March 21, 2002 (from Bernard Manning to his cousin in Tasmania)
Demos Andreou’s Funeral. We had a very small funeral this morning. The service was in the home and a shorter service in the cemetery, which is only 500 meters away. We tried to keep everything quiet and simple. There was a fear that a priest would turn up and cause a lot of trouble, as they do. Fay Manning, Foteini, will be able to explain! The priest did not find out about the funeral. Demos’ life made the funeral easy. He looked lovely in his coffin, with a peaceful smile.
I am so glad that I was able to get here. It was a little miracle,as they changed the ship’s route at the last minute. Gloria has the garden a marvel of beauty with all the spring flowers out.There was a promise of rain however,this morning was fine and pleasant.Cyprus at its best after the wettest winter for years. Green everywhere, as in nearby Israel.
Our turn is coming, coming for all men, and it could be soon.I read of Daniel standing on his lot, his eternal inheritance, at the end of days, in the last verse of his book. I think a lot of his life was lonely, as was a lot of Demos’ life.
George returned to Athens on Friday. Planes were all very full because of Easter. John McQuillan arrived at 10 am at Larnaca on the 30th, possible because of the Emirates’ Airlines wonderful record for punctuality. John will spend about 2 weeks with us in Israel, and also some days on this island on his way back, if he survives the Arab-Israeli conflict. I cannot be too optimistic about the success of any peace plan, for I know how much Ishmael and Isaac hate each other.
Now I have to look up all my Russian contacts here. There are two different groups that make me welcome, also a Sri Lankan group that does the same.
Greetings to you all, from Cyprus,
George and Bernard
My Testimony (Demos chk. Andreous)
When I was a child in my father’s home, all were calling me Father Pangratios. I was wondering why. When I professed, my father told me the following story. He said that when my mother was expecting me, the 8th child, she was so much tired after having brought up seven other children, so decided to get rid of me by causing an abortion. After many unsuccessful attempts, an old man in white hair spoke to her in a dream. The child, he said to her, must live. It will be a boy and will live in priesthood. The old man even gave my name, Pangratios, which is a name for priests. It means “an overcomer in all” (I wish I were such). The name Demos was the name of my godfather who traditionally gives the name at the child’s baptism. When I was 65 years old, I was in need of a birth certificate for my social insurance pension. I applied to the Greek Orthodox Church in which I was baptized because the church had the births register in those days. An old priest brought the book and we looked in the relative page – August 1914- but there was no name “Demos” there.
At that time I remembered my father and sister’s story so I asked the priest to look for the name Pangratios instead and there it was, just as my sister said. My sister had explained to me that our mother, on the next morning after my baptism in the church, she had returned to the priest in tears and entreated that my name be changed to the one that the man in her dream had ordained. So the name Demos was erased and the name Pangratios was written.
Until age 32, my life was given to the world, sports, women, smoking, playing cards, etc. Then I began having serious thoughts about my soul and the beyond the grave world. I had no doubt that the Greek Orthodox religion was not the true way of God. Some distance from my home, in the Church of England, some evangelist and Presbyterian preachers (in close co-operation?) had some gospel meetings.
Having received an invitation, I went to their meetings. At first, I was impressed by the simplicity, no icons, no gold and silver, no priests with long beards and black dress, but in a little while I also realized that there was no feeling of the Spirit of God there with those preachers or with their saints. I was greatly disappointed. One evening while going to the meeting, I stood in a field. It was lightly raining. In the darkness, I raised my hands to Heaven and prayed, “Lord, somewhere on earth must be thy true church, help me, I pray thee to find it and I promise I will go even to the end of the earth to join it.”
The only language I spoke in those days was the Greek language and the Greek workers were nearest to me although I did not know it. In those days, the truth was persecuted in Greece and the workers were not allowed to come out of the country (e.g., In the relative page of a passport for travel, where it ask what is the person’s religion, every Greek person was expected to declare “Greek Orthodox”, otherwise the applicant could not have a passport). There was none to help me find the true way of God it seemed.
However God knew that there was one. There was a worker in Australia–Fred Quick–who had labored in Greece and spoke Greek fluently. The message came to him–arise, go quickly to Cyprus. (Isaiah 41:17 to 20) He was a river coming from the high places. The water from such a river can go far distances. Fred embarked on a ship. While other workers there were astonished at his decision, obviously not understanding his motivation, he came on to Cyprus after a journey of many thousand of miles. Fred landed in Limassol.
One evening as I was in a gospel meeting of the Presbyterian Church a stranger came in and took a seat near me. That evening the Presbyterian and Anglican preachers were expected to come from Nicosia, the Capitol, which is 54 miles from Limassol where I was. For some reason, that day they did not come, (now I know that God stopped them!) Some time after waiting for the preachers an elder of the church stood on the platform and made apologies for their absence and then proceeded to preach to us. I do not remember having heard a preaching so empty and childish as that. 5 minutes before the end of the meeting, he asked if anyone had anything to say before closing the meeting. The stranger (who was Fred) took his steps to the platform and spoke for just 5 minutes. Oh, what a difference, thanks to my God. What God’s servant spoke that evening. It was to my heart and with power and authority. He told about our need to die and be born again in spirit, something I had never heard before.
