Saints on Sunday~ Saint George

Once upon a time there was a blogger in the Serbian realm who I anticipated reading. The Real Housewife of Belgrade was a great story-teller. Funny and informative, and everyone loved her. I am sure they still do, but she has exited the great land of Serbia.

Her Sunday legacy was to write about  Churches she visited in her European travels. There were lots of Church on Sunday posts. And I loved that idea. I have done a few of them myself. But I wanted to use the idea and make it my own. I always felt a bit like a poor knock off.

Here’s the deal. I am Protestant.I miss going to church on Sunday.  And the Orthodox Christianity has the same God, but many different traditions. The church is freezing cold in the winter. I cannot understand anything. (The service are held in old Serbian. About 10% of the population of Serbia may understand.) so I don’t go.

FYI It is an old tradition like Catholics holding some of their Masses in Latin… All Masses were in Latin before the 1960’s. Thank God things have changed in the Catholic Church so people can hear the Gospel. I have no proof, but more people may attend if they could understand. That is just my Western brain thinking.

Since arriving here, learning about Slavas (dinners) and patron Saints of  families, I have wanted to learn more about the Saints. It is a new Christian education. I know the Bible fairly well. I went to a Christian college and even studied Hebrew for a better understanding. But the saints heralded  here are not in the Bible.

Enter my epiphany and self-education with Saints on Sunday posts!

We will begin with St. George. Why? Because I like that there is a dragon in the picture of this saint! I love dragons, but since I am a Game of Thrones fan, I can see how unwieldy they can be. Thus, slaying them was a must. 😦

 

Here is the story of St. George as per Wikipedia.  Yes, I did Copy/Paste!  😛

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George_and_the_Dragon

According to the Golden Legend, the narrative episode of Saint George and the Dragon took place somewhere he called “Silene”, in Libya; the Golden Legend is the first to place this story in Libya as a sufficiently exotic locale, where a dragon might be found. In the tenth-century Georgian narrative, the place is the fictional city of Lasia, and the idolatrous emperor who rules the city is called Selinus.[8]

The town had a pond, as large as a lake, where a plague-bearing dragon dwelt that poisoned all the countryside. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene used to feed it two sheep every day, and when the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king’s daughter, who is called Sabra in some versions of the story.[9] The king, distraught with grief, told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared; the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.[8]

Saint-George by chance rode past the lake. The princess, trembling, sought to send him away, but George vowed to remain. The dragon reared out of the lake while they were conversing. Saint George fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross,[10] charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon’s neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash.[citation needed]

The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the people at its approach. But Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptised, he would slay the dragon before them. The king and the people of Silene converted to Christianity, George slew the dragon, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. “Fifteen thousand men baptized, without women and children.” On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.[11]

Traditionally, the sword[12] with which St. George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, a name recalling the city of Ashkelon, Israel. From this tradition, the name Ascalon was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II (records at Bletchley Park), since St. George is the Patron Saint of England.

There is more to read on the Wiki site if you are interested. But I thought that would be sufficient!

I thought it was a decent story. Someday I will tell it to the Munchkin!

Happy Sunday Y’all!

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Tolstoy Ties

During our road trip to Krusevac we make a quick stop to a gorgeous monastery. Sveti Roman is nestled in a clove of hills and has the most refreshing spring  just outside the gates. Down in the gully where the spring becomes a stream, it is cooler. The fallen leaves everywhere create the distinct smell of fall.

A quick walk up the hill and through the beautiful gate…

This is the final resting place of Count Nikolaj Nikolajevic Rajevski.

He was one of the many Russians who left his homeland to come and aid the Serbs in their fight against Turkish occupation in Serbia  in solidarity of Slavic brotherhood and Orthodoxy. . He was also allegedly  the basis for Ana Karenina’s lover, Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky .

I cannot think of a more beautiful or peaceful place to rest. The monastery grounds are immaculately kept.

