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December 4


Saint of the day:
Saint John of Damascus

Patron Saint of Pharmacists, icon painters, theology students

"The Doctor of Christian Art."

Saint John Damascene’s Story

John spent most of his life in the monastery of Saint Sabas, near Jerusalem, and all of his life under Muslim rule, indeed, protected by it.

He was born in Damascus, received a classical and theological education, and followed his father in a government position under the Arabs. After a few years, he resigned and went to the monastery of Saint Sabas.

He is famous in three areas:

First, he is known for his writings against the iconoclasts, who opposed the veneration of images. Paradoxically, it was the Eastern Christian emperor Leo who forbade the practice, and it was because John lived in Muslim territory that his enemies could not silence him.

Second, he is famous for his treatise, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, a summary of the Greek Fathers (of which he became the last). It is said that this book is for Eastern schools what the Summa of Aquinas became for the West.

Third, he is known as a poet, one of the two greatest of the Eastern Church, the other being Romanus the Melodist. His devotion to the Blessed Mother and his sermons on her feasts are well known.








St. John of Damascus Cave

This is the Chapel of St. John of Damascus, which is also dedicated to St. John the Baptist. St. John lived here in asceticism in the 8th century while a monk of St. Savvas the Sanctified Monastery in Israel. He lived here for 30 years.

john tomb cave.jpg
john cave 1.jpg
john with icon.jpg
john cave2.jpg








We are celebrating with Jewish recipes because our Saint had ties with Jerusalem.


Holiday Cookies!

These celebration cookies appear on Purim and in weddings.  They are buttery soft, melt-in-your-mouth (but not in your hands), can’t stop won’t stop (if you like cardamon), diet destroyers.  Perfectly paired with black tea.


Makes about 28 cookies

Recipe adapted from Gil Marks’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Food

  • 1 c butter

  • 1 1/3 c confectioner’s sugar
    (+ a tiny bit extra for garnish)

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 1/2 c rice flour

  • poppy seeds to garnish



  1. Beat the butter for approximately one minute with an electric hand mixer.  

  2. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating for about another 4 minutes until the dough becomes fluffy — it will look super crumble until *magically* it becomes creamy and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating the egg into the butter and sugar and then adding the next. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the vanilla, salt, and cardamon until well combined.  

  3. Gradually add the rice flour, beating until fully incorporated.  

  4. Cover the dough and set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

  6. Line two pans with parchment paper and create 1-inch balls with approximately 2 teaspoons worth of dough.  

  7. Flatten into a (1/4 inch) disc with the palm of your hand.  Garnish with poppy seeds.  

  8. Bake for 10 minutes until the cookies have set but have not browned.  

  9. Let them sit for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until they’ve cooled completely.  

  10. Once they are cool, garnish with a little confectioner’s sugar.  Enjoy!


Jewish Halloween Cookies!

Hamantaschen Cookies



  • ½ cup butter (or margarine)

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest

  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour

  • ¼ tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp salt


  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, vanilla and lemon zest until mixed thoroughly.

  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.

  3. Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm.

  4. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

  5. Dust surface with powdered sugar to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.

  6. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar before each cut!

  7. Fill each round with your favorite filling, and using your favorite method, pinch corners together tightly.

  8. Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes.

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