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January 10 

Saint of the day:

 Saint Gregory of Nyssa

 Saint Gregory of Nyssa's Story

Gregory of Nyssa St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 330-c. 395)

was a younger sibling in a family that gave the church many years of service and at least five saints. Before entering the monastery of his brother, Basil the Great, Gregory was a rhetorician. He may have been married, although some scholars believe that his treatise On Virginity argues against that. He became bishop of Nyssa c 371 or 372. Arians accused him of mismanagement and deposed him in 376. On the death of the Arian, Valens, two years later, he was restored to his see. He attended the first Council of Constantinople in 381, after which he traveled in Transjordan (Arabia) to settle disputes in the churches. During a trip to Jerusalem, he was forced to defend his Christology, although he was then and is now well-known for his Trinitarian theology. In 394, he attended a synod in Constantinople and is thought to have died shortly after that when mention of him in church records ceases. His best-known works are the Catechetical Oration, The Life of Moses, and the Life of St. Macrina (his sister).






St Gregory Nazianzen

(d. 389, Cappadocia) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; Mount Athos, Greece; Lisbon, Portugal)


The body of St Gregory Nazianzen was first buried near his hometown in Cappadocia and then later transferred to Constantinople. In the 8th century his remains were removed from Constantinople and brought to Rome by a group of Basilian nuns who were escaping the Iconoclastic persecutions in the East. These nuns were given residence in the Campo Marzio just north of the Pantheon in Rome. They then placed the remains of St Gregory Nazianzen within their church.

Cathedral of St George (Ecumenical Patriarchate)

Yavuz Sultan Selim Mh.

34083 Fatih/Istanbul Province, Turkey

*On November 27, 2004 a major part of the relics of St Gregory Nazianzen and of St John Chrysostom were returned to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople by Blessed John Paul II and placed within this church.


St Peter’s Basilica

Rome, Italy

*Some relics of St Gregory Nazianzen rest within this basilica beneath the Altar of Our Lady of Succour. This altar is located near the entrance to the confessional area on the right side of the nave. In 2004 a major part of these relics were returned to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as noted above.


Santa Maria della Concezione in Campo Marzio

(Our Lady of the Conception in Campo Marzio)

Piazza Campo Marzio 45

Rome, Italy

*This church is north of the Pantheon.

*As noted above Basilian nuns brought the relics of St Gregory Nazianzen to Rome in the 8th century. They were kept in Rome at Campo Marzio and eventually placed within this church.

*With the exception of one arm the remains of St Gregory Nazianzen were transferred to St Peter’s Basilica in 1580. This arm remained at Santa Maria della Concezione as compensation and was eventually placed in the nearby church of San Gregorio. This relic, however, is not accessible to the general public since San Gregorio is the church used by the Deputies of the Italian Parliament.


Vatopedi Monastery

Mount Athos, Greece

*The skulls of both St Gregory Nazianzen and St John Chrysostom are said to rest within this monastery. They are preserved within ornate reliquaries.


Sé Catedral de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral)

Largo da Sé

1100-585 Lisbon, Portugal

*Placed within the Treasury of this church is a gilded silver arm reliquary that contains the right arm bone of St Gregory Nazianzen.

*Also within this Treasury is a reliquary chest which is said to contain some relics of St Vincent.





Su Böreği

This variation of börek is a deep dish flaky, filling, and a flavorful spinach pie pastry. Su böreği (or water börek) is made from dough softened and cooked in milk and eggs and it may be stuffed with so many things but this recipe is with cheese and spinach.


Mock SU BEUREG, Spinach & Cheese Pie 


  • 18 oz extra-thick country style phyllo dough

  • 2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach or 24 oz fresh spinach leaves

  • 1 large finely diced yellow onion

  • 1 green onion, sliced thin

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, less if it is dry 

  • 5 tablespoons plus one tablespoon olive oil

  • salt, To Taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 8 oz Greek Feta cheese

  • 1/2 cup clarified butter (the butter keeps the sheets separated and crispy plus the flavor is better than oil!)

  • 2 extra-large eggs; whisked with a pinch of baking powder

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 3/4 cup sparkling water (club soda)

  • additional butter; to grease pan

  • 1 egg yolk whisked with one tablespoon sparkling water; for egg wash


Prepare filling.

