Lost and Found
By Angie Nasrallah
Note: There are four or five different spellings for St. Fanourios (Phanourious, Fonourious, Fanarious). I will attempt to stay consistent with the spellings I use in this article.
The glasses were gone! They’d simply disappeared.
“Where did you last see them?” I asked.
“Right before I dove into the water,” my 12-year-old said.
“That’s not good. They could be at the bottom of the lake,” I stated with alarm.
“I know,” he said. “But I think I took them off first.”
A full search was conducted under the couches, beside beds, in the trash cans.
Twelve-year-old boys are notorious for breaking and loosing expensive prescription glasses. If these had been $10 sunglasses, I wouldn’t have given it another thought. But, of course, we’d just bought them 6 weeks earlier and I splurged on the Transitions lenses with shiny grey frames.
“Let’s pray for St. Fanourios’ mother,” I suggested after the exhaustive search.
“Who’s that?” he asked.
I went through the story of St. Fanourios, and how the martyr continually asks for prayers for his mother’s salvation. His mother was known as a scarlet woman who was unrepentant and treated the poor badly. Even so, St. Fanourios loved his mother and tried to bring her to repentance and salvation during his short life. At his martyr’s death, he asked for nothing except that the Lord have mercy on his mother’s soul. As the tradition goes, faithful who are searching for something -- a lost thing, a spouse, a job – pray for the salvation of St. Fanourios’ mother. In turn, St. Fanourios will appeal to Christ that the thing be found! St. Fanourios is known as a wonderworker and the patron saint of lost things.
We both prayed.
Not twenty minutes later and the glasses were found!
More tradition tells us that after St. Fanourios answers the prayer, the recipient bakes a Fanouropita, or a lost and found cake. This is typically a vegan raisin cake made with 7 or 9 ingredients, which represent the 7 (or nine) sacraments of the church. Once the cake is made, it is then brought to church to be blessed and then shared with the parish after Divine Liturgy in honor of St. Fanourios and his mother.
Three days later, we gladly made the Fanouropita and brought it to church. Coincidentally, a fellow parishioner brought a cake for a set of keys that were found.
I’ve realized recently, that there are dozens of little saint’s traditions like this in Orthodoxy. Searching these out and practicing the traditions make for rich faith experiences.
Apolytikion (Troparion). Tone 4.
A heavenly song of praise is chanted radiantly upon the earth; the company of Angels now joyfully celebrateth an earthly festival, and from on high with hymns they praise thy contests, and from below the Church doth proclaim the Heavenly glory which thou hast found by thy labors and struggles, O glorious Phanourios.
Kontakion. Tone 3.
Thou didst save the Priests from an ungodly captivity, and didst break their bonds by Divine power, O godly-minded one; thou didst bravely shame the audacity of the tyrants, and didst gladden the orders of the Angels, O Great Martyr. Wherefore, we honor thee, O divine warrior, glorious Phanourios
For my bakers out there: This is the Fanourious cake recipe we used.
Photos Curtesy of Angie Nasrallah Photography.