Harmonious living is the highest and most difficult of Arts

It is possible that we learn the Art of harmonious living

through our mistakes, if we are taught by them.

In this long, and often painful, learning process,

cultivating virtues in our character is a must.

Applying common sense in every situation always helps.

This ultimate ART is our mission in this life!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Wages of Greek "Democracy"

In the beginning of May 1989, upon my return from London, where I had stayed for three months for personal and family purposes, I found my country unusually burning with political fervor. Campaigning for the most critical parliamentary elections was well under way. Greece almost resembled a vast political “coffee house” where young and old, learned and ignorant, were passionately engaged in aggressive debates on the most recent revelations and allegations of corruption in high places, including some accusations against Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou himself.
In the face of the unprecedented political and financial scandals, in which the Socialist government of PASOK (“Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement”) was mired, the word “Catharsis,” had become a slogan in the mouths of disappointed Greek people and, indeed, of the campaigners of every political party. Even Andreas Papandreou himself, famous for his charm and his populist sensibility, had to endorse...

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Tragicomic Story of Instant “Salvation”

The following incident took place in 1985, soon after my return to Greece from England, where I had lived and worked for 10 years. In the beginning I had made some connections with the Greek Evangelical community, albeit with an investigative and skeptical spirit. The story I shall relate here is true, and this experience was a determining factor for my openly denouncing the Evangelical doctrine of instant salvation by faith.
One day, in the beginning of January 1985, I had a phone-call from Manos, a Greek-American missionary, and a member of the so-called “Four Square Gospel” Pentecostal church in Athens. He asked me if I could go with him to the island of Kefalonia to “minister” to a few people there. He said that he had visited that island during the summer of 1984, distributing evangelistic leaflets published by the “Christian Literature Crusade”, and that several people who read them were interested and had invited him to go back and answer their questions. “Kefalonia? Yes, I would very much like to go there!” I answered. Visiting that “high place” of idolatry, and finding out more about the 400-year-old embalmed mummy of St. Gerasimos that is worshipped there, was...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Childhood in Dendron

I would like to share with you some happy memories from my childhood in Dendron, an agricultural village in the semi-mountainous part of Corinthia, some 140 kilometers west of Athens. Dendron is a tiny picturesque village, not even printed on some Greek maps, where thirty-five families lived in the years during and after the Second World War. 

Our family was the largest one, as my parents were blessed with five children, myself being the second in the row. Our father was ever so proud of us, while he earned the envy of the co-villagers who had one or two children! Despite our poverty, our parents – peace be unto them – tried hard to do their best for us. I am ever so grateful for such honest and loving parents, who imparted to us great values and principles that have stayed with us to this day. My father’s name was Charalambos, meaning ‘shining with joy’, and my mother’s was Eirini, meaning ‘peace’. Oh, I adored my parents, and tried always to please them.

Let me now briefly describe the village where I had spent the first twelve years of my life. Dendron means ‘tree’ and is derived from a centuries-old oak (valanidia), the huge branches of which used to cover the whole area of the village cemetery. That tree is no longer there. Its last huge horizontal branch, unable to sustain its enormous self-weight, was torn apart from the main trunk about twenty-five years ago. The noise it caused when falling on the ground or, rather, the graves, terrified the villagers, who thought that some huge bomb had exploded in the area...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Solitary Journey to Destiny

Shrove Monday, the first Monday of Lent, was a bright, sunny day, rather warm for the beginning of Spring, even in Greece. That year (1998), it fell on the 2nd of March and thousands of Athenians, faithful to popular Greek traditions, celebrated it by escaping to the nearby beautiful hills and beaches of Attiki. 

The merrymaking and feasting of the crazy carnival season had come to a close again; people had taken their ludicrous masks off, and were now ready to fly their multicolored kites in the air, as high as possible. They also looked forward to picnicking on the grounds with olives and ‘laganas’, that tasty unleavened flat bread made by bakers only once a year - exclusively on Shrove Monday!
Cavouri (crab) is a beautiful coastland on the Saronic Gulf, a few minutes’ walk from Urania’s apartment and, being only twenty-two kilometers away from central Athens, a very popular hiking area for many Athenians. It is surrounded by hills abounding with pines and is famous not only for its extended sandy beaches, but also...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lisa’s Baffling Love Affairs

It was during her two-month unpaid leave back in 2004 that 22-year-old Lisa had bought a small two-bedroom flat under construction, as a holiday home, in a coastal suburb of Malaga, Spain. In June 2005 her flat was ready and Lisa looked forward to spending August in Spain, but not alone. At that time she was madly in love with John, a guy who was employed by the same advertising company as her. John was entitled only to a fortnight’s leave, and so he would return to London two weeks before Lisa. They flew to Malaga on the 1st of August 2005, and had a fantastic time together. John never stopped thanking Lisa, often saying, “What more can a guy expect from a bird?”

Upon her return to London, a fortnight after John had left Malaga, Lisa was in for a great shock. On the following Saturday they were both invited by Dr. Hughes, the managing director of the small company they were working for, to a garden party at his beautiful villa in Wimbledon to celebrate his 50th birthday. John had found an excuse to go there separately, and Lisa saw nothing wrong with that. She arrived there first, and was warmly greeted by her boss, who wanted to know all about her holidays in Spain. Since Dr. Hughes already knew about Lisa’s love affair, she mentioned to him that John had joined her in Spain, and that he would arrive at the party later.

While they were still chatting with each other, John turned up at the garden door, but not alone! To Lisa’s embarrassment and bewilderment,...

Arete’s Ordeal in a Greek Condo

“Unless one is gifted with a cynical sense of humor, or is hard of hearing and shortsighted, thick-skinned, a blunt hypocrite and a swindler of sorts, living in a ‘con-demonium’ of a Greek city is neither fun nor healthy”, remarked Arete bitterly, while chatting with Nicolas, a short-term American tenant in a ground-floor flat at the same building.

Nicolas and his wife Barbara were very friendly people. Their landlord, Spyro (not the ‘Dragon’) – a peculiar character with occasional hysterical outbursts against his co-owners, who had moved out of that apartment-block in disgust some years ago – had introduced his new tenants to Arete, the only person in the condo with whom he was in touch. From the moment they met, Nicolas and Barbara had encouraged Arete to be a neighbor. Shortly afterwards they invited her for an afternoon coffee, an invitation she promptly accepted, as her passion to stand for the truth had...