I traveled a great distance this past weekend to become the godfather to baby Iosif Konstantinos Sifakis, son of my dear friends Manos and Maria Sifakis.
It was indeed a long trip– from Los Angeles where I’m currently residing, all the way across the USA, the Atlantic and Europe to its southeastern tip.
From Athens I drove several hours to a village high atop Mt. Pelion where a traditional Greek Orthodox service was held.
This was all done between a Thursday and a Monday. Yes, a long long weekend in Greece.
I was joined by my dear friend Alexis Fasseas who will serve as Iosif’s co-godparent with me.
Looking back, I would have made this journey a hundred times for this honor. Not only the honor of becoming a godfather, but the honor of continuing an important ritual of our cultural heritage as Greeks that binds us together and connects us directly to our past.
These are the things that carry on our Greek heritage from one generation to the next– these rituals and holy sacraments, these traditions and regional customs that we include, depending upon where we come from.
Like Iosif, I too was baptized in a similar ritual, as were my parents and theirs before them– it’s quite an awesome thing if you think about it– that our baptism is a link back to generation before generation.
Even though I’m far away from home, and the church and community I was born, baptized and raised in, it was a sort of homecoming for me this last weekend as I watched baby Iosif being dunked into the water, just like I was a generation ago as my parents stood by watching.
Thank you Maria and Manos for the honor. Na Mas Zisei!
Great photos from the baptism by John Magas here.