Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Few Words About My Time With My Former Patristics Professor, Dr. George Bebis


I was sad to hear of the passing a few days ago of Dr. George Bebis, Professor Emeritus of Patristics at Holy Cross School of Theology.

For many years I had seen Dr. Bebis around campus when I was a student there, beginning in 1994 when I arrived, but I never actually got to have conversations with him until 2004, during my last year for the Masters of Theological Studies program. It was then that I was in need of credits to finish the program, but since I had taken every class offered at Holy Cross, and I maxed all the courses I could take in other theological institutions in the Boston area, I was required to approach the various professors on campus and ask them if they would allow me to take a special course with one of them not offered in the program. Since I was most interested in patristics and never had the opportunity to take a course with Dr. Bebis, who was mostly retired at the time and because Fr. George Dragas was the formal Patristics professor, I approached him and asked him if he would allow me to take a course with him that he had written a syllabus for but had yet to really teach, which was basically an advanced patristics course that was to cover all the Greek Fathers of the Church from after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the present. The reason he never really got to teach it was because his requirement was that the entire course had to be in Greek, and most students at Holy Cross didn't know enough Greek to take this course except the students who had actually come from Greece. For me, this was a welcome change and I actually preferred a course all in Greek, even though it is my second language. Having thus agreed, he told me to come to his office once a week at which time over the course of three hours the both of us would discuss the various Greek Fathers from 1453 to the present.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Killed by Indifference: A Challenge to our Collective Conscience


It was my last day in Paris in October of 2016, and before I left for the airport to return home to Boston, it was my goal to walk from my hotel across the street from Sorbornne University to the Saint-√Čtienne-du-Mont Church near the Pantheon in order to venerate the relics of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. I had to leave early in the morning if I was to make it on time. By my calculations, it should have taken around 10 minutes to walk, but I didn't take into account that most of the walking would be uphill. And another surprise awaited me that early Tuesday morning. Along my path I had to walk over the bodies of a family of sleeping refugees or homeless people (husband, wife and two children). The busy street was too narrow to walk without risk, so when I saw this family sleeping on the sidewalk, I had no choice but to walk over them to arrive at my destination. For all I knew they could have been dead, they were so motionless and spread out over the sidewalk. But assuming they were sleeping, I walked on, and decided that upon my return I would drop off whatever euros I had to spare before my European departure. I arrived at the church, venerated the relics, and when I returned to the spot where the homeless family was, they were gone. At least I knew they were alive.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Most Baffling Thing I Ever Witnessed


I've been baffled by many things, but there is one thing that still baffles me to this day, which was especially very strange and eerie.

Without identifying this person, there is some background information I will also share that may or may not have something to do with the incident.

The incident took place in my college dormitory. I was a senior and I was engaged to be married to a fellow student. One afternoon I was in the dorm room of my fiance, and through the paper-thin walls of the room we would often hear her next door neighbor snoring as she took a nap. But one day it was not snoring coming out of her as she napped, but something that was like ritual chanting - specifically Native American chanting is the closest I could describe it as, and it was done in a language I could not identify. It was not a recording of any sort, because her voice was distinct, yet the ritual chanting was done as if it was a professional doing it without interruption and without any hesitation and as creepy as it sounded it was done quite beautifully. It was constant, loud, and went on for at least an hour.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How I Won a $50 Gift Card To a Local Restaurant


Last night I received a message informing me that I won a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.

The contest to win the gift card came from a local movie theater on social media, who asked a question, and said the best answer will get an undisclosed prize. The question was: "What two movies from two different time periods, preferably one classic and one modern, would make a great double feature?" For fun I submitted an answer, and out of over 300 responses my choices won.

It's sort of by a combination of circumstance and reflection that I gave the winning answer. Here's the story.

A few weekends ago one of my favorite local theaters, a cinema that dates back over a hundred years, reopened after many months, and their first weekend they showed Casablanca, so I went to see it. It's a classic great film that I usually try to see on the big screen whenever I get an opportunity.

Monday, April 5, 2021

An American Boy With His Greek Communist Uncle

 
A few weeks ago my uncle Niko, the brother of my father, passed away, as I mentioned in my last post, and today I learned another uncle of mine, Philipa, the husband of my father's sister, died in Athens. Like my uncle Niko, I had not seen nor spoken with my uncle Philipa since 2001.

My uncle Philipa was an interesting character. Most of my stories with him go back to the summers of 1991 and 1992, when I spent some time with him.

What was interesting about my uncle Philipa was that he was a Greek communist, whose every fiber of his being was deeply political. And of all the members of my family, all his anger at both the government and ecclesiastical system was projected onto me. He wanted me, though I was only a fifteen year old American, to understand his perspective on politics and the Church. Why? I'm not sure. My thinking at the time was he either wanted me to believe things like him, because I seemed to be the only intellectual in the family, or he wanted someone like me to understand him and justify his thinking.