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August 7


Saint of the day:
Saints Sixtus & Companions

Saint Sixtus II and Companions’ Story

Freedom to assemble has always been one of the first liberties that dictators deny to subjects (and one highly prized by our American forebears). The emperor Valerian published his first decree against Christians in 257 and forbade them to hold assemblies. Pope Sixtus had been pope for only one year when he was murdered while presiding at the Eucharist in one of the underground caverns used as cemeteries (catacombs). He and four deacons were seized and beheaded. Two other deacons were probably martyred the same day, and Saint Lawrence four days later.

During his year in office, Sixtus had to deal with the controversy about the validity of baptism by heretics. He supported the positive view but was tolerant toward the practice of the Eastern Church which rebaptized those who had received the sacrament from heretics.

The negative view was shared by Saint Cyprian, to whom Sixtus sent messengers for discussion. Sixtus was asked to be patient with those in error, and contented himself with a strong recommendation of the truth. Other popes did the same, until the error was finally condemned.





San Sisto Vecchio

(Old Saint Sixtus)

Piazzale Numa Pompilio 8

Rome, Italy

*This church is south of the Colosseum.

*The relics of St Sixtus II were moved from the Catacombs of San Callisto to this church.

A small stone located within the wall on the left side of the nave marks their location.

*Pope Honorius III gave this church to the Dominican order with the issue of a Papal Bull dated December 3, 1218.

This was the first Dominican monastery in Rome.

*The Miracle of the Bread attributed to St Dominic occurred within the refectory of this monastery. This room can be visited.




We are celebrating with a Greek recipe because our Saint was from Greece.


An amazing go‑to, Greek, dream snack that absolutely nothing beats, are homemade, portable Greek pies called Tyropitakia or Kreatopitakia.

Tyropitakia & Kreatopitakia (Greek Individual Cheese Pies & Meat Pies) I like making my individual pies rather substantial. I like a lot of filling. Feel free to make them smaller if you want. The dough for these pies is a version of the Greek kourou dough, made with yoghurt and butter which is the best version in my opinion. There are other versions that contain margarine, olive oil (like this one) and are made with or without yoghurt.

Greek pies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and they are the quintessence of Greek food. They can have a number of different fillings and the dough can be made with various ingredients and in different ways thus giving each pie a distinctive texture and taste.

The melt‑in‑your‑mouth dough is made with Greek strained yoghurt and a generous amount of butter and once baked in the oven, it becomes puffy, flaky and crispy on the edges. The filling of the cheese pie is the glorious Greek feta which is combined with just one egg that allows the tangy, creamy flavor of the cheese to shine through, whereas the filling of the meat pies is lean minced beef that is sautéed in a skillet with onions and finished off with a good sprinkling of chopped fresh dill.

Tyropitakia & Kreatopitakia (Greek Individual Cheese Pies & Meat Pies)

Yield: 35 individual pies (17 cheese & 18 meat pies) about 14 cm long and 4 cm wide each

Ingredients for the dough

  • 800 g self‑rising flour

  • ½ tsp sea salt

  • 380 g unsalted butter, softened

  • 480 g Greek strained yoghurt,
    preferably 2% fat (Total brand is the one I use)

    *Don't overwork the dough because it will
    tighten up and be tough when you bake the pies.


Cheese filling

  • 300 g feta cheese

  • 1 large egg


Beef filling

  • 2 large onions, around 370 g total (grate the onion in a large box grater)

  • 260 g lean veal or beef, minced

  • 40 ml (a little less than 3 Tbsp) olive oil

  • 20 g (a small bunch) dill, finely chopped

  • 50 ml water

  • Salt Black pepper, freshly ground

  • 1 small egg, beaten, for brushing over the pies

  • 3‑4 Tbsp nigella seeds, for sprinkling over the pies


Special equipment:

grater with coarse grating surface, stand mixer (optional),
large baking trays, baking paper

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The dough

  1. In a large bowl, add the flour and salt and stir with a spoon.

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients for the dough and knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough that is pliable and somewhat soft but doesn't stick to your hands.

  3. Don't overwork the dough because it will tighten up and be tough when you bake the pies.
    Note: Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.

  4. Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest in the bowl at room temperature for 15 minutes, covered with a clean kitchen towel. If the temperature in your kitchen is very hot, put the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes instead.

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Beef filling

  1. In the meantime, grate the onions using a box grater (coarse grating surface) and add them to a large skillet/frying pan.

  2. Add the olive oil and cook over medium heat until the liquid from the onions has evaporated, for about 8 minutes.

  3. The onions shouldn't be browned.

  4. Add the minced beef and sauté lightly stirring often.

  5. Add the freshly ground pepper, chopped dill and water and let beef cook for 10‑12 minutes over low heat.
    Don't put the lid on and make sure to stir regularly.

  6. Add salt and take pan off the heat. The filling should not be very wet otherwise the pies will be soggy.

  7. Allow the filling to cool.

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Cheese filling

  1. Grate the feta cheese using a box grater (coarse grating surface) and put it in a medium‑sized bowl.

  2. Break the egg inside the bowl and stir with a spoon until you have a homogenous mixture.

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Roll out the dough


  1. Divide the dough into 35 pieces and shape them into balls the size of a small mandarin.

  2. Working on a clean surface, take each ball and roll it into a croquette shape (see photographs above).
    Note: as far as the dough is prepared and kneaded properly, you will not need to flour it in order to shape it and roll it out. Also, you will not need a rolling pin but just your hands since the dough is pliable.
    Take each croquette‑shaped dough piece and using your fingertips, press the dough outwards in order to spread it open and create 17 x 9 cm rectangles with a thickness of around 0,4 cm.

  3. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.


Prepare the cheese & meat pies

  1. Place the filling along the center of each rectangle lengthwise.

  2. For the cheese pies place 3/4‑1 Tbsp of filling
    and for the meat pies 1‑1½ Tbsp of filling on each piece of dough.

  3. Don't spread the filling towards the edges of the dough because you'll not be able to seal them properly.

  4. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together, pressing down to form rolls and tuck the two far edges inwards (see these photographs).

  5. Place the pies, seam side down and spacing them well apart because they will puff up during baking, on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

  6. Brush the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle some with all of them with the nigella seeds.

  7. Place them on the middle rack of the oven and bake them for about 40 minutes, until they take on a golden‑ brown color.

  8. Take them out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.

  9. Continue baking the rest of the pies.

  10. Eat them the same day, warm or at room temperature. They are equally delicious the next day without the dough becoming soggy and losing its crispy and buttery texture. Keep them at room temperature, lightly covered with aluminum foil, for a day or two although I highly doubt they'll last that long.

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