“No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.” So said Plato.
The old sage’s words doubtless apply to the late Reverend Anastasios Diakovasilis, Presbyter Economos of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Flushing, New York – a priest was unique in his generation. He came from the school of hard knocks, raised during WWII and amid the devastation and poverty of 1950s civil-war-torn Greece, and took refuge in religion and poetry.
His legacy extends beyond his mortal life, it seems, as Mrs. Theodora (Dora) Lagos was so moved by the January memorial service two years after his 2012 death that she commissioned a banner in his honour.
“I wanted to do something special in his memory,” she explained in a telephone interview. “I asked Father Paul Palesty for guidance. He was most supportive, instructing me in the right choice of buying a Banner of the Ascension in memory of Father Anastasios. With Father Paul’s support, we ordered a banner from the Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Australia. I mentioned my idea to all. Persons and organizations from his island of Nysiros and his friends from the community were happy to support me. I was honored and happy to work with these persons. Their donations made this banner possible, to see something special in Father Anastasios’ name in St. Nicholas Church.”
Mrs. Lagos continued saying “the banner cost $5,000 and was hand-delivered on Good Friday, April 18th. The banner is hand-embroidered with gold thread.
We raised $13,375. The remainder of the funds will be used to place the banner in a frame in front of the church with a twenty-four-hour burning candili (votive lamp).”
The community of St. Nicholas had the honor of viewing the richly embroidered tapestry displayed prominently in front of the altar during the Easter liturgies. Mrs. Theodora Lagos was the motivating force behind this unique memorial in memory of a humble presbyter. She believes “he gave warmth to the sick and lonely person.” (https://greekreporter.com/2013/01/24/rev-anastasios-diakovasilis-one-year-memorial-service)
His wife, Presvitera Maria, shared in the success of his ministry. Knowing a Greek-born priest with old-fashioned values evoked memories of lost youth with parents or grandparents. The late Rev. Anastasios Diakovasilis’ sympathy, compassion and positive attitude will remain with all who had the honor of knowing him.