The mosaic walkway is done completely in stone washed soft and round by water, collected over time and placed just so to created the most amazing designs.

Learning about the History here is NEVER short of amazing. I hope you enjoy hearing about it too.

Dobar dan (Good Day) Y’all!

Photography Friday Road Trip~Крушевац

Every road trip needs some good music!. I love this song.

A few weeks ago we went to the medieval capital of Serbia, Krusevac. This long-standing city is home to about 60,000 people. I was really impressed with it.

I totally wanted to get a pic with this guy, I mean the statue. But I am only knee high and he is the grasshopper.  Jumping up onto his lap like he was Santa was out of the question! 😦 But had I gotten up there, I would have had to ask if it was a sword in his lap or was he just happy to see me!  🙂

Krusevac has been in place since at least 1371, when Emperor Lazar was living. While living, Lazar was something like a Duke or Lord.  He was responsible for gathering the troops to fight the battle against the Turks who later beheaded him. After his death, he was raised to Emperor out of respect. His wife, Milica, went on to be the ruler! Hello forward thinking back in the old days. Now, not so much.

This town has its own chic feel and flavor. And so much history smack dab next to modern life!

Before a walk about town we opted for a quick alfresco lunch.

I got the Pizza and he got the schnitzel with mash potato, a roll and cabbage salad. In all my time here, I have never seen schnitzel with noodles. Kind of a bummer. Maybe I need to go to Austria? On a side note, the hills are alive here, but with the sound of kolo music! If you don’t get any of these references you must watch “The Sound of Music” once more!

I was pleased to see that lots of old couples walked happily arm in arm in this gorgeous grad. I don’t think I have seen that anywhere else in Serbia so far.

The most astonishing to me in this Balkan city was the dress of the women. Normally, in Eastern European countries, the women are always and I mean always sporting 4 inch+ heels. In this city, women dressed stylishly, and sensibly. Heels were low or non-existent! Holy Cow! I think they must have been breaking some unwritten Eastern European code! Can I get an Amen?

There is a park where the ruins of the old fort stands. Most of it was destroyed during the war with the Turks. Now children play ball with their grandparents watching over them, and others taking a stroll or sit on benches and enjoy that peace that now resides. An old Museum sets just to the side presiding over the history and ghosts.

Imagine you’re the kid who lives in the Green house. You ask your friends to come play in the fort in your backyard! Forget cowboys and Indians! Lets play Serbs and Turks!!

You know the people who built these homes in the wake of ruins must have found some cool stuff in their back yard while digging to create their new homes!! Talk about cool building stories!

That lucky kid’s back yard! Seriously, How freaking COOL!

Within the fort stood the most beautiful old Church.

This impressive structure was a sight to behold.

The amount of detail begs you to look at it for ages to take it all in.

The Celtic style knots that circled the doors and windows were fabulous.The magnificent double headed eagle graced the top and bottom of the window above.

The grounds all around are an ancient battle field. At one entrance there was a painting of Kosavka Devojka. She is the Serbian version of Molly Pitcher during the American Revolution.

Kosavka walked around the battlefield of Krusevac when the Serbs were fighting the Turks in 1389 during the Battle of Kosovo.

This is a print of a famous rendition showing Kosavka watering a fallen soldier. Compare this beauty with the typical image of Molly Pitcher with a cannon.

Molly is just a few thousand miles east and a few hundred years later…

Battle of Kosovo 1389

Battle of Monmouth 1778

Two peas in a pod.

Even thousands of miles away from home you can find similarities in just about everything if you look hard enough!

Krusevac is a great city, lots to see, and some great shops too! If you are in this neck of the woods, you should check it out.

Soko Slike

Hello Friends! This post is not about the mixed drink, Soco (Southern Comfort) and lime it is about an adventurous day with the Hubby.

