The Confessor of God


By Nikos Mantzios



They walked out of the shade into the clearing.

They were many and more kept coming.

They were frightened at first, in awe of what they were about to do, but slowly their numbers gave them courage.

They exchanged meaningful looks – I know why you, too, are here – and their glances wove a web that held within it the promise that they would not falter.

Each person carried his cross and a short log to sit on in order to show his humility – only Mesut, the dwarf, carried an empty lottery-ticket pole instead of a cross.

They sat in a circle and each silently rehearsed what he would say when the time came.

Their lips moved as if in prayer.

Father Eftíchis had made them learn by heart the blessing for granting absolution, and in the middle of the clearing, on the Rock, was the folded stole, ready to be worn by the confessor.

The priest, as God’s representative, had been excluded from the Synod because it would have created a conflict of interest and raised questions about his (im)partiality.

Everyone there was ready to fight for a clean defeat.

They were ready for forgiveness.

They, at least, were ready.


Nikos Mantzios

Nikos Mantzios was born in Pyli, Greece, and lives in nearby Trikala where he organizes Creative Writing Workshops and teaches Mathematics to Special Education students. He writes a column for the local newspaper and discusses literature as a host of a weekly radio program. He studied Mathematics in Rome and has worked as a Spanish and Italian translator and interpreter. He has published articles on mathematics and test anxiety, two collections of short stories, and a volume of legends and fairy tales from Medieval Spain.

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