My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Nov 14

Name Day

Category: Life,Opinions

So, a few of you actually guessed right, I was at a Greek Orthodox church, because…

A few months ago I started e-mailing with my high-school honors world history teacher, Maria (Ms. Palios way back when), but unlike how a lot of my e-mail correspondence tends to go, our correspondence stuck. She’s just very kind, and very smart, and she writes e-mails that feel like paper letters. I think that’s why I kept writing back, I love the idea of paper letters, old-fashioned correspondence. Then we met for tea, and now we hang-out once a week. I pretty much only hung out with my teachers IN high-school, so being friends with one now isn’t a big stretch. Maria also isn’t a ton older than me, so we have more in common. It’s a total fluke, she’s gotten to be one of my best friends.


Archangel, Michael

Archangel, Michael

A bit after we met, Maria gave me this carving of my namesake, the Archangel, Michael. We’d talked about our faith before, I’m a kind of, maybe Catholic, she’s totally Greek Orthodox. Usually, I get gifts like this, usually trying to “save me,” and it just feels… weird. I say a nice “Thank you,” stick the whatever in my closet, and never see it again. This felt different. Maria knew about my faith, knew I like religion, but am not religious, and that I like religious art, so it felt like a unique, thoughtful gift, rather than someone trying to sell me something. This is why it’s hanging on my wall, not stuffed in my closet.

Well, then she told me about how the Greek Orthodox celebrate the Archangels, and the Saints (technically, they recognize the Archangels AS Saints), and that when they celebrate Michael on November Eighth (I have to ask if it’s always November Eighth, or if it’s something that shifts, like Easter Sunday), that’s my Name Day, which people also celebrate. I’d never been to a Greek Orthodox church, or seen a Greek Orthodox Liturgy (it’s like a Catholic High Mass), so we went. It was honestly the best church experience I’ve ever had, it felt the way I’ve always wanted church to feel. Everybody was welcoming, people talked to each other. It was just a really spectacular feeling, being in a beautiful church where everyone was happy.

This isn’t actually the end of my Greek Orthodox journey, the next part’s kind of a shocker…


5 Comments so far

  1. Robin November 15th, 2013 7:04 am

    I love it! Can’t wait to see what happens next. Your writing seems happy & bright – love seeing your heart shine!

  2. Jenn November 15th, 2013 8:04 am

    I thought those pictures looked familiar. I’ve been Orthodox 12 years. 🙂

  3. Carol November 15th, 2013 10:13 am

    Waiting to see what happens next. There is a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church close to where I live, in Tarpon Springs. Is that where you went?

  4. maria X (Mrs. Xenick in your school life) November 16th, 2013 9:56 pm

    What a beautiful post, Michael. Thank you for your kinds words and your open-mindedness to come visit. It was a wonderful experience for me to share my church and faith with you. A couple of clarifications:

    * The feast of St. Michael is not a movable feast – it is always on November 8.
    * I am NOT a TON older than you, just a decade 🙂
    * I do not agree with one comment: NOTHING about this is a total fluke.

    Can’t wait to read your part two, although i have the inside scoop 🙂


  5. Ranata December 23rd, 2013 2:40 am

    It was interesting to stumble across this website. What a wonderful story! I have been through a few religions (Islam, Catholism, JW, various Christian churches) but I have never fell this awe inspiring feeling that I felt when I went to the Orthodox Church. It was difficult to few the imagery/ icons simply because I was persuaded to believe as a youth that in Deut. it taught that we are not to worship and make images of things in heaven or on earth. The Holy Trinity was a hard concept for me at first too. I absolutely love the Greek Assumption Church of the Theotokos!!! That is my church…I feel the warmth of the brotherhood and the love of faith within its members. Fasting is serious for communion with God there. Maria please include my family with your prayers.