Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Cathedral
1223 Dovercourt Road
Toronto, ON, M6H 2Y1

Mother of God of Proussa Greek Orthodox Church
461 Richmond St. E.
Toronto, ON, M5A 1R1


January 20, 2008

Metropolitan Makarios English

The Cutting of the Vasilopita for the parishes of Saint Nektarios and the Mother of God of Proussa took place this year on January 20.

The word Vasilopita is a compound Greek word which means the bread of Basil. The age old tradition of Cutting the Vasilopita started in the fourth century, when Saint Basil the Great wanted to distribute money to the poor in his Diocese. He commissioned sweetened bread to be baked.  This not only provided food for the poor but he had also arranged to place gold coins in the bread.  When the families cut the bread they rejoiced to find the coins.  This is just one of many things which Saint Basil did to comfort and help the poor.

Metropolitan Makarios cut the Vasilopita and along with Fr. Alexander spoke on the significance of this tradition.

Fr. Alexander Greek
Cutting Vasilopita

According to tradition, the Vasilopita is prepared both in Orthodox homes and in the Church community. Sweets, which symbolize the sweetness and joy Vasilopita also symbolizes the hope that the New Year will be filled with blessings of life, health, and happiness. When the Vasilopita is prepared, a coin is added to the ingredients. cutting VasilopitaWhen the bread is cut and the observance begins, the individual who receives that portion of the vasilopita which contains the coin is considered blessed.  

Metropolitan makarios People
Fr. Alexander People

This tradition adds joy to the twelve day celebration of the Nativity of our Saviour and the revelation of the Light of the Holy Trinity.

Many Orthodox Christians enjoy the Vasilopita at home with their loved ones. The head of the family cuts the pieces of Vasilopita for our Saviour, the Theotokos, the Saints and for all members of the family. Since Saint Basil loved the poor people, a special piece is cut for the unfortunate of the world, which symbolizes our concern for the poverty-striken.

Fr. Alexander Children
Children Crafts

Along with the feast of Saint Basil, the coming of the civil New Year is also celebrated. These two observances are commemorated with the singing of the Kalanta (carol-type songs) which speak of the Nativity, Theophany, Saint Basil and the New Year. The Kalanta are part of the Vasilopita Cutting in each home for the feast of Saint Basil. The words stress the joy of the love of Christ, His miraculous Birth, His Baptism, and the compassion of the pious Saint Basil who brought so much joy and happiness to the world as well as blessings for the New Year. They ask Saint Basil to stay a while at their home, to partake of their meal and fellowship, and to grant them his blessings.

The children sang the carols and were occupied with many arts and crafts while the adults enjoyed the fellowship of fellow parishioners.

Many thanks to Nicholas and Anna Christogiannis and their committee for the wonderful evening.

Children Crafts2

Prophet Elias
Our Ikons