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Date of Event
Monday
Oct202014

Gerasimos Kambites M. Div. M.D. FRCPC

 

  Gerasimos will use his knowledge in Theology, Psychiatry and Medicine, along with his slides from National Geographic to share with you the stories of his life, and the teachings of the Church.  His knowledge and his stories are sure to vibrate with the stories of your lives and leave you with faith, hope and love.

Learn more »

For more on his book, Tears on the Equator, Click Here

 

Biography

I could write a list of what I have done in my life and that would certainly be a resume, but I would rather introduce myself  through a short story.

 

We begin in 1885, when my Papou Andreas Karandonis Kambites left the village of Kranidhion in the Peleponisos to settle in Montreal. I know only a few things about him. He was a helper of the poor, a businessman who made a vast fortune and lost it in the great depression and a sad lonely man a year who sent his wife and children back to Greece in 1913 the year my Baba was born.

 

Twenty years would pass before Papou impoverished and crippled would see his family. His sons, so deeply angry at his abandonment left for England never to see their mother Kalomira again. My Baba, John, had learned to make boots at the kind hands of Spyros Kapsalakis who was deaf and mute, and decades later when I was growing up in an immigrant area of Montreal, our basement was always filled with the wondrous smell of clean polished leather.

 

Baba, a warrior, spent 3 years in a concentration camp where he suffered terribly so I ended up being raised in the home of an angry, yet kind alcoholic who placed great emphasis on education. Decades later I would learn the name of his illness.

 

There were two books on our kitchen table. One was the basic writings of Sigmund Freud and the other, the writings of Plato. Baba had lost the faith of his youth in the brutality of the camp, but my mother Angeliki kept our Orthodox Faith alive with her oil lamp and Icons of St. Nicholas, St Phanourios and the Panagia. So there in that kitchen which was adjacent to Dad’s corner store,  the poetry of knowledge and Holy Faith played their role in my young life.

 

School was a trial for me; my Dad’s thick accent was a sharp point for mockery and teachers 60 years ago were quick to say, “you Greek, you will never go to university or be a writer.”

 

Working daily in the store taught me a great deal about people, and their lives—everyone wants to talk to the person behind the counter. We lived with our neighbors who were French and English, Irish and Ukrainian, Croatian and German Dutch and Greek. Ten years after the war, there were still harsh feelings and political arguments. I decided at a young age to believe what I knew to be true and not to argue with people as I prayed to God, to bring me to him. By twelve a stunning experience on Good Friday with a Miraculous Icon from Mount Athos drove me out of the Church—I had no way to understand it, but by the age of 21 having finished a University Degree in Political Science and growing up deeply within the hippie generation a door opened which would lead me back to Christ. During a major political crises in Canada in 1970, my ability to speak French landed me a plum correspondents job with the United Press International(UPI), but two years later I yearned  for adventure and  joined the Transworld Snowmobile Expedition, Minnesota to Moscow as a cameraman.  We never made it to Moscow and very nearly perished on Greenland’s great glaciers. Lost and hungry—ten days without food—with death very close. I used the last of my strength to climb to the top of a canyon and read the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, praying to serve Christ with all of my life if we survived.

 

My prayer answered, just months later I went to Holy Cross/Hellenic college in Boston started my Master’s Degree in Divinity. There I met my wife to be, Sarah who was from a Ugandan Orthodox family. The complexities of that relationship sent me to St. Katherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai for six months. There, another door was opened and I ended up running a barefoot medical clinic. This led me to Medical School, marriage to my African Orthodox fiancée, an article in National Geographic, and the beginning of the dream of building a Church, Clinic and school in Uganda.  Once again the threat of death, this time from Malaria, opened the door to Holy Ordination in the presence of  a copy of the Portaitissa icon I had seen as a child.  From 1983 until 1988  we served in a country, riddled by war and the AIDS pandemic. This tested my Priesthood, my medical knowledge and indeed every part of my being. Civil war and suspicion  of foreigners led to my arrest as a spy, imprisonment and finally deportation. Life for our family came back to Canada where I studied psychiatry in an effort to understand my own trauma. I have recently published an autobiography, “Tears on the Equator,” which details our spiritual struggles in Africa.

 

So this is what I want to come and share with you, the battle to remain faithful and especially how to recover from the falls we all face.

 

I will use my knowledge in Theology, Psychiatry and Medicine, with my slides from National Geographic to share with you the stories of my life, and the teachings of our Church which will vibrate with the stories of your lives and leave you with faith, hope and love. I look forward to the honor of being your guest.
You can access links posted by Gerasimos’s National Geographic editor here:
A WHITE GREEK ORTHODOX PRIEST
in BLACKEST UGANDA
 

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS MONUMENTAL READ!
An adventure tale first shared with the world
in two epic NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE articles,
NOW GREATLY EXPANDED INTO THIS NEW CLASSIC BOOK.

 
 

 

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