By Miss Megan Arnold (Book Writer, Teacher)
Many people in the world go about their lives seeking ways to add to their wealth and live a comfortable life. But what we often see is that despite the accumulation of wealth and luxuries, people still end up feeling empty. This is because we don’t have the real treasure and what truly feeds the soul. We’re so caught up in temporary pleasures that we forget to invest in what really matters. Our Faith.
This is just one of the key messages “Platanides: Through The Eye of The Storm” focuses on, but it is undoubtedly a strong one.
Written by Bill Planes, the book documents the story of his father, Panayiotis Platanides, and his life and experiences that shaped his Christian Faith.
It particularly shows his father’s struggle during the genocide of the Greek and Armenian Christians at the hands of Kamal Ataturk and many other struggles their family has faced. It is aptly dedicated to his parents, who taught him the ways and traditions of the Greek Orthodox Faith and worked diligently to give him a better life than the one they were dealt with, and they did it with the help of Christ and their unwavering Faith in Christ.
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The book did not come to be by chance. Instead, it is inspired by family history and not forgetting our heritage. It allows us to dive into what shapes our personalities today and asks us an important question: What role do the beliefs and experiences of our parents and their parents and so on- play in who we are today?
The entire family of Fotis and Kyriaki in Alasehir, Asia Minor. Seated are the author’s paternal grandparents, Kyriaki and Fotis Platanidis; standing in the back row, from left to right are Athanasios, Panayiota, Panayiotis, and Pantelis; seated on the laps of his grandparents, from left to right are Stavros and Minas.
It is an interesting concept, to be sure. But it is the depth of the story that really intrigues you. It gives you a fascinating account of their rich family history and their unwavering displays of Faith in the face of tragedy. While it would be best not to disclose the exact details (you need to read it yourself to feel the impact), it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that every person of Faith can benefit from this book to an unimaginable extent.
Additionally, if you’re someone who has struggled to keep their Faith in a lost world, it helps you find your footing and reminds you of the right path.
Some of the stories may shock you. When reading about the Christian Genocide, feel prepared to have your world turned upside down. Yet, it gives you the opportunity to reflect on an important phenomenon. Most Christians today are unaware of the sacrifices, tragedies, and struggles their ancestors have been through just to keep their Faith. And how grateful we should be to experience this freedom today.
Another thing readers might benefit from this book is how knowledgeable it is. Considering it is a controversial topic, many readers might have little to no knowledge of how many people were persecuted for their Faith. The stories of struggle and such deep sacrifices will surely move you beyond words.
History and ancestry aside, let’s focus on the important messages in the book. If you’re into reading, you may have read many books in your time that talk about betterment and development, but there has never been another book that hits home like “Planatides: The Eye of The Storm.”
The difference? The other books speak from a worldly perspective, whereas this book speaks of a Godly one. It teaches us the importance of Faith in hard times and how essential it is to reflect the character of Christ. While there are many things to be taken away from this wonder of a book, some moments resonate more than others. Prepared to be moved by the emphasis on different aspects that strengthen our Faith…such as prayer, giving thanks, helping others, trusting Christ, and so much more. For example, this specific incident about Panayiotis will surely help you get back into the habit of praying daily.
“Panayiotis started each day with prayer
standing in front of his Icon of the Theotokos
holding the Christ Child to say his prayers;
and likewise, each evening he repeated this
practice to end each day with prayer. While
he started and ended each day with prayer,
throughout the day he would not hesitate to
stop what he was doing and take a moment
As written in the text, we see how he started and ended each day with prayer. It is such an important practice, but most of us discard it like it has no consequence. It reminds us of what a blessing it is and how prayer needs to be a daily part of our lives.
In another instance, we are reminded of the importance of being grateful for the little things.
“Panayiotis visited Pantelis at his
barbershop and Pantelis gave his brother a
haircut and a shave.
These were small
moments, small acts, but to these siblings who
had been denied these small moments and
acts over four decades, each was precious and
was received with prayers of thanks to our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to the Holy
Mother, the Theotokos.”
As people of Faith, we expect Christ to watch out for us and keep us sheltered in his ever-present love but do we ever stop to think about all the little things we’re blessed with? Reading this passage might even bring a tear to your eyes and allow you to make a mental note to be thankful for the small moments and acts too. Christ is a Christ of miracles, and we’re showered with them every day. As Panayiotis and his siblings were, we too, must give thanks for the little things. “Platanides: Through The Eye of The Storm”
And perhaps the most important message of all, was undoubted trust in Christ through hardships.
“…we, like my
Father and grandfather, have experienced life’s
storms and have had to repeatedly look to
and depend on our undoubting Faith in Christ
and the Holy Mother, the Theotokos, to safely
traverse through the
“eye of the storm” and
immerge with our spiritual and physical life
intact and stronger than before.”
In this particular instance, the author talks about how his father and grandfather faced many hardships in life but did not abandon their faith in Christ. They emphasized trusting Christ through the storms in our life and setting the example for their future generations to come. This is still a stronghold in the Planatides family today. Hence, the apt title for the book. “Platanides: Through The Eye of The Storm”
Another truly inspiring thing to take away from this book is the spirit of charity and philanthropy that runs in the family. As the scripture says, “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 ESV
These are just a few of the messages that the book teaches us that last with you long after you turn the final page. Considering the positive impact this book is bound to have on people and how it works to reconnect them with their faith, it is highly recommended to anyone looking to find their way back to Christ. It truly is a miraculous piece of work and will undoubtedly bless many lives.