Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Least of My Brethren (Photis Kontoglou)

The following is the last paragraph of a short story written by Photis Kontoglou called "Barba Manolis the King." He created this short story based on the depiction in old icons of the Second Coming of a man known as the "Least" (Elachistos) who enters into Paradise amidst all the chaos. It is derived from Matthew 25:40 which says: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

By Photis Kontoglou

The old painters, who painted the Second Coming, depicted Christ in heaven sitting on his throne in order to judge the world, and on opposite sides of him sat the Twelve Apostles.

From the footstool of the throne came the river of fire, in which the sinners burned, and were swallowed up by the dragon at the bottom.

The archangels call out with their trumpets, and the terrified dead come out of their tombs.

One angel wraps up the sky like it was paper, and another weighs souls.

The winds are blowing angrily on all four corners of the universe, beasts and monsters devouring human heads, hands and feet.

Demons are grinding their teeth. All of creation is shaking at its foundations. Souls tremble like dry leaves which are taken away by a blizzard. The sun has become dark and gloomy and the moon is extinguished. Fear and terror sweep across the universe.

Only one man is not troubled, an old man, humble and quiet, who walks slowly with his staff in the midst of the world's catastrophes, and boldly walks towards the throne of Christ. According to the inscription on the icon, this is the "Least", that is, the most insignificant and despised in the world.

This man who is the "Least" is Barba Manolis the King, for whom the gates of heaven opened so that he may enter into Paradise.