Saturday, we had a little break from the norm in the form of a Road trip!! We went to Sokobanja and Sokograd. Sokobanja is a little tourist trap town with lots of shops to spend your hard earned cash.There is quite a large play area for kids with rides and even trampolines! We were without child for the first trip ever since her conception. 🙂 It was refreshing! Thus no Munchkin Monday.

Sokograd, an old 6th century fort that spans a mountain ridge. Construction of the fort last from the fourth to the Seventh centuries. It was occupied and finally destroyed by the Turks in the 14th century. This was the highlight of our trip for me. I love hiking, and I am so happy the hubby didn’t know how difficult it would be or he wouldn’t have done it! The heat make the somewhat treacherous trek more challenging.But, I would have loved to hike all day!

Most of the hike was through the woods along a river.  This was much like the place my family went camping as a kid. I felt at home. 

The most impressive thing about the Sokos is the cleanliness. There was hardly any trash scattered about. It is obvious the towns work hard to keep it clean. It was refreshing to see a place so clean!

The steps here were not very steep, but hey were frightenly narrow. I climbed them with extreme caution. The view was brilliant from the top of the tower.

We didn’t spend much time  here. I would love to go again in the fall when the leaves are changing. I would take a picnic lunch and spend the day exploring.

We went to dinner at a little restaurant with Great reviews. Marco Polo was the name of this rustic little joint. The only bad reviews were by people who weren’t allowed to sit for just coffee. You must order food. We had succulent lamb, fries, salad, with fresh yummy bread and we split a very big beer.

This was the view from my seat.  It kinda made me want to go craw fishing.

The other side of the eatery is situated under and beside a cave.

After dinner we went to the Sokobanja for people watching. Never a dull sport! Coffee and “American Doughnuts” we the side dish.

My intent was to show how Small the doughnuts were in comparison to my hand, but I think I have only succeeded in flashing my manicure needing nails. In spite of their Miniature status, the taste was massively delicious.

I liked this place, but the hubby really likes it here. It is a childhood haunt for him and brings him good vibes.  After so many years working in the U.S. I can only imagine how it made him feel.

I would like to leave you with some eye candy and maybe a laugh.  This special treat was found along the pathway in Sokobanja.

I would love to read your captions for this in the comments!

Looks to me like this bad boy is getting help up for his chain link necklace or his bright white boots? Please just leave him the speedo!

Dobar dan!

Photography Friday~ Meteora

I went to Greece this week. It is a hop, skip, and a jump from Serbia. Well. Actually, a few hours stretched out to several hours if you are traveling with Serbians who know how to relax, have coffee and smoke like a chimney. 🙂

I was traveling with a bus trip of teachers. I was invited by my very good friend M. I am so happy I went. I made new friends. Enjoyed Greek food. and took 4 GB worth of pictures (That is 800 pics). No doubt, photography Friday will have a long Greek hang over. 😉

Today’s post is all about Meteora. This is directly from wikipedia:

The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [mɛˈtɛoɾɐ], lit. “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” — etymologically related to “Meteorite“) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.[1] The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river andPindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on theUNESCO World Heritage List. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora)

I count myself super blessed to have been able to see this natural beauty.Maybe these pics will bring a little more sunshine to your Friday.

The point of vising the Meteora was to visit a monastery atop the jutting rock formations. This is a sacred place for Orthodox people. It was a stronghold kept from the Turks who terrorized the Serbs, the Greeks, and others for centuries.

Back in the day, rope ladders were dropped to allow entrance. Also, basket like nets were let down for someone sit in. Then they were pulled up to the safety of the monastery. Now they have even cooler ways of getting from one place to another.

Seriously, that is better than the pope mobile!!

Only some of the monastery was open to the public, and pictures were prohibited in  much of that area. I am not complaining. I would rather take pics of the rock formations.

These sites don’t get old. I could snap away all day long!

Tourist do not only flock here for the monasteries. many people come from all over the world to climb these magestic monsters.

This is some impressive stuff!

Meteora was a highlight of the the trip. I would go again in a heartbeat!

Happy Friday!

Dobar dan