LETTER: Church conversion leaves reader grateful but sad

Athena Marler
Greek Orthodox Church in Destin

While it is somewhat of a relief to know it will not be torn down (yet), I am in shock that the new developer didn't have enough faith or spiritual discernment or fear of God to keep St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church as a house of worship, for surely some group would have leased it from him.

I had hopes that it would become a tourist attraction for Destin, honoring a fine man, my great grandfather John George Maltezos. No, I don't think anyone is spinning in their grave, but I do question the wisdom of what is being done. I wish our family had converted to Greek Orthodox, but for several reasons, my Dad's allergies being one, we did not, for surely it would be still being used for the glory of God.

Please pray that the developer will not see fit to paint over the $5,000 fresco (at least cover it with a removable cover) and not to remove the $20,000 stained glass window.

I don't see why a Greek restaurant would not be considered. As someone who might have had a tiny bit of inheritance in this church, and certainly had influence over my grandmother encouraging her to build it, I feel a sense of loss. I feel like my heart was pulled out of position in my body.

I only wish that all the people Destin would have had an opportunity to tour it and hear the gorgeous acoustics built into the design, before its desanctification into a barbecue place or a glorified Taco Bell.

I pray that one day, maybe before the Lord comes, the church will be a church again. It always will be for me.

Dad says not to look back, that anyone who looks back is not worthy of the Kingdom, and in the New Testament we learn that God does not live in temples made by human hands, but inside us, as living sacrifices, because we are the church and our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. I do know this: if John George Maltezos were still alive on earth, he would be looking for a little spot to build another chapel. You can't keep a great man down when he is looking up.

As a young city, we are far too quick to tear down our own history and far too shortsighted to care. And that is a Greek tragedy.

Athena Marler