  1. For fresh spinach: Place the spinach in gentle boiling water, add salt and blanch spinach until almost wilted.

  2. Frozen or Fresh Spinach: Strain well with your hands over a fine colander. Press as mush as need to dry well. 

  3. Sauté onions in 4 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add the green onions and cook for 1 more minute.

  4. Add spinach and remaining one tablespoon olive oil, cook 5-to-7 minutes. Strain if needed.

  5.  Add the fresh chopped dill, salt and spices then allow mixture to cool.

  6. Once cool, mix in cheese. * If you like cheese more than veggies an all cheese variation like Greek Tiropita can be made. Remove the veggies; add about 4 cups of a cheese blend like: feta, strained fresh ricotta, pecorino-romano, parmesan, add 4 beaten eggs.

  7. Add pinch of chopped parsley, a pinch of black pepper, and omit the salt because the hard grated cheeses will be salty.


Prepare liquid:

  1. Combine the melted butter, eggs, baking powder, milk and water.

  2. This liquid is used like buttered layers of dough in spanakopita. Just brush it on the sheets.


Assemble pastry:

  1. Grease bottom and sides of a 12 round deep pan or a springform pan. I love the springform pan best.

  2. Always place baking pans on a lipped sheet pan for safety: stable carrying and to prevent oil drippings. (Drippings could cause a fire.)

  3. Cut three layers of phyllo dough the size of your pan and set aside until ready to use. (keep covered so it doesn't dry out)

  4. Tear remaining sheets into medium-sized pieces.

  5. Place one of the three circles at the bottom of the pan and generously wet with some of the liquid mix.

  6. Continue layering half of the torn sheets, slightly overlapping
    and going up the sides of the pan and dousing in between the layers with more liquid as you go along.

  7. Once half the sheets are used, evenly spread the spinach-cheese mixture and gently press to pack.

  8. Fold in overhanging edges over filling. Continue layering remaining phyllo dough in the same manner.

  9. Finish off with the two pre-cut circles of dough.

  10. Cut pastry into squares all the way to the bottom and pour all remaining liquid mix where the cuts are made.

  11. Cover and refrigerate 2-to-3 hours. Bake pastry.


  1. Preheat a conventional oven to 385F-to-400F.

  2. Brush pastry with prepared egg wash, wait 5 minutes, then brush once more.

  3. Bake 25-to-30 minutes on the middle lower rack.

  4. Move rack to the middle and bake for another 15-to-25 minutes until puffy and nicely golden brown all over.

  5. Once you remove the pastry from the oven it will be puffy and steaming hot.

  6. Using a toothpick, poke holes where the cuts are made to allow steam to escape; it will gradually deflate.

  7. Rest 10-to-15 minutes, cut into square and serve it is equally good served slightly warm or at room temperature.

Optional Dough recipe 

Double batch

  • 1.5 -2 cups of lukewarm water

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • 4 cups  of AP flour


  1. Mix well by hand. 

  2. Roll into 24 balls, same size, like a golf ball.

  3. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Pull the balls and top with butter.

  5. Layering each circle on top of each other. Dough, butter, dough, butter....6 times!

  6. Add filling of choice.

  7. Repeat dough layer for a 2nd time; dough, butter, dough, butter layer again 6 times.

  8. Top with butter...if you have extra dough gentle scrunch the sheets like tissue paper, make it pretty, add to the top....add more butter and bake!




Börek is found all over Turkey, and, in fact, many places that the Ottoman Empire used to be. Each place within or outside of Turkey puts their own twist on it, but basically its a dough-filled pastry. Most often the pastry filling is savory and will usually be cheese, ground beef, or spinach. Sometimes you can find potato or other vegetables or even sausage fillings.


  • 200 gr strong 

  • 120 ml water

  • 1 TBSP olive oil

  • 300 gr braising steak or beef skirt

  • 1 TBSP pomegranate syrup 

  • 4 small onions, chopped

  • 100 gr soaked raisins

  • 100 gr gooseberries (or other tart berries that stew well)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 TBSP flour

  • 1 egg

  • 3 TBSP olive oil

  • 1 TBSP Greek yoghurt

  • 1 egg

  • some sesame and black nigella seeds (or black sesame seeds) to scatter over top.


  1. Start by getting everything out of the fridge, so it can get to room temperature.

  2. Quickly mix up a dough with the flour, oil and luke-warm water, and knead it only long enough to get it supple and evenly mixed. Form it into a flattened ball. Cover and get on with the next step.

  3. Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour hot water over them.

