I have been sitting in on a Ecclesiology class taught by Fr. Prof. Nicholas Loudovikos here in Thessaloniki. It was an extremely interesting class, but I feel compelled to try and paraphrase one story that he told, which particularly stuck out in my mind:
(WARNING: This story is translated from memory and certainly contains mistakes. You’ll get the general idea though. I’ll ask him to repeat it to me again so I can make sure that everything is correct)
Fr. Nicholas was describing his earlier days and gave the following story as an example of the piety of the laity and how necessary it is for us all to actualize our individual charisms in the Church--the body of the Christ. He was telling us that when he was a young priest he was sent to help out in one of the nearby villages with a priest. He was asked to give the sermons, and he mentioned that he began to become angry with the villagers because he didn’t think that they understood the sermons that he was preaching because of how educated he was and how simple they were. One Sunday, he went with the priest and some of the elders (parish council members) for some coffee at a nearby cafe. As they were sitting there one of the elders began to talk about a particular occurrence in their parish. It so happened that at a certain point they were wondering if their church had yet been consecrated by a Bishop. It was realized that indeed it had not been consecrated. The villagers, being of a simple disposition, were worried that the Holy Spirit would not come down for Liturgy if the church was not consecrated. They were so concerned with this dilemma that they decided to fast for 3 weeks and pray to God to reveal to them whether or not the Holy Spirit came down during liturgy. On the third Sunday of their fast they all gathered for liturgy and suddenly, during the liturgy, the whole room was filled with bright light and everything was illuminated in an amazing way. They realized from this that the Holy Spirit did indeed come down during liturgy. From then on Fr. Nicholas wasn’t mad at them for not understanding his sermons.
Glory to God in His Saints (both known and unknown)!