St Basil’s Soup for St Basil’s Day

Well, it’s January 2nd, which means tonight I’ll be enjoying some of the St Basil’s Soup I made a few days ago to celebrate the occasion. Here’s Saint Basil:


When I first made the Saint Basil’s soup this week, I was surprised to see that a soup honoring this Saint would contain no basil. Seemed like a bit of a miss.

However, when I read Brother Victor’s description, it turns out he had a pretty good reason. As he says:

This soup is a Western monastic version of a soup that has come down to us from an Orthodox monastery of the Middle East – hence it is named for the great father of Easter monasticism.

That’s a pretty good reason for the name.

St Basil was born in 330 AD, and is one of 10 children. Five became Saints, so those parents did something impressively right. He was not the first monk, but he wrote a set of rules for monastic life that essentially founded eastern monasticism, and influenced St Benedict in his founding of Western Monasticism.

If his name sounds especially familiar, it’s also because St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow is very recognizable:

Interestingly, for the Orthodox, St Basil’s Day is celebrated on January 1st. Catholicism moved it to January 2nd in the 1970s so it wouldn’t conflict with the Solemnity of Mary.

I’d love to figure out if St Basil’s Rules said anything about what the monks were supposed to eat, but apparently it’s 600 pages long and all the translations cost a decent amount of money. I may have to see if my local library has anything on this.

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