St. Dorcas was a prominent Greek woman in Joppa (modern-day Jaffa in Israel) who served as an apostle spreading the word of Christ in the sharing of her good works. She is honored in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Lutheran Churches. The Episcopal Church honors St. Dorcas along with St. Lydia and St. Phoebe on January 27.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, "Please come to us without delay."
So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, "Tabitha, get up." Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up.
Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner. – Acts 9:36-43
As soon as St. Dorcas was revived from death, it’s quite possible that she got up and cooked a traditional Middle Eastern meal for herself and everyone in the house before she continued her good works of discipleship and acts of charity.
Filled with your Holy Spirit, gracious God, your earliest disciples served you with the gifts each had been given: Lydia in business and stewardship, Dorcas in a life of charity, and Phoebe as a deacon who served many. Inspire us today to build up your Church with our gifts in hospitality, charity and bold witness to the Gospel of Christ; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever. Amen. Collect, Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints
Make homemade pita bread in honor of St. Dorcas who served Jesus Christ in her ordinary yet vital acts of caretaking.
I call this recipe Apostle's Bread because it’s the type of bread that Jesus would have eaten, broken, and shared at the table with his friends and followers.
(More photos below.)
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup warm water between 100-110 degrees F
½ cup room-temperature water
About 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or ¾ cup whole wheat flour and ¾ cup all-purpose flour, combined)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
About two teaspoons olive oil
Extra flour for shaping
1. Heat water until it reaches 100 to 110 degrees F; pour into liquid measuring cup.
2. Stir in yeast. Quickly stir in 1 teaspoon sugar.
3. After 10 minutes, thick foam should have developed on top indicating that the yeast is proofed or alive.
4. Add ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
5. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
6. Pour in yeast mixture.
7. Using clean hands, mix gradually until all the liquid is absorbed.
8. Wash and dry hands again.
9. Sprinkle flour onto a clean, flat surface and on the sticky ball of dough.
10. Knead (squish, mash, push, pull) the dough for 7 minutes then shape into a ball.
11. Place dough ball in large glass or oven-safe bowl coated with two teaspoons of olive oil. Roll ball around until it’s also coated. Cover bowl with a damp towel.
12. Heat oven to “warm,” place bowl in oven, then TURN OVEN OFF. Proof (let rest) until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
13. Place dough on floured surface and gently pat down into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.
14. Cut dough into 8 pieces.
15. Shape each piece into a ball with a smooth top by pulling dough from the sides and tucking underneath.
16. Cover dough balls with a piece of lightly-oiled plastic wrap and let rest for ½ hour.
17. “Wash” hands in flour and lightly sprinkle flour onto work surface. Shape each dough ball into a flat round bread about ¼ inch thick. Let rest for 5 minutes.
18. Brush a tiny amount of olive oil in frying pan and set at medium to medium-high heat.
19. Cooking one at a time, lay each dough disk onto the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes until bread begins to puff up and bottom begins to brown in spots.
20. Flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes.
21. Flip again and cook for another ½ minute.
22. Remove and place on plate. Repeat with remaining disks.
23. When breads are cool enough to handle, cut in half, and gently separate the tops and bottoms to form pockets.
Fill with Egyptian Chicken and vegetables or spread with butter and serve with Lentil Stew. They can also be cut into triangles and served with yogurt cucumber dip or hummus.