After the meeting, I spoke to Fred and invited him to visit me in my home and explain to me his way. Next evening God’s servant came to my home and we had a long, long talk. I understood that the man was the answer to my prayer and his way is the Truth I had prayed for.
Next Sunday morning, Fred and I (the two of us,) had the Sunday morning meeting in a house, which he had rented for Gospel Meetings. It was perhaps the first Sunday morning meeting since the time Paul and Barnabas were in Cypress.
A few days later an Armenian man of the Presbyterian church professed and both of us were baptized by Fred and his companion Rex Truan, who came from Australia.
Events that Followed.
The Greek Orthodox Church, also my relatives and friends, stood against me, accusing me of becoming heretic, having changed my Greek Orthodox religion. After one Sunday morning meeting in my home with the two workers and the Armenian brother, I took my family and the family of my oldest brother, Andreas, and we went to the nearest hills to gather wild flowers. All scattered around looking for flowers, but I sat on a stone enjoying the view of the place. At the same time I was thinking of the things that were said at the meeting, and wondering how I could stand the opposition of the people around me, being the only Greek professing person. After some time I noticed a beautiful flower not too far away. I went near to it. What a beauty I thought, what harmony of colors!. Then I saw that the flower had grown on a dung heap. I was surprised how such a beautiful flower could grow on such dirty ground. Then the thought, God’s message came to me – “just the same with you, Demos, I can also make you grow to be a beautiful flower on this island, an unclean place, only if you keep faithful to me.” This was a very encouraging message for my first steps in the truth.
Andreas, my oldest fleshly brother, was the only brother with whom I had talks of God’s way and truth. He listened to me without prejudice and at some time I thought that he was very near to the truth. “Demos,” he said one day to me, “An old man in white hair spoke to me last night in a dream.” (From the description of the man, it seems he was the same person who spoke to our mother). “Andreas,” the man said, “Listen to your brother Demos. He is in God’s way, follow him and also ask all your brothers and sisters to follow him in his way.” “Andreas,” I said, “The voice that spoke to you is God’s voice, do not despise it.” Later he became skeptical, obviously thinking, “Let me think about it.” However a little while after, he (my brother) died.
We have a Greek saying-“Leave important things for tomorrow.” There is a story that in ancient Greece, Archias was ruling in Thoeba which was the third largest town in population and power in those days. One night, he and his army chiefs were in a wine party. At midnight a messenger came in a great hurry and handed Archias a very important message. Taken up by the wine and in a proud heart, he took the message, and without reading it put it in his pocket. He said,”Important things tomorrow.” Soon after that gunmen rushed in and killed Archias and all in his party. That important message was from a faithful friend warning Archias that he was in danger. Archias, by leaving important things for tomorrow, lost his life. My brother, Andreas, made the same mistake and also lost his life and opportunity for a saved eternity with God. Matthew 11:12 (from the Greek original) the Kingdom of Heaven is in a hurry (under pressure of time) and those who hurry up (press on) seize it.
After the passing away of Fred Quick (my father in the truth), Rex (his companion) returned to Australia. Ardash, my faithful brother in truth, after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, he emigrated with his family to Britain. For a number of years I was left alone in Cyprus, but I kept having the Sunday morning “meeting” alone, at the same time in the same room as before. One Saturday night suffering from intestinal pain, I took an analgesic tablet, which caused me to have a deep sleep. Opening my eyes the next morning I looked at the time and it was 10 am. Time of the meeting. I hastened to go into the room in my pajamas, thinking–I am alone, who is going to see me. After one or two hymns, I fell on my knees for prayer. Something strange happened. There was no response by the Lord as if everything was dead. Having tried and tried without results, a cold sweat covered my body from agony wondering what was wrong with me. Then I understood: the pajamas. I left the room in a hurry, I had a shower, I shaved, shined my shoes, I put on my best costume and tie. I went back and I had a sweet fellowship meeting with the Lord.
One may ask, does the Lord look at the appearance? Certainly not, but the message to my heart was this—-if a friend of yours visited you, would you receive him in your pajamas? Who am I to you? Lack of respect was the story.
Having been left alone on this island, letters began coming to me from friends I had never met or known. Those friends, having heard that I was alone, wrote to me letters of love and understanding, so I knew that, in fact, I was not alone. I feel grateful to those friends for their love and precious help that enabled me to keep on in God’s way. At times, letters came to me having an unusual warmth of love, a shining spirit of faith. Then I could read that the writer friend had just come from conventions, or from a Sunday morning meeting or had workers staying in his home at the time of writing. The rich fellowship of the writer friend was evident in his letter.
I feel I must make a special reference to a friend in the USA – Clinton Haney – who is now in his rest. He was among the friends whose letters were full of love and understanding. Then I heard from other friends that our brother had no hands, and no legs. How was he writing? With a pen in his mouth – every word a living sacrifice on the altar of faith. Indeed, there is no nation in the world as God’s nation!
Written in Limassol, Cyprus — May 1998
Love in Jesus Christ,