June 11, 2013

The Miraculous Naming of an Atheist Greek Singer

Notis Sfakianakis, whose full first name is Panagiotis, is one of the most commercially successful Greek singers of all time in Greece and Cyprus, but is also known for his controversial image and outspoken manner and opinions. He openly speaks about his atheism and criticizes the Greek Orthodox Church. An example of this can be read in the following interview with Gazetta.gr from January 27, 2013: Νότης: Η συνέντευξη που σοκάρει!

In this interview, he makes the following confession of a miracle of the Panagia which resulted in his naming:

Only my grandfather and Tolis Voskopoulos called me Panagiotis. Yes, my grandfather had seen a vision. He was in bed reading his newspaper, and he later recounted to me the following: "Panagioti, at one point as I was reading the newspaper I felt a presence in the room, and since it did not speak or move I thought it was your grandmother, so I turned and saw an unknown woman. I was amazed and she told me that my daughter is pregnant, the child is a boy, that I was to allow no harm to come to him, and to name him Panagioti."[1]

My grandfather was an unbeliever, a spitting image. He was an educated man, tough. He passed through two wars, and had three marks from bullets on his body.

Immediately, then, he yelled for my grandmother and asked what she was hiding, who responded: "Nothing, what is this you are saying?" He says to her threateningly, "Hey, you are hiding something."

My grandmother gave in and told him my mother was pregnant, meanwhile they had two children and you know they thought about it. "Nothing will happen," he said, "or I will cut your legs off. The child will be born and be baptized with the name Panagiotis." And this is how it happened.

1. The name Panagioti comes from Panagia, which is an epithet for the Virgin Mary and means "all-holy". This unknown woman seems to have been the Panagia.