Two Surprise Connections . . .
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that our two oldest granddaughters, Grace and Anna Cushman (ages 10 and 9) have been visiting from Denver recently with their parents, our son Jason and his wife See. On Sunday morning before we all headed to St. John Orthodox Church, I sat down with Grace and Anna and read them the book Spyridon’s Shoes by Christine Rogers. Since Grace and Anna are avid readers themselves, it’s been a while since I read to them, but this was a story I really wanted to share with them.
In her note “From the Author” in the back of the book, Christine explains that Spyros, the main character in the book, is not a real person, but Saint Spyridon certainly is. He performed many miracles in his life, but this little book focuses on the way that Saint Spyridon’s shoes, which cover the feet of his incorrupt body in his tomb where he is buried on the Greek island of Corfu, are worn out and have to be replaced every year. Pieces of them are sent to churches all over the world, and we had a tiny piece, called a “secondary relic” (a primary relic would be a piece of a bone) attached to the icon of Saint Spyridon at St. John Orthodox Church here in Memphis. (See the tiny gold-framed object next to the icon at the right.)
As I read the story to Grace and Anna, they figured out before the end that Saint Spyridon was actually coming from Heaven to teach young Spyros to pray and to perform miracles for him and his family.
So, the first “surprise connection” to the story came when my Goddaughter Sarah Hodges sent me a text message asking if I’d like to go with her to hear Memphis-born Lee Durrell speak at Dixon Gallery and Gardens’ “Talk at Two” on November 10. I was a big fan of “The Durrells in Corfu” on TBS so I”m looking forward to the talk.
So, what’s the connection with Saint Spyridon? Although he was initially buried on the island of Cyprus, his relics were moved to the island of Corfu, and he is the patron saint of the island.
And the second surprise? I was telling this story to our pastor, Father Phillip Rogers, today, and he smiled and said, “Christine Rogers is my sister-in-law.”
This is a wonderful book for all ages. Early readers through middle grade will enjoy reading it themselves, but it isn’t a bit too “easy” for adults! Holy Saint Spyridon, pray to God for us!