I was happy that Katina was able to recover this little segment from an old Vox Populi programme of long ago.  Not necessarily that it captures me in a more enthusiastic and youthful phase in my life, but also for the documenting of my parents George and Helen in our ‘pre-historic’ café, the legendary Reno Café [where I have elsewhere in this journal written about]. Where incidentally, they were to add at least another twelve years to their more than a few decades in our shoppe on 341 King Street, Newtown. As for that stretched red Volvo outside the shop? I still remember the delight in Mum’s eye when it was delivered one memorable afternoon from the previous owner, and the jibes from my mates that I had joined the ranks of the much maligned ‘Volvo driver’! The opening segment to the clip is not from the actual graduation of my class but presumably stock footage held by SBS [you would have noted the beloved Sir Roden Cutler inspecting the passing out parade and the former ‘colourful’ minister of police Mr Bill Crabtree]. In the picture I am with my younger cousin James and my two friends in the café are Dom and Linda. The place of worship where I am lighting a candle and where I would attend the Divine Liturgy on most Sundays, is the Church of Saint Demetrius , the patron saint of Thessaloniki, a fine example of Byzantine religious architecture located near the Aristotelian on Egnatias Avenue. The clip though short was a time-consuming process originally intended for a longer story, it is why I am bearded in some places [the segments shot in Thessaloniki, Greece] and ‘moustachioed’ when the filming was done here in Sydney, Australia. I had completed my first year in the School of Theology at the Aristotelian  in the north of Greece where I came impossibly close to topping the year and had just returned home after it was determined that I should continue with my studies as one of the inaugural students at the newly established Saint Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College  in Sydney. On a personal note it was encouraging to show my children that their Dad’s philosophy of life has pretty much remained steadfast despite the many ‘twists and turns’, and that there was a time when he too was living in a younger man’s clothes.
Listening to my ad hoc ‘commentary’ and reminding myself this is a young fellow in his early twenties, I am not too embarrassed by what I hear. But I would not speak in such absolute terms today having crossed over into the fifth decade of my life. “Time passed”, as Pablo Neruda has said. Though I was learning and growing in some encouraging ways, there remains a naivety to my words. It is perhaps telling that it was not too long after this interview I would be ordained into the priesthood. The simple truth, I was not ready. The naivety has long since gone, I would hope, and the fundamentalism [‘the overtly spiritual confidence’] has been considerably tempered and in places broken, by the “twists and turns”. Yet, for the most part, outside my wife and children this could well be my only true success in life, that when I look into the mirror despite seeing a face too often unrecognizable, I still deeply connect with that passionate young man. At the foundation remains the incontestable purpose behind our individual ‘journey-making’, the challenge to become a decent human being (Ludwig Wittgenstein).
“Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20)