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March 12, 2021

Mr. Vasilis Voutsas

By Michalis Malamas
February 21, 2021

It has been twenty years since I met him.

Those difficult years for me.

My sister was seriously ill and I came and went to Kavala every day.

Many times there at the intersection of Poulidi Nursing Home I saw an old lad with two nylon bags in hand hitchhiking.

Once I stopped.

"Where are you going?"

"To the dunes, but it suits me if you leave me in Eleftheroupolis. Someone will be found there to pick me up."

It was winter.

I had nothing special to do, so I headed for the dunes.

"What are you doing at such a time of year at the beach?

"They have some stray dogs out there in the wilderness. I am retired, I go to the butchers every morning, they give me bones, I boil them, and I go in the afternoon to feed them."

We have arrived.


Suddenly, out of nowhere, dogs began to gather, leaping on him and rejoicing.

"Slowly boys, you will scare the man!!!"

After feeding them, distributing the contents of the bags fairly, he undressed and dived into the icy waters in a swimsuit.

Mr. Vasilis was a retired administrative employee of IKA [Social Insurance Institute] Kavala.

He lived alone in a house in Vyronas.

He did not have a TV.

He listened only to the radio station of the Church of Greece.

I was never able to count how many times he repeated in whispers: "Glory to God, glory to God ..."

We met quite often in the beginning.

I later learned that he was given a single room in the Constantio Nursing Home.

I regularly went to see my friend Elli Sachlou and I passed by his room.

He was completely hunched over.

It hurt.

Urinary problems.

Twenty years ago I mentioned some of my family names to him.

"What is he doing? What is she doing?"

He prayed daily for everyone he met.

Alive and dead.

"Don't worry about me, here I am like a king," he told me.

Today from the [Facebook] page of my friend Demetrios Giouzelis I learned that Mr. Vasilis left us.

From there I took his photo.

They are the saints, as we say.

The everyday people who usually pass by us and we do not pay attention to them.

They do not shine on us externally.

Inside they shine.

Good Paradise, dear Mr. Vasilis. Remember us from up there.

We need it. 

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.