Bravo to the best defense for Greece I have heard to date! The impassioned, in-your-face pride of actress Katerina Moutsatsou puts a mouthpiece for all of us who are facing perhaps the nadir of our country’s legacy. Of course, it had to be a Greek American girl to stand up to the best of them. You go girl! I am Hellene!
Here they are, great Greek women from all over the world, working in all sorts of fields, creating all sorts of fantastic projects. You go Greek girl!
WHERE IN THE WORLD: Los Angeles, California
WHAT SHE DOES: Currently, I am a writer, and storyboard artist on Walt Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb”. I also am the voice of “Mandy” on the show and have been nominated for an Emmy for a song I co-wrote for the show called “Come Home Perry”. I have also created and developed original cartoons for various studios.
THREE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS (so far):
- My two children
- Working for Disney
- Being awarded a Greek America “40 Under 40” award
BEST THING ABOUT BEING A GREEK WOMAN: “Being born with inherent passion, intense drive, and a big big heart.”
WORST THING ABOUT BEING A GREEK WOMAN: “Being born with inherent passion, intense drive, and a big big heart.”
LINKS TO SEE HOW GREAT SHE IS:
Girls On The GO!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVDklWJIPyA
Also here is the episode of Phineas and Ferb she co-wrote, and co-storyboarded, and also co-wrote the song that earned her an Emmy nomination!
So, summer is around the corner and with all those vacation plans and change of looks, you might be thinking: what color should I dye my hair? Of course, it is always good to change your look, but choosing the wrong shade could mean disaster and could actually ruin your plans. We can all share horror stories of that nasty surprise color that appeared when they unwrapped the towel. It looked good on the package or dangling from those hair oval color samples from the trifold in the salon, but on your head it came out a nasty shade of brown or worse. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind if you’re dying to get dyed.
#1 Know Your Skin Tone
The general rule is warm skin tones take warm colors while cool tones should stick to cool. People with warm skin have yellow or golden undertones and look good in gold jewelry. An easy way to tell if you have a warm tone is to see if the veins on the inside of your arms are tinged with green.
Cool skin has pinkish based or blue undertones and looks fabulous in silver jewelry, and will have blue tinged veins.
If you naturally have…
Dark or olive skin, try to stay with darker hair colors.
Yellow skin tones will look good with dark and rich colors, such as deep auburn.
Pale skin will match almost any color.
Pink skin is fantastic for neutral tones such as beige blonde and chocolate brown, but can look too pink with shades of red and gold.
#2 Match Your Eyes to Your Skin Tone to Your Hair Color
Pale skin and blue eyes will naturally suit blonde tones.
A medium skin tone with hazel eyes will look great with dark blonde and copper colors.
Darker skin with any eye color is perfect for pulling off dramatic shades of purple and mahogany.
Skin Tone Hair Color Matches
Orange based reds
General Hair Color Tips
- Give permanent color two weeks to settle.
- Apply regular conditioning treatments.
- Color lock shampoos and conditioners and color boosting shampoos are a quick and easy way to maintain your color
- Stay away from sulfate-based shampoos as they strip the color off hair strands
St Helen’s name is inextricably linked with that of her son’s St Constantine. In fact, it is hard to find an icon, a church, or a Byzantine drachma that they do not appear together. Apparently the son had great reverence for his mother because once he became Emperor of the Roman Empire he proclaimed her, then 70 years old, Empress.
But Helen did not start life as an empress; she was the simple daughter of a roadside innkeeper in a small village in the province of Bithynia in the mid 3rd century later renamed Helenopolis in honor of his mother. She was lucky enough to marry a Roman officer Constantinus with a promising military career. She gave birth to her only child, Constantine, in a town in present day Yugoslavia. Constantinus with ambitions for both himself and his son, had him sent to the royal court in Nikomedia. Helen was left for several years without her child; Constantinus driven with more ambition, divorced Helen to marry the daughter of a Roman emperor. Separated from her son and estranged from her husband, Helen lived through three decades of lonely obscurity.
It was not until the last third of her life that she accomplished what we know her for. Once declared Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, Helen became in charge of the royal coffers. Actively involved in both civic and religious affairs, Helen played the game of politics shrewdly. Although the history books state Constantine converted to Christianity first, most probably it was Helen who held the faith first and passed it on to him.
In 326, when she was close to 80 years old, she made her famous pilgrimage to the Holy Land, thus instituting the custom of Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem. She is merited with discovering the location of the true Cross and erecting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to commemorate the place of Christ’s Holy Crucifixion. In fact, St. Helen was responsible for giving a Byzantine facelift to the Old City, funding and founding over 365 churches and monasteries, the majority still intact today, all over the Holy Land. Once the Holy Cross was uncovered, masses of people flooded the place to venerate it. Patriarch Sophronios at that time to accommodate the crowds, stood on a pulpit, raised the Cross over his head. At this sight, the faithful shouted “Kyrieleison”. This event came to be commemorated as the Elevation of the Cross that is celebrated on September 14th.
