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September 26


Saint of the day:

Prophet Gideon

Prophet Gideon

Gideon (/ˈɡɪdiən/),[a] (Hebrew: גדעון) also named Jerubbaal[b] and Jerubbesheth[c], was a military leader, judge and prophet whose calling and victory over the Midianites are recounted in Judges 6-8 of the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible. Gideon was the son of Joash, from the Abiezrite clan in the tribe of Manasseh and lived in Ephra (Ophrah). As a leader of the Israelites, he won a decisive victory over a Midianite army despite a vast numerical disadvantage, leading a troop of 300 'valiant' men.[Judges 7] Archaeologists in southern Israel have found a 3,100-year-old fragment of a jug with five letters written in ink that appear to represent the name Jerubbaal, or Yeruba’al.


The Righteous Gideon, whose name means “destroyer,” appears in chapters 6-8 of Judges. He was the son of Joash the Abiezrite. One day, as he was beating out wheat in the wine press, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Gideon gathered an army of men from various towns to fight the Midianites, then asked God to give him a sign that he would be able to deliver Israel. First, he placed a fleece of wool on the floor of the threshing room. Then he said, “If there is dew on the fleece alone, and if the ground is dry, then I shall know that thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said.”

The next morning Gideon got up early and squeezed the fleece, wringing out enough water to fill a bowl. Then he asked God to let the fleece remain dry and to let there be dew on the ground. When Gideon saw that this had been done, the powerful warrior of Manasseh led an army of 300 men to victory over the Midianites.

The people entreated him to be their ruler, and also his son and grandson, but he would not agree to this, because the Lord was their ruler. However, Gideon was a Judge for forty years, and during that time the land had rest.

The Righteous Gideon is referenced in Ode 9 of the second Canon for the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Let us all magnify the radiant cloud, in which the Master of all descended, as dew from Heaven upon the fleece” (Judges 6:37). He is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:32 with others “who through faith conquered kingdoms.”









The Temple of Baal, in Palmyra, Syria

G7WF+XJW, Palmyra, Syria





"Putting out a Fleece"

Gideon requested proof of God's will by three miracles: firstly a sign from the Angel of the Lord, in which the angel appeared to Gideon and caused fire to shoot up out of a rock (Judges 6:11-22), and then two signs involving a fleece, performed on consecutive nights and the exact opposite of each other. First waking to his fleece covered in dew, but the surrounding ground dry. Then the next morning, his fleece dry but the surrounding ground covered in dew. (Judges 6:36-40). On God's instruction, Gideon destroyed the town's altar to Baal and the symbol of the goddess Asherah beside it, receiving the byname of Jerubbaal from his father: Therefore on that day he (Joash) called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar. — Judges 6:32

In the New Testament, Gideon is mentioned in chapter 11 of the Epistle to the Hebrews as an example of a man of faith, one of several "heroes of faith" mentioned there:[20] Time would fail me to tell of Gideon [and others] who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.[21] Gideon is regarded as a saint by Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Latin Rite Catholic Churches. He is also commemorated, together with the other righteous figures of the Old Testament, on the Sunday before Christmas (Fourth Sunday of Advent). He is commemorated as one of the Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30, and in the Roman Martyrology of the Latin Rite on September 26. In the Protestant Reformation, the Gideon narrative was employed in polemics against the Catholic clergy. Hans von Rüte's Gideon (1540) compares the removal of saints' relics from churches to Gideon's destruction of Baal's altar. Gideons International is an American organization dedicated to Christian evangelism, founded in 1899, dedicated to the distribution of free Bibles. The organization's logo represents a two-handled pitcher and torch, symbolizing the implements used by Gideon to scare the Midianite army.

Origin of the phrase "putting out a fleece" The origin of the phrase "putting out a fleece" is a reference to the story of Gideon meaning to look for a sign from God before undertaking some action or carrying out some plan.

Gideon has become symbolic of military success of a small elite force against overwhelming numerical odds. 

The fleece of Gideon prefigures Mary, the Theotokos. At Christmas, “For as rain upon the fleece hast Thou descended into a virgin womb…” And at Annunciation, “Gideon saw thee as a fleece…” How did the fleece prefigure Mary? The dew, Christ? The fleece also prefigures Theophany, in the matins service: “The fleece that Gideon saw prophetically, from which he wringed a bowl full of water, clearly disclosed the baptism, O Christ…” How?

In midevil times the unicorn is used as a metaphor  which signified Jesus. This noble animal is depicted in its legendary relation to a virgin, but specifically, the Virgin Mary, who fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah. The use of the unicorn as a symbol for Christ, especially in relation to his virgin mother, indicates this connection was well known and other monastics living the contemplative life. That when used the connection between Christ and the unicorn in a preaching manual suggests that late-medieval preachers would have used the connection as well, thus transmitting the idea orally to the noble and common people of the laity.The idea of the unicorn as a symbol for Christ, in other words, would have been well-known by this time–a virtual common place.

