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!

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...