Thursday, October 7, 2010

The revenge of an Archimandrite, serious stuff

When I was a kid in Brooklyn, I was an altar boy at our church, I was even the head altar boy. We needed an extra altar boy, he had to be tall, since the robe we had was a long one. I went down to the Sunday school and picked a kid to be an altar boy. He was about three years younger than me. He was to be the junior kid, in the gang of altar boys. It was a gang; we after all had access to the communal wine (which as I remember was Manoshevitz kosher wine).

I, as the head altar boy got to carry the incense burner (themiato), next to the Priest. The others carried various banners and crosses; the junior carried a mere candle, the lowest of the low.

Many years later I went into advertising, and that tall kid became a Priest not only a priest but an Archimandrite, he turned out to be a great priest, perhaps because he fit the robe we had when we were kids and altar boys.

We remain good friends, he blessed the little chapel we have on our property here in Greece. He taught me a lot about our heritage, religious as well as cultural.

About eighteen years ago, he presided over the baptism of our grand niece. We went to the church in Brooklyn where he is the Archimandrite. We had some little girls holding candles around the baptismal font, as is the custom. One of the little girls was having a problem with her candle. Father Eugene asked me to hold the candle in her place.

He came around the font chanting and carrying the incense burner and shaking it with wonderful enthusiasm, the bells on it were ringing, making a beautiful sound. All Greeks know this sound.

As he came around he whispered to me “ Now who has the candle and who has the incense burner?”

He waited over forty years to get his revenge.
Those Archimandrites never forget.


  1. Not only that but as I remember it Greg, the candle was quite a production with a very large ruffle and lace base.
    Father Eugene is not only a priest of considerable substance, but his sermons are always timely, erudite and brilliantly delivered as witnessed by those faithful who are drawn every Sunday to church.

  2. I think Fr. Eugene would make a great creative director. He seems like quite a guy. Great story.

  3. Love this story! Fr. Eugene is quite a character. He definitely makes church interesting and memorable.

  4. Bravo Father Eugene, what a character. Has he ever thought of founding a University for priests? I'm sure he can teach a few things to millions of so-called 'priests' out there...