  4. Set aside, or drain and add a small amount of a berry liquor like Coebergh to soak them in.

  5. Cut up the beef in small chunks: larger than minced meat.

  6. Peel and slice the onions in small chunks.

  7. Season, and cook the meat in a bit of olive oil over a medium heat, until well browned; add a lid and stew on low heat for about 10 minutes.

  8. Turn off the heat and add one tablespoon of pomegranate syrup; its acidity and that of the berries helps to render the stewing meat tender, and I love its tangy-sweet flavor. Stir to cover everything; leave to cool down.

  9. When cooled, use a food processor to chop up the meat and onions into a mincemeat structure.

  10. Add drained raisins, berries, 2 tablespoons of flour (or breadcrumbs), and the egg. Pulse once or two times to combine.

  11. Mix up the olive oil, yoghurt and 2nd egg in a separate bowl.

  12. This makes a fatty brush-on layer to be used on the dough in the next step.

  13. Now flour your work surface well, and roll out the dough into as thin as you can get it, as large as your worktop can support.

  14. If the dough starts to stretch and shrink back, roll it up and cover, rest it for 5 minutes, and then resume rolling it out.

  15. The gluten will have developed in that time and allow it to be stretched even further.

  16. Stretch it by lifting it off the surface and drape it over your hands or your rolling pin – let gravity help pull it as thin as possible.

  17. Go for a crude oval-shape; no need to make a rectangle. 

  18. When your dough sheet is large enough, drizzle some of the yoghurt-oil mix over it with a spoon, and brush it out.

  19. With your hands, divide the filling shaping it as a long thin sausage along the edge of the dough, leaving a few centimeters clear from the side.

  20. Flip that side over the filling, fold under and press down to close the sausage.

  21. Do that all along the rim of the dough. Make a cut in the top of the “O” shape and through the still empty center.

  22. You now have a very long sausage in a “U” shape. Stretch and fold the remaining dough over the sausage and close off the ends.

  23. This way you also get a thinner dough layer in the sausage roll.

  24. Now gently roll up the dough into a cartwheel by putting one end on a piece of baking paper, and circling the rest of the roll around it.

  25. Use the baking parchment to lift the roll onto a baking tray (or round pizza tray).

  26. Brush its top very liberally with more of the yoghurt-egg-oil mixture. Scatter some sesame seeds and/or black nigella seeds on top.


  1. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 175°C for about 45 minutes; keep an eye on it so that the thin layers do not get too dark.

  2. When it’s done, cut some wedges and serve hot.






  • 2 tbsp olive oil (you can also use vegetable oil or butter if you like)

  • 2 big onions, finely chopped

  • 750 gr. potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed

  • 2 tsp red pepper, TT 

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • 10 sheets of very thin filo dough or 5 sheets of normal thickness filo dough


To soften the layers of dough:

  • 1 egg

  • 4 tbsp plain yogurt

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • Some water (will be explained later in the instructions)

  • 2 egg yolks to brush the surface of börek a little vegetable oil to grease


1. In a medium pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until they are cooked, but not burned!

2. Add cooked onions to the potato. Put red pepper, salt and pepper and mix them well.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C.

4. Grease the mould and set aside.

5. In a small bowl, put the ingredients to soften the layers of dough and beat them well.

    Add a little bit of water (in room temperature) to thin the mixture. I put about 2 tbsp of water.

    The mixture should be quite liquid and easy to brush on dough layers.

6. Take a sheet (or 2 sheets in my case, since the dough was very very thin) of dough.

    Brush the whole surface with the yogurt mixture.

    Do not put too much liquid, we just want to moisturize the dough a little.

7. On longer side of the dough, put a line of potato filling.

    Be generous but not too generous. I'd say, take 1 tbsp of filling each time and try to build a continuous line.

    Roll the dough as seen in the photo. If there are some parts on the ends without filling, cut those parts.

8. Make a spiral from the rolled dough and gently transfer this to the baking mould.

9. Continue with the remaining sheets, adding each roll to the end of previous roll in the baking mould. Fill the whole mould.

10. Beat 2 egg yolks a little and brush the whole surface with it.

      Make sure that you also brush the sides of rolls, which will help them stick to each other.

      Put in the oven on medium rack, bake for 45 minutes or until the surface becomes golden.

      Let it rest a little before you eat.

      Börek is best when freshly baked, however it still tastes really good in a 2-3 days, if it is stored in airtight container in room temperature.

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