Helen returned to Constantinopole from Jerusalem in glory bearing relics, objects of spiritual value and even plants that had been found growing around the place of Christ’s Cross. The famous “basiliko” or “king’s plant” she planted in pots she filled with other flowering plants from the Holy Land so that the neighborhood they were kept was known as “Glastria” or the place of the pots. From this practice it is common to find basil plants in pots in many Orthodox churches. Helen died shortly after completing her pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the ripe old age of 80.
Down through eternity, St. Helen will forever be remembered for her son, her pilgrimage to the Holy Land, whose architecture bears her Byzantine stamp to this day, and the discovery of the True Cross. As Eva Catafygiotu Topping writes in her book “Saints and Sisterhood,” “St Helen Equal to the Apostles established a tradition of personal piety and activism, of philanthropy and zeal for the church which inspired Byzantine empresses until the fall of Constantinopole a millennium later”.
St Irene the Great Martyr (May 5th)
The story of St. Irene is so extreme her life takes on mythic superstar status. By some accounts she was born in Persia; by others she was born in Thessalonika or even further higher in Macedonia in the 2nd century or the 4th century. There are several differing accounts of her life and the many tortures she endured so that her escapades make her a legend among saints. And as with many other heroes and legends, her struggles and labors are multiplied and magnified to appear mythic.
In fact, her story has elements that make it seem like it comes out of a book of Greek mythology. She was born to wealthy pagan parents who named her after the faithful wife of Homer’s epics, Penelope. Her father, wanting to “protect” her from the wiles of the world as she was exceedingly beautiful and gifted, had her imprisoned in a high tower with lavish comforts and a retinue of ladies-in-waiting. (Sure, like that tactic worked in all the other myths and fairytales). The only person from the outside world allowed to come in was an old tutor who taught her classics. During a critical point in her development, she had a vision or actually saw a succession of birds come through the one window of her tower. First, a dove entered carrying an olive branch; next an eagle flew in carrying a crown of woven flowers and lastly a crow entered carrying a serpent. When she asked her teacher what it all meant, he interpreted them as signs. The first for her conversion and cultivation of mind; the second for the many triumphs she would gain and lastly, the crow with serpent represented the pain and martyrdom she would receive.
After this the princess in the ivory tower was visited by an angel who renamed her “Eirini” or “peace.” Some accounts say she was converted to Christianity via her tutor; others say she was instructed into the faith by an angel himself who prophesied that she would save hundreds of thousands of souls.
When her father found out that she was not Daddy’s little girl anymore as she had disobeyed his commands and gone against her family’s faith (not to mention the fact that she had gone on a rampaged and smashed a few of the family’s very valuable marble statues of the gods), he ordered that she be tied and trampled by horses. At least this got her out of the tower and into the light of die even if for a really bad reason. Once the horses were released, BAM! Instead of trampling on Irene attacked her father who was killed instead. She prayed for him and he was brought back to life. On the spot in one shot, three thousand people who had witnessed the miracle became believers. Her father then repented for his mistreatment of his daughter, abdicated his throne and chose to live in the tower he had imprisoned her in.
The new king, King Sedekias, did not really take a liking to Irene’s new-found faith either. Like her father before him, he forced her to worship the old pagan gods. When she refused, he threw her in a ditch crawling with poisonous snakes. That angel again protected her against all harm and when she emerged 14 days later without a bruise or bite, he put her through another series of tortures. She survived them all causing another eight to ten thousand people to convert on the spot.
Now a third king came into power, Sabor, who had usurped Sedekias’ throne. She met the rebel army outside the city and with her prayers she defeated the tyrant. The earth split into two swallowing ten thousand soldiers. BAM! All at once another 40,000 converts.
This was the pattern; she would go preaching, performing miracles and converting thousands in her wake. Her fame brought her to the attention of the King of the Persians, Saborios, the very emperor himself. He decided he and the kingdom had had enough. He had her beheaded and buried. Now you’d think that would put an end to her career. But yet again, that angel came to her rescue and resurrected her.
Not ready to end her winning streak against a row of powerful kings and tyrants who tried to curb her zeal by a variety of tortures, Irene went against yet another. This time when she entered the city and presented herself to the king as a Christian holding an olive branch in her hand, her presence was enough to convert him without all the mess that continual torture required. From then on her power to convert became invincible. In her wake hundreds of thousands of people converted to Christianity.
