Yesterday, as I was in my parents’ kitchen talking to them, a little body comes flying in the door and hugs me.
“I didn’t know you were here!” says Vanessa. Before I could say anything else, she accuses, “And you went to see the Pope! And you didn’t take ME!”
Here’s the part where I stand here and look a little stupid. Why? Because, 1. I had no idea Nessie would want to go with me and 2. Vanessa (her mother legally changed her name to Vasaliki a few years back) is Greek Orthodox.
I’m not so sure her mother would want me to take her 9-year-old little girl to see the Bishop of Rome. But how to explain this to Va? So, I tell her that our churches are very similar, but there’s a difference in that her church doesn’t see the Bishop of Rome as her head. (Don’t they look to the Bishop of Constantinople?) She looks blankly at me, then says, “Oh! I know the bishops! We see them all the time!” Mmmm. Not quite what I meant. Let’s try again.
“Do you know about the filioque?”
“The what?” (Yeah, I predicted that answer….)
“Well, we believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son; your church believes that it just comes from the Father.”
“Right! Father, Son and Holy Spirit!”
“No, no. I mean that the Holy Spirit comes from both, not just the one.”
“Right! The Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son!” (Oops! I may have just bridged the schism.)
And, Vanessa’s reflections on Mass, “Sometimes, the priest will talk really fast, and I can’t understand what he’s saying, so I’ll just sit there and think about what I will do for the rest of the day. I’ll be like, ‘Do I want to ride my bike, or watch TV?’.”
And on speaking Greek:
“Okay, Ness, my priest speaks Greek, teach me something I can say to him.”
“I don’t know. Maybe something you say to your Mom.”
She says a phrase that I repeat. “Okay, what did I say?”
“I love you.”
“Um, maybe teach me a different phrase? I’m not sure he’d take that too well.”
She says another phrase, which I repeat. “And what’s that?”
“Well, that’s better. Hmmm. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to know that I can now say ‘Good morning! I love you!’ in Greek!”
And then, my Orthodox-corrupting is interrupted when her brother, Petros, comes in to tell her that Grandpa needs her to come home to help clean the fish (calamari). 🙂