December 26, 2009

The Panagia's Judgment On My Great-Grandmother

The earliest member of my family to emigrate to America was my great-grandfather Haralambos Boustris, who arrived in the first decade of the twentieth century when he was only fourteen years old. It was in America that he met and married my great-grandmother Christoula, and they settled initially in Connecticut. While in Connecticut they had three children who survived - Penelope the oldest, followed by Fotoula (who told me this story) then Andoni. They also had about ten other children, but they all died as infants from polio. Unable to bear the grief of losing so many children any further, they moved back to Greece to the village of Vryna near Olympia when Andoni was seven months old.

When in Greece my great-grandmother Christoula prayed to the Panagia in her grief to bless her with another child that would survive. The Panagia then appeared to her in a vision and told her that her request would be granted, on the condition that the child be dedicated to her from birth, wear only black clothing, become a monk, and be named Panagioti. Christoula was granted a child and was obedient to the request of the Panagia for a couple of years, however it came to the point where she got tired of dressing the child in black everyday. One day she dressed Panagioti in other colors, breaking the covenant she had with the Panagia, and within 24-hours the child was dead.

Soon thereafter my great-grandparents were granted another child. He survived and his name was Vasilios, my grandfather. He emigrated with my mother to America in 1970 to cure his tuberculosis.