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July 8


Saint of the day:

Saint Procopius of Scythopolis

Patron Saint of Niš, Serbia

Saint Procopius' Story

Saint Procopius was a martyr and the first victim of the persecution of the Church in Palestine by Emperor Diocletian. The account of his martyrdom was composed by the historian Eusebius of Caesarea who called him "the Great." He was born in Jerusalem but moved to Scythopolis. Procopius was a reader in Scythopolis at the time of his arrest by Roman authorities. He was beheaded.


Saint Procopius holds the distinction of being the first Christian martyr of his city in what today is northern Israel.
He was born in Jerusalem and was well educated and known for his virtue, grace, humility and chastity. He held three offices in the Sycythopolis church: reader, translator of Greek and exorcist. He was arrested upon entering the city of Caesarea Maritima and offered freedom by the judge, Flavian, if he would sacrifice to the gods.
Procopius replied that there is but one true God. So, Flavian offered him an opening if he would sacrifice instead to the emperors Diocletian, Herculius, Galerius and Constantius. Procopius replied with a quote from Homer, “It is not good to have several masters; let there be only one ruler and one king.”
For his refusal, Procopius was beheaded. Over the centuries many legends were fabricated about the saint. He survived many tortures, killed 6,000 soldiers by holding up a cross and converting his guards using arguments from Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. Another has him being made a duke and persecutor of Christians before having a dramatic Paul-like conversion.

The Legend
One story claimed that he slew circa 6,000 barbarian invaders simply by showing them the cross. One legend, similar to that told of St. Paul of Tarsus, claimed that he was a persecutor of Christians named Neanias whom Roman Emperor Diocletian appointed as duke of Alexandria, Egypt: on the way from Antioch, Neanias experienced a vision and declared himself to be a Christian.




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Beit She'an, Israel





Serbian Potato Musaka

A recipe for Serbian Potato Musaka! Layers of sliced potatoes are arranged with ground meat, covered in a beaten egg mixture, and baked until golden.


  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil plus more for greasing the pan

  • 1 medium onion chopped

  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground beef or other ground meat

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) russet potatoes


  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup (240 grams) yogurt or sour cream

  • 1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) milk

  • 1 teaspoon Salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Parsley for garnish, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C) and grease a 9x13 inch (23x33 centimeter) baking dish with olive oil.

  2. In a large pan, drizzle the 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) olive oil over medium heat.

  3. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned.

  4. Sir in the ground beef, breaking up with a spoon, and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking and breaking apart the meat until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

  5. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch (6 millimeter) thick slices.

  6. Layer half of the sliced potatoes, about 2 layers, across the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Cover the potatoes carefully with the cooked ground meat in an even layer. Top with the remaining potatoes, another 2 layers.

To make the topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream or yogurt, milk, salt, and pepper.

  2. Pour evenly over the potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Broil, if desired, to crisp the top further.

  3. Allow to sit for 10-20 minutes to settle before slicing and serving. If desired, sprinkle with a little chopped parsley.

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