October 31, 2012 Length: 5:29
Frederica interviews Basil Athas, a godly man and key character in her first book Facing East.
Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green: I’m sitting here in the banquet hall at a hotel in Bel Air, Maryland, and we’ve just concluded the tenth anniversary banquet [for] Four Evangelists Ukrainian Orthodox Mission, which is a church I’ve been delighted to see growing over the years. Basil Athas became a member of Four Evangelists. When you moved up here—which must be eight or even ten years ago…
Mr. Basil Athas: It was ten years ago.
Kh. Frederica: Was it? Fr. Greg Czumak said that it was your request for a parish near you.
Mr. Athas: That’s what it was. I requested from the archbishop, Antony at that time, that we needed a church, an Orthodox church, in Bel Air. Now at the age of 81, I am praying that the Lord will have mercy upon me and everyone that was involved in the church at that time. I hope that they may stay in their good rapport with the Lord, and I enjoyed working with them, the mission parish here. I hope that someday they’re going to have their own church, and I’ll be very proud to see that.
Kh. Frederica: I hope that they get their own church building. I know that they’re looking at a couple of properties. That’s always an exciting moment, when you get to go from renting to owning. You know, you get a lot of new members at that point. At least, that’s what we found at Holy Cross when we got our own building. We increased by about 25% of the congregation right away. Tell me a little more about you and how you’re doing. You’re not feeling as good as you used to feel. You’re in some pain…
Mr. Athas: Some pain in my back. That comes with being 81 years old. That comes with that, and hopefully I’ll be able to be pain-free sometime. Who knows what the Lord has in store? All I know is that the Lord Jesus Christ is my Savior, my God, and my Lord, and I’m hoping to be able to be what’s right in his eyes. I’m very pleased to be here with Kh. Frederica and Fr. Gregory. It’s been a long haul, but time takes care of everything.
Kh. Frederica: Eventually. Amen. Thank you, Basil. You told me you’re getting ready to see the Lord. Is that right? You’re preparing for the judgment, looking forward to seeing him.
Mr. Athas: That’s right. Absolutely.
Kh. Frederica: You were a founding member of Holy Cross Church, and of course when people read my book, they say you’re the character that stands out the most.
Mr. Athas: That’s right.
Kh. Frederica: You used to be a lot noisier than you are now. You’ve become a lot more subdued over the years. Of course, being in pain, I guess it’s a gift; it’s an ascetic discipline in its own way, but it does slow you down.
Mr. Athas: It does that, yes, very much. Thank you for having me to talk to. I appreciate your dedication to me over all the years.
Kh. Frederica: We love you.
Mr. Athas: I love you, and I’ll be seeing my lovely wife, Anastasia, when my Lord takes me home. I’ll be seeing her.
Kh. Frederica: When did Anastasia repose?
Mr. Athas: I can’t remember.
Kh. Frederica: Maybe eight years ago?
Mr. Athas: No, not that long.
Kh. Frederica: It couldn’t have been that long, but it was a terrible shock. She was not an old woman—57, I think, and just died in her sleep. Totally unexpected. I know that hit you so hard. You really have not been the same.
Mr. Athas: I haven’t been the same since that happened.
Kh. Frederica: You’ve always been looking forward to seeing her again.
Mr. Athas: I’m thankful for your prayers.
Kh. Frederica: Of course.
Mr. Athas: And I’m praying for your family.
Kh. Frederica: Thank you. I appreciate your prayers. Any concluding words? Any advice for the radio audience?
Mr. Athas: Love Jesus and do what’s right. That’s it.
Kh. Frederica: “Love Jesus and do what’s right.” That’s all you need to know. Thank you so much, Basil.
Mr. Athas: That’s all you need to know. Thank you, too. Glory be to Jesus Christ.
Kh. Frederica: Glory to him forever.
Mr. Athas: Amen.