WHITESTONE – Fr. Andreas Konanos lectured at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone on November 3 in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and community members who crowded into the church to attend the evening’s enlightening discussion.
Fr. Konanos in his engaging manner discussed how our thinking often determines our lives and that changing one’s thinking, getting rid of negative thoughts, for example, and changing one’s perspective can truly change an individual’s life for the better. Much of the suffering people live through on a daily basis is due to getting trapped in these thought patterns which are the opposite of what God wants for us.
Fr. Konanos pointed out that God wants us to be happy and to live our best lives with love in our hearts and as the basis of all our actions and thoughts. He noted that negative thoughts are not from God and when we realize how much God loves us, and how love is behind everything, that is when life really changes for the better.
Using examples from his own life and those he has counselled over the years, Fr. Konanos also highlighted his points with references to saints and stories of how others overcame their challenges in life. For one man who was yearning for a woman who did not care for him and had in fact moved on to another relationship, Fr. Konanos said you should not give the keys of your happiness to one person, you give them too much power over you when you can choose to move on like the other person already did and find someone who will love you as you are.
He also mentioned how impressed he is with the Greek community in the United States from his first visit to Chicago years ago where he was invited to speak. He observed that with all the abundance around us and so much to be thankful for there are many people who still struggle with depression and anxiety and while many are rich in monetary wealth, their souls are poor.
Fr. Konanos also noted that taking responsibility for our lives and working on improving our spiritual health through reading the Gospels and the Psalms and participating in the mysteries of the church, taking communion regularly and confession are the keys to seeing that love is behind everything and to helping others see it in church and in life.
Following the lecture, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros presented Fr. Konanos with a gift in honor of his continuing efforts to help people. His Eminence also noted that Christians have a bad reputation for being against anything fun, when in fact, God wants us to be happy and expressions of happiness and having fun, including dancing and singing, are part of that and not at all forbidden.
Fr. Konanos then signed books in the Vasilios and Athanasia Hall of the church where coffee and sweets were also offered to all those present.
The Garden Inside by Fr. Konanos, in Greek and in English editions, was among the books available for purchase at the event. A CD of recordings from Fr. Konanos’ radio program Atheata Perasmata (Unseen Crossings) is included with the book.
Fr. George Anastasiou, presiding priest of the Holy Cross community, welcomed everyone to the lecture. Also present at the event were the recently appointed Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas, his wife Anthoula, his parents Nicholas and Panagiota, and his mother-in-law Maria Hatzimihalis. Parish Council President Effie Karalekas and many members of the council and the community also attended.
Fr. Andreas Konanos was born in Munich in 1970. With roots from Ioannina, he lived in Munich and from 1977 in Athens. He finished high school and studied Theology in Athens. Blessed Archbishop Christodoulos ordained him deacon in 1999 and Elder Archimandrite in 2000. He took over the parish of student meetings, vigils, speeches, and lectures at parents' schools and spiritual centers of the Archdiocese of Athens.
In 2006, he began the broadcast Unseen Crossings at the Radio Station Church of Piraeus. This broadcast led to invitations to speak in many cities in Greece, Cyprus, and America. His contact with Jerusalem, Mount Athos and Elders inside and outside Mount Athos are a source of strength in his life.