In fact, so great was the power of St Irene that the only way she could be eliminated was if she would do it herself. She getting swept up in a cloud and transported to Epheseus, she met up with her old teacher. She instructed him to find a new tomb and to roll a huge stone to cover the entrance once she entered. She instructed him not to remove the stone until four days had passed. When he did this, he found, as you would expect if you know the ending of another greater story, that she was gone. What can you say? Some saints are saints and others are super saints.
The story of Isadora, Fool-for-Christ, is told in the Lausiac History, a manuscript by Palladius dating back to the 5th century. Although most of the book narrates the life of “holy fathers,” he included the bios of several holy women, one of which Isadora is contained in the chapter “Concerning the Nun Who Feigned Folly.”
Although we don’t know when Isadora was born, we know that she must have died around 365, during the height of Egyptian monasticism. She was a nun in a convent located in Tabennisi on the right bank of the Nile near Thebes. The Nile separated the male monasteries, on the left bank, from the female convents on the right. The convent where she resided included four hundred nuns and was according to the monastic tradition, founded by Mary, sister of Saint Pachomios, the founding father of Tebennisi, the birthplace of coenobitic monasticism. Isadora was considered during her time and most definitely in ours, a nut job. She did not wear the conventional monastic habit but dressed in rags, went around barefoot and wore a rag around her head always. She did not behave like the other nuns. She lived a lonely, separate existence. She did not eat with the rest of the sisters; in fact no one had ever seen her eating. She did scrap up the crumbs from the table after the rest had finished however.
She was considered crazy by the other nuns and mistreated for it. Called “the broom of the whole community”, she scoured pots and pans, scrubbed floors and bathrooms in effect becoming a non-person. She did not complain however and did not become angry at the other nuns.
What the other nuns did not realize, however, was that she was pretending to be stupid and crazy (or maybe not). Her spiritual merit was recognized when the Holy Spirit revealed here holiness to a monk, Saint Piteroum. Somewhere between the Nile and the Red Sea, an angel visited the hermit on a remote mountain and told him, “Why do you consider yourself a pious man? If you wish to see someone who is more pious than you, go to the convent at Tabennis. There you will find a nun who wears a rag around her head. She is your superior.”
St. Piteroum took the angel’s advice and traveled to the convent, something that was done only on exceptional occasions as the male and female communities were strictly segregated. When he asked to see all the nuns, he noticed that the one with a rag on her head was missing. “Is this all of you?” he asked. “Yes, father, all of us are here,” answered the igoumena. “ The nun who the angel described is not here,” he replied.
“Well there is one more. But she is touched in the head. She is working in the kitchen,” she said.
Isadora was dragged to the reception hall to meet the holy father. Once he saw her, he bowed and asked for a blessing. She bowed to him asking for a blessing from him. While the nuns urged him not to take her seriously, he reproached them for not recognizing that this “crazy” one was in fact a woman of great spiritual knowledge who surpassed them in holiness. One by one, the nuns accepted this revelation and came crying in repentance to her feet.
Once her true spiritual state was revealed, Isadora had trouble dealing with all the spiritual papparrazi who came to venerate her as a holy woman. She soon after left the convent and disappeared into the wilderness. No one knows where or when she died.
The idea of playing “the fool for Christ” is a difficult one to understand outside of a Christian context. Coined by St. Paul, it refers to the discrepancy between outward appearance and inward truth. The ways of God are opposite to those of the world in many ways subverting them, so that what seems “weak” is actually “strong”, what seems “foolish” is actually “wise.” The ways of God are not the ways of the world. In fact, God’s wisdom has a way of turning the world’s ways upside down in ironic reversals. (“If any one thinks they are wise, let them become a fool so that they may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God” 1 Corinthians 3:18).
Isadora is one of the first saints to be donned with this title. The 4th century manuscript makes it seem as if she were pretending or faking that she was crazy or slow, but had she really been mentally ill or disturbed would not have changed her holiness and the recognition she deserves for her spiritual struggles. Christ I am sure would see that there is a blessing and a deeper wisdom in madness. That the mentally ill or mentally retarded, those who suffer from emotional or psychological disorders, have a different handle on the world. It is they who are freed from the conventional constraints of the world, who are excused for their folly, who can critique it and actually tell the truth as it is without fearing ridicule because they are beyond it, that are more wise and true in the eyes of God than the “normal” ones. The story of Saint Isadora contests to this idea and the paradoxical truth of God’s wisdom, that those who are “slow” might be quick wits, and those who play dumb are actually wise. We cannot judge from external appearances the true merits of a human soul. The inner life of the soul is so mysterious that only God can judge it. And that in order to gain favor with God, we must go against the outward trappings of success, glory, honor, reputation that our fellow men and women aspire to and answer to a higher and deeper calling. She reminds us how much we can benefit from the foolish wisdom of the mentally ill.
Feast Day: May 10th