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January 2


Saint of the day:
Saint Gregory of Nazianzus

On the 9th Day of Christmas....
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit-----
Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience [Forbearance], Goodness [Kindness], Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continency [Chastity]

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus' Story

After his baptism at 30, Gregory gladly accepted his friend Basil’s invitation to join him in a newly founded monastery. The solitude was broken when Gregory’s father, a bishop, needed help in his diocese and estate. It seems that Gregory was ordained a priest practically by force, and only reluctantly accepted the responsibility. He skillfully avoided a schism that threatened when his own father made compromises with Arianism. At 41, Gregory was chosen suffragan bishop of Caesarea and at once came into conflict with Valens, the emperor, who supported the Arians.

An unfortunate by-product of the battle was the cooling of the friendship of two saints. Basil, his archbishop, sent him to a miserable and unhealthy town on the border of unjustly created divisions in his diocese. Basil reproached Gregory for not going to his See.

When protection for Arianism ended with the death of Valens, Gregory was called to rebuild the faith in the great see of Constantinople, which had been under Arian teachers for three decades. Retiring and sensitive, he dreaded being drawn into the whirlpool of corruption and violence. He first stayed at a friend’s home, which became the only orthodox church in the city. In such surroundings, he began giving the great sermons on the Trinity for which he is famous. In time, Gregory did rebuild the faith in the city, but at the cost of great suffering, slander, insults, and even personal violence. An interloper even tried to take over his bishopric.

His last days were spent in solitude and austerity. He wrote religious poetry, some of it autobiographical, of great depth and beauty. He was acclaimed simply as “the Theologian.” St. Gregory Nazianzen shares the celebration of his liturgical feast with St. Basil the Great on January 2.







Saint George's Cathedral and Ecumenical Patriarchate

Yavuz Sultan Selim, Dr. Sadık Ahmet Cd. No:19, 34083 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey




Hünkar Beğendi

Hünkar Beğendi (The Sultan's Delight) recipe.

Hünkar Beğendi or Sultan's Delight, is an old Turkish recipe going back hundreds years to the Ottoman Empire.


The Lamb Stew

  • 900 g leg of lamb diced

  • 2 Tbsp flour

  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 2 medium onions halved then sliced

  • 1 green capsicum bell pepper,
    halved, then sliced in 1cm/half in strips

  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 4 medium tomatoes,
    roughly chopped, about 2.5cm/1 in

  • 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 500 ml chicken stock


  • 4 medium aubergines eggplants

  • 3 Tbsp butter

  • 3 Tbsp flour

  • 500 ml whole milk

  • 30 g parmesan cheese grated

  • 30 g medium cheddar grated

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 large handful fresh parsley chopped


Let's start by preparing the aubergines.

  1. Place the aubergines over an open flame on a metal trivet and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, turning from time to time, until the skin looks burnt and the aubergines are soft to the touch. You could also just place a sheet of foil over the gas flame, instead of a trivet. Leave to cool.

While the aubergines are roasting, let's make the lamb stew.

  1. Coat the lamb pieces with the flour, the chilli powder, the salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over high heat, add the lamb and sugar and brown the lamb pieces for 5 minutes, turning the lamb frequently.

  3. Lower the heat down to medium and tip in the onion slices and fry for 2 minutes, again, stirring frequently.

  4. Add the garlic and capsicum (green pepper) and cook for a minute, stirring.

  5. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano and stir for 30 seconds to mix everything thoroughly.

  6. Add the stock and bring to boil.

  7. Lower the heat right down, cover and leave to simmer for 1 - 1 and a half hours, until the lamb is cooked right through and beautifully tender.

Let's make the Beğendi.

  1. The aubergines should be fairly cool now, scrape out the soft pulp and place in a chopper. Throw away the skins.

  2. Chop or blend to a smooth purée and set aside.

  3. Now, let's make some Bechamel Sauce. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.

  4. Add the flour and whisk with a small whisk or wooden spoon for 2 minutes until the roux has thickened, is bubbling and gives off a lovely cooked aroma.

  5. Slowly, add the milk, whisking continuously. Be careful, the first drip will splutter.

  6. Cook the bechamel sauce for 4 - 5 minutes until it thickens to the consistency of custard.

  7. Take it off the heat and stir in both cheeses until they melt. Shouldn't take more than a minute.

  8. Now, stir in the aubergine purée, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper until it's all completely mixed in and you have a beautiful aubergine cheese sauce. Check the salt and add more if necessary.

  9. Stir in half the chopped parsley.

To Serve

  • You have 2 choices: serve the whole lot in a large platter or divide everything into individual plates. Whatever you go with, pour the smoky aubergine sauce onto a plate and top with the lamb stew.

  • Scatter with the other half of the parsley and serve with plenty of bread.

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