Some of the sourdoughs in our Sourdough Library deserve a special mention. One of those is Sourdough #39: Kosmas Sourdough, a sourdough from Amfilochia.
Our Sourdough Library preserves a wealth of heritage from all around the world. A prime example of a historic entry is number 39 in the library: Kosmas, a sourdough from the Greek town of Amfilochia.
In the Eastern Orthodox liturgy, the 14th of September marks the start of one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the year: the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Preceded and followed by dedicated readings from the Epistles and the Gospels, this day of fasting involves elaborate ceremonies that date back centuries. The Feast of the Cross is still celebrated in Amfilochia to this day.
On the eve of the feast, the women all lay fresh basil leaves or flowers on the altar. The priest presiding over the ceremony uses the basil as a bed for the cross, which remains on prominent display throughout the eight days of the festivities following the 14th. Whenever the faithful enter or leave the church, they ceremonially venerate the basil-decked cross. Finally, on the last day of the feast, the priest and deacon light incense all around the cross before solemnly returning the cross to the sanctuary through the Holy Doors.
At the end, the priest drops the cross into a bowl of water, effectively infusing it with the micro-organisms found on the basil. After the ceremony, the women all receive a small bottle of the basil water to take home with them. They use this holy water not just to bless their homes, but also to start a sourdough that they will use to bake bread for their households throughout the year. Isn’t that a wonderful tradition? We are very proud to add this sourdough to our Puratos Library.
Love this way of life carried on in bread. I would love that starter.