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February 25, 2010

The best part about being raised Greek Orthodox was that I never learned to speak Greek. In the two or three times a year I attended church, I had no idea what was going on; in church, I would just fidget and listen to the sing-songy voice of the priest speak in a language I had no comprehension of.

I’ve never read the bible. I’ve never gone to Sunday School. I’ve never been preached to about sins I’m committing, the evil ways of the heathens, or anything like that – at least in my own language. It’s allowed me to stay relatively neutral as far as my relationship with religion goes. I’ve never been deeply religious, and I’ve never really known enough to be anti-religion (at least as far as my own religion goes!). Being detached from the religious nature of my church has always allowed me to embrace the cultural side of it. The Greek Orthodox Church is, after all, Greek.  The church is tied to my ethnicity and familial traditions well before it’s tied to my religious beliefs.

That being said, though, there are a few things I really feel like I missed out on. If I ever want to be a contestant on Jeopardy, for instance, I would probably want to read the bible instead of gathering all of my information on the new testament from Jesus Christ Superstar. Really, though, what I wish I could have learned more about, and applied to my life as a little kid, is the story of my patron saint, Katherine of Alexandria.

Katherine was born in into nobility in c. 282 A.D in Alexandria, Egypt. The daughter of a governor, Katherine was noted for her incredible intelligence, wealth, and beauty. She refused the advances of many men that wished to marry her because she could not find a man that was equal to her. The emperor, in particular, wanted to marry her, but she professed that her love was to Jesus Christ. At that, she was sentenced to tortue via spiked wheel. After the wheel magically broke and killed onlookers, the emperor had her beheaded.

She’s a patron saint of apologists, archivists, educators, girls, lawyers, librarians/libraries, philosophers, scholars, scribes, students, teachers, and unmarried women.

Pretty cool patron saint, huh?

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