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January 18

Saint of the day:
St. Theodosia of Constantinople

Patron Saint of the infirm


The Story of St. Theodosia of Constantinople

Nun and martyr. Born to a noble family, she was orphaned in her youth and eventually became a nun at Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey) at the monastery of St. Anastasia. She led a group of nuns in defense of the icon of Christ which hung over the main door of the community when soldiers were sent to enforce the decrees of the Iconoclast emperors Leo Ill the Isaurian  and Constantine V. Theodosia and twelve other nuns were arrested and tortured; Theodosia died of her grievous injuries while in prison. It is possible that the account of Theodosia is fictitious, based perhaps on the story of the fourth-century martyrs Theodora and companions who are venerated on the same feast day.

Legend has it...

Theodosia was a nun. She was from a wealthy family and used some of her inheritance to commission big, elaborate icons for the Church. The most famous was the one of Jesus that hung over the main gate of the palace. 

Emperor Leo III, however, was not a fan of the fancy Christ. When he became emperor, he ordered that all religious images be destroyed because, in his opinion, worshiping icons was wrong. It seems like destroying pictures of Jesus would also be wrong, but ...

Anyway, an imperial guardsman arrived with his ladder, and climbed up to take the icon down while Theodosia and a few fellow nuns stood close by. The sisters simply waited until he reached the top rung, then yanked the ladder away, causing the man to tumble to his death on the pavement below.


The guard's superior was nearby. The nuns picked up stones and asked that he leave with out touching the icon but he refused. They warned him if he touched the icon of Jesus that he would lose his life. He pushed the nuns out of the way, but with stones in hand the nuns permanently stopped him.

Upon hearing the news, Emperor Leo ordered the nuns to be decapitated. Theodosia suffered a harsher punishment: she was stabbed in the throat with a ram's horn. 

Theodosia since becoming a Saint, means she has performed miracles, and it is said that she can summon a ram whenever she wants to annoy Leo III...








Gul Camii or the “Mosque of Roses"

The Walls of Constantinople

Istanbul, Turkey






Turkish Rose Pavlova


  • 300ml thickened cream

  • 1 tsp rosewater

  • 1/4 cup (35g) pure icing sugar, sifted

  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

  • 1 cup roughly chopped pink Turkish delight

  • 125g punnet raspberries

  • 2 tbs slivered or finely chopped pistachios

  • Rose syrup and unsprayed fresh rose petals
    (both optional), to serve



  • 7 eggwhites

  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar

  • 2 tsp cornflour

  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar

  • A few drops pink food coloring (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 130°C. Cut a piece of baking paper large enough to line a baking tray. Trace a 24cm circle on the paper (you could use a large dinner plate as a guide), then place on baking tray, traced-side down.

  2. For the meringue, place egg whites in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Using a large balloon whisk, gradually whisk in the sugar. Continue whisking until mixture starts to froth and sugar dissolves. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, then whisk to stiff peaks. Using a metal spoon, fold in the cornflour, vinegar and food coloring, if using. Spread meringue mixture over the circle on the baking paper, making an indent in the centre for the filling. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and leave meringue in the oven with the door propped open until the oven is cold or overnight.

  3. Whisk cream, rosewater, icing sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Pile into the meringue and serve topped with Turkish delight, raspberries, pistachios, rose syrup and rose petals, if using.

Note: Make them mini or large!

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