Sunday, August 17, 2008

Douglas has gone to church. It is the 40 days memorial service for Jannis. Chris is still in Athens and I was not feeling too well and didn’t think I wanted to sit through three hours of Greek Orthodox service in what will be I am sure a crowded church (if the funeral is anything to go by). I did get up early and got ready with every intention of going but the way to hell etc., etc., so Douglas carries our obligations on his sturdy shoulders.

I have absolutely no idea where the Orthodox Church got the idea that it takes 40 days for the soul to reach heaven but it is no more an outrageous belief than seventy virgins waiting in paradise for a martyr to turn up and if it gives some comfort to the bereft why worry about it? As far as the departed are concerned it is my belief they won’t know anything anyway but, should the church be correct in its assumptions, presumably Jannis’ soul is now at the pearly gates waiting for St. Peter to let him in. I still think of him quite fondly although our verbal exchanges, due to my appalling Greek, hardly ever went further than health and the weather. It was always such a cheery “Glee-en!” shouted across from their house to ours whenever he saw me on the terrace watering plant pots. That is the sixth death of an ancient in our close vicinity. Well, they all lived to a truly ripe old age and Jannis’ widow has beautiful grandchildren to comfort her and keep her well occupied. Family and home still mean a great deal in Greece.

Douglas is back and, as I thought, the church was packed. Jannis would have been well pleased I’m sure.

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