanurij or Fanuriosu, a young man who once lived on the island of Rhodes. This cake is also prepared when you want to find something (or have lost a job, love, home ...) or to fulfill a wish. People pray to the holy Fanurij, make this cake and holy Fanurij will bring you what you want, or what you've lost.


Short story about Fanurij:
His mother was a bad woman, and when she died, nobody prayed for the repose of her soul. Fanurios, honest and a good fellow, helped everyone and he didn't charged people for his help, but begged them to pray to the Lord to forgive the sins of his mother. The young Fanurios died very young. In his memory, and in memory of his mother, a woman from the island of Rhodes began to make this cake.
St. Fanurij a glorious martyr which is celebrated on September 9 and believed that he helps in fulfilling the wishes of the people. On that occasion, believers knead this cake with 9 ingredients. Custom is to bring this bread with a candle in the middle, along with a little red wine in church to be blessed and sung by a priest. Once the bread is blessed, it is broke with hands and given away with a good thought to other believers in church, at home, friends etc. It is interesting that while bread is kneaded, the person who kneads it prays for grace, happiness and peace in the family, and then makes a wish.

In the Greek language the verb "fanerono" means "to show", so this cake is prepared when you lose or loss something. Fanuropita is always made of seven or nine ingredients.
.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup orange juice and grated zest of orange
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ kg flour
  • 1 cup fanta
  • 150 g raisins

  • oil for coating the pan
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling
  • powdered sugar (optional)
Preparation:
  1. Take a bowl and mix the orange juice, olive oil, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and flour with fanta until the mixture is smooth. Add raisins and grated orange peel in the end.
  2. Grease round pan with a brush and sprinkle sesame seeds on the surface. Pour the mixture, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with almonds if desired.
  3. Bake at 180 C degrees for about 50 minutes. When ready and when cooled, cut in 9 pieces and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Share with 9 families.

The tradition of this cake-pie is to take it to church to be consecrated.

MOTHER TERESA FROM MACEDONIA DECLARED A SAINT

Mother Teresa the humanist was born as Gondza Bojadziu in Skopje on August 26, 1910. She was a missioner of goodness and winner of numerous awards, including the Nobel prize.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, in a ceremony held at the "St. Peter" square, declared Mother Teresa a saint on September the 4th, 2016. The canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa was attended by Macedonian state and church delegation, led by President Gjorge Ivanov.


The canonization of Mother Teresa was also attended by numerous pilgrims and dignitaries from around the world. The presence of 13 heads of state or government was announced and 600 accredited journalists from all over the world covered the event that was followed by 125 tv houses. Vatican Radio transmitted live in six languages.

Otherwise, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and her miraculous nature was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Following the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, a saint can become a person that has made at least two miracles. The ceremony of her beatification as a blessed person was a step towards declaring a saint. Beatification took place in 2003, six years after her demise, after Pope John Paul II recognized her first miracle, curing the Indian woman Monica Besra in 1998 who was diagnosed with tumors in her abdomen. Five years later, Pope Francis recognized the second miracle of Mother Teresa, connected with her power of healing, inexplicable healing of man from Brazil with a few brain tumors in 2008, while he was in coma.

According to the Catholic church, her holiness is that she dedicated her live to help the most vulnerable groups in society.

The ceremony of beatification of Mother Teresa, held at the "St. Peter" in Rome, was attended by over 300 thousand pilgrims. The solemn service was managed by then head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, while the ceremony was attended by numerous Macedonian delegation, led by President Boris Trajkovski.

Her words will not tell us anything new, nothing that we have not heard. They are simple, just as her life, but powerful as much as her work. These are one of her greatest quotes:

"Let us always meet with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

"Believe in small things because in them lies your strength."

"Love begins at home, and it doesn't matter how much we do, but how much love we bring in what we do."

"Spread the love wherever you go. When someone comes to you, let them leave happier than they came. "

"Being unwanted, uncared, forgotten by all ... it means to be hungrier and poorer than the one who has nothing to eat."

"Peace is born from a smile."

"If you can not feed 100 people, feed at least one person."

"Each of us feels that what he does is just a drop in the ocean. But if we do nothing, the ocean will be poorer for that one drop. "

"We will never be aware of how a simple smile can make many good things."