Thursday, September 10, 2015

{reflections} ~ Our First Slava and third anniversary

A Slava is a centuries old Orthodox tradition, esp. practiced by Serbian Orthodox.
Two of my dear Serbian friends who are sisters, last Great Lent,
told me as we drove down to a Greek Monastery, what is needed.
And they were gentle with me.
A candle, bread, icon, meal (fasting if a fast day), kolivo.
I was not able to make a proper bread other than the one to St. Phanourios,
and did not have time to make the kolivo...I am realizing
anew how life is a process and one just needs to begin with things
and build as one can as one goes...
I found these two things online:
Hey, You! What's Your Slava?
and this older wonderful book, entirely online.
Well, I should of expected what always happens
when you are trying to do something new to honour God
and His Saints: temptations!! 
First, a bout of insomnia.  Then our AC leaks all the way down to our
neighbour's downstairs and we suddenly don't know if we can
do the Slava at our house (with fresh wild caught salmon and swordfish fillets
already paid for and being delivered that morning, etc),
Well, it was a bit touch-and-go: not a goodnight sleep, the plummer ending up
being 2 hours late (he called and explained, it was understandable),
and everything was thrown off in terms of preparation time.
But in the end God's mercy prevailed over us in such profound ways;
the house cooled down, I realized, with the help of others and some
google searches, that I could bake the St. Phanourios bread at 350F as needed
and wrap the fish in individual foil packets and do them at the same time.
The fish was done this way:
I had 7 pieces of foil ready,
cut up an onion half moon wise in thin slices and put in bowl,
grabbed lemon that was sitting with a little water already sliced in the fridge
and cut each piece in two, salt and peppered the fish, doused it with extra virgin olive oil,
put onion and then lemon on top and wrapped in foil, folding the ends and the top.
Was done about 30 minutes or more on 350F and was perfect!
It was not at all dried out but instead was swimming in juices and oil when done.
I made a fruit salad and put 'truwhip' (vegan premade whip cream!) in our
Delft Gravy boat, Husband set the table,
I almost forgot to make the rice (not to self: make 3 cups next time! my guests
graciously did not fault me for only having 1 serving each...)
and I was so thankful that I was able to make the Saint Phanourios bread 
and three mini loaves to give to our guests.
We had the bread and vegan sorbet - blood orange and chocolate were the ones 
chosen - and enjoyed lemon water and white wines with the meal.
Our priest from our far-away church was one of the guests and he did the 
service for the Slava to St. Phanourios before the meal.
Was really special and I really felt deeply that it was
really both our wedding anniversary and Slava.
For we honoured St. Phanourios at our wedding,
giving a hand painted icon from Romania to my Ottawa parish
at our wedding reception. 
It was a really special time and I felt so connected to everyone, 
in my Ottawa parish and my new life here.
Our Matuska commented about the temptations that they always surprise us but 
always happen when we are about to receive a great blessing!
I am so very glad that we were able to have this time, this Slava and 
hope to make it a yearly tradition!
I was so surprised at the gifts we were given -
a Le Creuset frying pan, red, my favourite colour for my kitchen!
and a beautiful decanter and (not shown) a bottle of Drambuie! 
I told my Mom the other day that I feel that we are in the 'building' stage of our lives,
slowly collecting quality things for the kitchen, for entertaining and also
in our library collection.  
But I know also that there is a time to 'tear down' in this life.
I was recently given some beautiful vintage cookbooks,
that I hope to show you at a later date,
that were the Matuska's who passed away almost a year ago 
and when her daughter was telling me how her Mother got them,
I could see it all, the one she used a lot, the others she had,
and how she was a vibrant living woman working in NYC,
living in NJ, and how I only knew her at the end of her long life.
It came home in a real concrete personal way how
fleeting life is, how we are young and then a bit older,
then middle aged and, if God wills, make it to old age.
My Oma had collected a lot of nice things and when she got older,
she lived to 102, almost 103, she started giving everything away,
over many years.
My Grandma is doing the same thing now...she is in her mid-80s...
I always try to remember that.
That one day I will, I hope, be the one giving away my things.
I have them really only in trust for someone else to use
later.  And they are to be used to benefit others and for
the betterment of my family.
The greatest gifts of course of this evening, our first Slava
and our 3rd wedding anniversary, was the friendships and the deep
kindness of so many in our lives...including the ones present.
What a mercy of God!


Tia Y. said...

Many more happy, healthy and blessed years to you and your husband! Mnohaja Lita!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Happy Anniversary and a Blessed Slava to you and Mr Husband!
God grant you many, many more :-)
Thank you for the online resources; I have bookmarked them.

GretchenJoanna said...

Happy Anniversary, and Many Years to the happy couple!

I often think about the things I own, and still am purchasing, how I must hold them loosely so that I can enjoy them without clinging and being burdened by them. I'm not afraid to spend the money for quality items, because I know that it means more people will get use out of them, not just me.