Watertown, Jefferson County
Traditional Pastry Makers
Since Saint Vasilios was consecrated in 1951 as the only Greek Orthodox church north of Syracuse, members of the congregation—mostly women—have sponsored sales of pastries to the public as fund raisers to support the church. For several weekends twice a year—one two weeks before Christmas and one a week before Western Easter—the cooks prepare at least 15,000 pastries like fenekia (honey cookies), diples (crullers), koulourakia, baklava, and tsoureki (Sunday bread) in the church’s kitchen, then hundreds of local people come to the church to stock up. The pastry makers—several now in their 80s—describe these times spent together as important opportunities for spiritual and ethnic renewal as well as a chance to support their church. The congregation has over 200 members scattered through the North Country.