Family, Faith, and Agios Fanourios

February 18, 2016 • Uncategorized

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A story that began badly and created so much sadness has a happy ending. Just when I thought God might not be listening or might not notice, He reminded me that He is always in control.  He found a way to send me a message loud and clear, but only when He was ready.

Roughly five and a half years ago, we suffered a tremendous loss in our family…a parting of the ways between some family members.  It was a senseless loss.  For the past five and a half years, I have been trying to make sense of it all.  I have tried time and time again to “fix” it, but to no avail.

I was recently reminded of a conversation I had with my priest a few years ago.  At that time he reminded me that I am a wife, a mother, and a daughter, loved by those closest to me.  He advised me to walk away instead of continuing to bang my head against a brick wall, that I couldn’t change others, but merely control myself.  I suppose I wasn’t ready to give up then.  Again, I was still of the mindset that I could fix whatever it was that had gone so wrong for the benefit of the rest of the family, no matter the cost to me personally.  I was wrong.

Over the past five and a half years, through a very spiritual battle that my own mortality sabotaged at times, I have emerged on the other side.

In the midst of attempting to fix this situation yet again, I was so distracted.  At times, I was sick to my stomach, nauseated, and physically shaken to the core.   I felt nothing but negativity again and had to force myself to focus on the profound blessings in my life instead of the things I could not fix.

Then, my husband came home to me in tears.  He had lost his wedding ring while working on some cars at his dealership.  It was gone.  He told me it was his most valuable earthly possession, that it meant more to him than any other physical object he owned.  To him, it symbolized our journey together and the blessings we received on our wedding day.  We were both devastated, knowing we had lost something that could never be replaced.

In Greek tradition, I did what my Mom and Yiayia have always told me to do when I’ve lost something.  Just like the Italians pray to Saint Anthony, I prayed to God and Agios (Saint) Fanourios to find his ring.  All day I searched through laundry, bedding, and carpets.  My husband searched every vehicle, his warehouse, and traced all of his steps.  At the end of the day, I had forgotten my defeat with relatives I could no longer recognize, but had allowed to take up so much of my focus.  Instead, my husband and I were united in our devastation over the missing ring.  We were both in tears.

I needed to do something, look one more time, search someplace I hadn’t thought of before.  I needed to fix this, but again, it was something out of my control.  Defeated on so many levels, I prayed on my knees once more to God and Agios Fanourios to find my husband’s wedding ring.  I went into our laundry room and searched the same bins I had searched all day.

Low and behold, I found it!!! Hidden in a pocket of his jeans, there it was.  It wasn’t just that I had found a ring.  It was a message from God that He is all things, He sees all things, and He is in control.  He will direct me in His grace.  As I had mourned the loss of some people I had once held dear, He focused my mind’s eye on my present and my future.  He had provided me clarity in a moment of confusion and He had finally brought closure, only when He was ready.

And so it goes in the Greek tradition, if you pray to Agios Fanourios to help you find something you lost and subsequently find it, you must prepare a Fanouropita…a cake for Agios Fanourios. That is exactly what I did at 11:00 p.m. last night.  The house smelled wonderful and the kids are going to love it for breakfast.

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Thank you Lord for the peace only you can provide.  You are praised in this home.  

Fanouropita

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 3/4 olive oil
  • zest of 1 orange

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine dry ingredients.

Add wet ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Grease a baking pan and pour in batter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.

Serve!

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10 Responses to Family, Faith, and Agios Fanourios

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  2. Susan Kolpack says:

    Beautiful. We serve an awesome God. Love this.

  3. Roula Kyros says:

    As always, beautifully written:Nicole!
    I believe that the darker the room, the greater the need for light…His light! We are to forgive, 70×7, and pray for those who are in the dark. To quote my wonderful mom ” don’t let others pull you under the “sea”… That is , “C” referring to Christian.
    God is working, we must be willing and pray for those who are not. Accept the things we cannot change and keep faithful on His path…worry for nothing and pray for everything! Every day is a blessed Gift from God…focus on the Son, He is the light of the world -God Bless you all.

  4. Tanya says:

    What a touching story. I am glad you found the ring. I understand the sentiment. I hope you keep the faith with your family too. It took 16 years for Joe and his sister but finally things have a way of working things out.

  5. Lorraine Holland says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story of inspiration.

    • Thank you, Lorraine. It was my intent to share my story of faith to inspire others. I’m so glad it touched you. I have received the most lovely messages about this post and am truly grateful to have been able to share it.

  6. Gloria Balogh says:

    God Bless,Nicole and Frank. Although it is hard to accept many things when you try so hard, when you focus on something else that means so much, even though “material”, it is the symbol of your life and love. Hope you can continue to be at peace- think I understand because of many things that I have to work through going forward. And, what time is breakfast?? Hope I made you smile!

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