Giorgis’ confession

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Father Lias Karapetis from Pezi used to deliver mass from 1850 to 1865 at the church of Aghios Taxiarchis. Every Saturday night he visited Magganitis. At some point the Bishop of Samos appointed him as confessor. Amongst all the instructions, the Bishop also explained the canon (punishments) depending on the gravity of the sins.

At that time the gravest sin amongst Ikarians was rustling. The Bishop was well aware of that and urged the priest to start each confession by asking the worshipers how many animals they have stolen. And the punishment was the following: for one animal, one month of fast and a hundred penances every night. For two animals, two months of fast and two hundred penances every night. The calculations were easy, so the Bishop skipped from two to ten, that is ten weeks of fast and a thousand penances every night.

A few days go by, and some Karimalis goes to the priest to confess his sins. As soon as the priest laid eyes on him, he knew what this was about and asked him: “Damn you, Giorgis, what kind of shit job did you get yourself into, this time?”

The sinner walked in, took a seat on a stool and with a conspiratorial tone in his voice confessed he had stolen two female and one male goat.

The priest was puzzled. As much as he tried to remember the guidelines offered by the Bishop, he was sure he never said anything about three animals. He thought long and hard and at last he put his hand on Giorgis’ head and told him: “Listen to me well. You will leave here with Godspeed. You will go and steal 7 more animals. And then, you will come and find me and set everything straight.”

Karimalis run out of the church as fast as he could, before the priest had a chance to change his mind. He was, though, very pleased. At night his friends came over to visit and inquire about his harsh punishment. So they asked him, what the priest told him, once he confessed his sins. Giorgis told them everything down to the last detail. He also urged them, since they shared the same vices, to go themselves to same benevolent old priest. After listening to the story, Kochylas, another well-known rustler said: “Tomorrow morning, the earliest possible, I’m going to confession. I haven’t had any meat for days now, and I need to steal some to restock. After all, what blind man doesn’t want his sight back?”

Jiannis Kefalos

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