*Legend tells that their horns can purify poisoned water, this can be seen in: The Hunt of the Unicorn, which refers to an animal with a single horn that can only be tamed by a virgin; Christian scholars translated this into an allegory for Christ's relationship with the Virgin Mary. the unicorn is a symbol of purity, innocence and power.)


How did the development of the unicorn as a symbol for Christ affect literature and culture in the Middle Ages?

Once the unicorn had been transformed into a Christian symbol, the symbolic power of the unicorn had a significant influence on medieval literature, culture, and art. So wether in texts, both written and woven, explore the meaning of the Christian unicorn symbolism!





Unicorn Marbled dipped Sugar Cookies


Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (170g)

  • 1/2 cup or 4 oz. full fat cream cheese, room temperature (113g)

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)

  • 1 large egg, room temperature (56g)

  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (8ml)

  • 1 tsp almond extract (4ml)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (8g)

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (2g)

  • 1/2 tsp salt (3g)

Marbled Royal Icing (adapted from Wilton)

  • 4 cups powdered sugar (500g)

  • 1/4 cup meringue powder (36g)

  • 1/3 cup water, room temp (80ml)

  • 2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (8ml)

  • additional water to bring to flooding consistency
    (I used 4 Tbsp but this can vary!



Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

  1. Mix together 3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup cream cheese at a medium speed with a whisk attachment or hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Next, mix in 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at a medium-high speed for a couple minutes, until the mixture becomes lighter in color.

  3. Add in 1 egg, 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and 1 tsp almond extract. Mix on a low speed until incorporated.

  4. In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.

  5. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture on a low speed, until it is JUST incorporated. I like to do this in a couple additions and scrape the sides of the bowl between additions.

  6. At this point the dough will still be pretty sticky. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece of dough in a piece of plastic wrap.

  7. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours or the freezer for 30 minutes.

  8. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F at this point in the process about 30 minutes before you plan to roll out the dough.

  9. Generously dust the surface you plan to roll the cookies out on with additional flour.

  10. Take one ball of dough out of the fridge or freezer, leaving the other to continue to chill.

  11. Sprinkle some more flour on top of your dough ball and on your rolling pin. Roll the chilled dough to be 1/3 inch thick and cut out your shapes with a flour dusted cookie cutter.

  12. Use a kitchen brush to gently brush off any excess flour and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or silicone mat.

  13. Chill the cut out cookies one more time in the fridge for 15 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes to help them keep their shape better.

  14. Bake for 9-11 minutes on the top wrack of your oven (time varies based on the size and shape of the cookies). Keep a close eye on these and be sure to pull them out before the edges start to brown.

  15. Let the baked cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

  16. While the first batch bakes and cools, knead together the cookie dough scraps, and rewrap them in plastic wrap. Pop them back in the fridge to chill.

  17. Pull out your 2nd chilled ball of dough, and repeat steps 9-15. Then repeat with the chilled dough scraps.

Marbled Royal Icing

  1. While the cookies cool, make the royal icing.

  2. Whisk together 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup meringue powder in the large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.

  3. Add in 1/3 cup water and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix on a medium speed until stiff peaks form (takes about 5 minutes).

  4. Next, add in water 1 Tbsp at a time until flooding consistency is reached. I used about 4 Tbsp of water, but it can vary batch to batch.

  5. To test the consistency, use the Figure 8 test! Lift up your spoon or spatula and create a figure 8 with the runoff frosting. If the figure 8 disappears in exactly 8 seconds, the icing is ready to use as a cookie glaze. If it melts away faster, thicken by adding a spoonful of powdered sugar. Or if it takes longer than 8 seconds to disappear, thin by adding a few drops of cream.

  6. Repeat this test, adjusting as you go, until the frosting passes the figure 8 test.

  7. To prevent crusting, place saran wrap directly on top of the royal icing. If you leave the frosting exposed to air for too long, it will crust and form a chunky top layer! Be sure keep frosting covered until right before you plan to use it.

  8. Once you're ready to decorate the cooled cookies, color 1/2 cup of the royal icing a color of your choice with gel food coloring and place into a small piping bag.

  9. Color another 1/2 of frosting a complimentary color and place in a separate piping bag.

  10. Cut the tips of both piping bags to create a small opening (1/4 of an inch).

  11. Drizzle both frosting colors over the uncolored icing. Use a toothpick to drag lines through the colors to create a swirled pattern. This pattern will create that beautiful marbled royal icing sugar cookies.

  12. Then dunk cookies into the glaze, one at a time. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the cookie and let any excess run off before flipping the cookie over to dry.

  13. After each dunk, drizzle and swirl a bit more of the colored icing to ensure every cookie is nice and colorful.

  14. Allow the cookies to dry for an hour or until they are firm to the touch.

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