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.”
“Like what?”
“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?”
“Good morning.”
“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).  🙂

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