Fanouropita or Phanouropita the Lost and Found Cake of Saint Fanourios or Phanourios. Feast Day 27 August.


  Fanouropita, the lost and found cake Photo by: Greek Table Cooking
Fanouropita, the lost and found cake
Photo by: Greek Table Cooking

Until I watched Katerina (Not only a top chef, owner of the popular Maistrali Taverna  in Loutraki, but also a mine of information) making this symbolic cake, I had no idea about the wonderful story behind Saint Fanourios and the “Fanouropita”.

The “Fanouropita” the “Lost and found” cake is baked on the eve of the Feast Day of Saint Fanourios, the twenty seventh of August.

Saint Fanourios
Saint Fanourios

 As we made this cake way back in November, and I didn’t take notes, I badgered Katerina, by phone, during her busiest month; August, asking for details, so I dedicate this post to Katerina!

The “Fanouropita” is traditionally a Lenten cake, but many variations of the recipe are to be found.

Why is the “Fanouropita” called “The lost and found” cake?

Lost something? Say a prayer, and let Saint Fanourios find it for you!
Lost something?
Say a prayer, and let Saint Fanourios find it for you!
The "Fanouropita" is called the lost and found cake because it is associated with Saint Fanourios the holy martyr and miracle worker, whose name comes from the Greek word “Fanerono”, meaning “I reveal”, the Saint of lost things, lost souls, lost anything really, who, if you say a prayer to will “reveal” things you were careless enough to misplace!

Original icon of St. Fanourios. Rhodes.
Original icon of St. Fanourios. Rhodes.
Before the discovery of a small icon, depicting Saint Fanourios, was found on the Greek island of Rhodes in around 1500 AD, on the twenty seventh of August, not much was known about him at all.

The church of Saint Fanourios Rhodes.   The icon of St. Fanourios was found at the front, right corner on the right next to St. john the Baptist. It is only slightly visible.
The church of Saint Fanourios Rhodes.

 The icon of St. Fanourios was found at the front, right corner on the right next to St. john the Baptist. It is only slightly visible.
 Saint Fanourios’ mother was allegedly a scarlet woman, a sinner, a cruel and impatient woman, with no time for the poor, whom she treated in a most inhuman way.

Saint Fanourios, despite all her faults, loved his mother, and tried his best to save her, to make her change her ways, but all to no avail, and consequently, after her death, she went straight to hell.

Agios Fanourios  Doxa Lake Korinthias Photo by Stelios Kritikakis
Church of Saint Fanourios  Doxa Lake Korinthias
Photo by Stelios Kritikakis 
Even on being stoned to death, for defending and spreading the Christian faith, Saint Fanourios did not ask God’s help for himself, but begged God to forgive his mother, to grant her salvation, save her soul and let her rest in peace.

Church of Saint Fanourios Loutraki
Church of Saint Fanourios
Loutraki
Traditionally, the “lost and found” cake; “Fanouropita”, is baked on the twenty sixth of August, the eve of the Feast Day of Saint Fanourios, in memory of the saints’ mother, in order that her soul maybe saved and she can rest in peace.

It is prepared with either seven, or nine ingredients, symbolizing the seven (Or sometimes nine) sacred mysteries of The Greek Orthodox Church, named the sacraments in the Western church, or, the seven days of creation.

The seven sacred mysteries are:

1. Baptism

2. Confirmation

3. Confession

4. Holy Communion

5. Marriage

6. Ordination (Holy Orders)

7. Unction (The anointing of the sick)

The other two sacred mysteries seem to vary, as anything the Church does, is classed as sacred, but is usually consecration of the Church and the burial of the dead.

The Seven Sacraments, an altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1448
The Seven Sacraments, an altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1448
When preparing the cake, there should be a lighted candle and a sprig of thyme to hand.

“Fanouropita” – “Lost and Found Cake” 9 ingredients

Fanouropita
Lost and found cake
Photo: steliosparliaros.gr
Recipe from orthodoxtraditions.blogspot.gr

3 cups plain flour

1 cup sugar

¾ cup olive oil

¾ cup orange juice

½ cup brandy

½ cup raisins (or crushed walnuts)

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. clove powder

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

 Beat oil and sugar with electric mixer until dissolved and creamy yellow.

Put the baking powder into the orange juice and stir making sure there are no lumps. Add it to the sugar and oil mix. Beat until combined.

 Then add brandy, cinnamon and clove powder.

 With the mixer at low speed, gradually add the flour. Then fold in fruit or walnuts.
     Grease a pan with oil and dust with sugar and flour. Then pour in batter.

 Bake in medium oven (fan-force 1800C) for about an hour or until inserting a toothpick into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool on a rack.

After being blessed in the Church, the cake is cut into forty pieces, symbolising the forty days of the soul in purgatory, and shared among neighbours, friends and family, it should be eaten by at least seven people.

More than 600 Fanouropita blessed at the monastery of Saints Adrian and Natalia, Argos 27 August 2011 Photo : Studio B&G
More than 600 Fanouropita blessed at the monastery of Saints Adrian and Natalia, Argos
27 August 2011
Photo : Studio B&G
In Crete, Cyprus, the island of Skiathos and in Florina, it is said that the sharing of “Fanouropita” will help unmarried girls to find a husband, others bake the cake to help people find their right path in life, for good luck, and to help farmers find stolen animals.


Find Saints galore on Amazon:


All the Saints
All the Saints
Lives of The Saints: For Everyday in the Year

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber 

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of Their Lives

The Little Book of Saints


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