Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vandals Cut Satanic Pentagram Into Lawn Of Greek Orthodox Church In Massillon, Ohio


CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted May 11, 2009 @ 07:32 PM
Last update May 11, 2009 @ 07:40 PM

MASSILLON —

Members of St. George Greek Orthodox Church were shocked to find someone had cut a large pentagram into a one-acre plot adjacent their church.

The Very Rev. Constantine Valantasis, pastor, said his parish’s plans for a community garden there will not be derailed by the weekend vandalism that has desecrated the space.

Members discovered the pentagram following Saturday evening worship services at 364 First St. SE.

“Initially, I was disappointed,” said Valantasis, pastor at St. George since 2005. “However this was intended, it’s a satanic symbol.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” longtime church secretary Elizabeth Schrock said. “We’ve had this land for a very long time.”

The encircled pentagram appears to have been created by someone using a reel mower, which is quieter than its gas-powered counterpart.

Undaunted, Valantasis said the ground at the southeast corner of Albright Avenue and South Street SE will be broken for the garden at 6 p.m. Thursday following a “Blessing of the Ground.”

“It’s sort of a spiritual cleansing,” said Valantasis, who will be assisted by other area Orthodox clergymen.

WHAT IS A PENTAGRAM?

A five-point star, the pentagram is one of humankind’s earliest known symbols, with long history of varied meaning and usage.

The word itself comes from the Greek term “Pentagrammos” meaning “five lines.” Its earliest known usage was by ancient astronomers as far back as 4,000 B.C., for tracking the trajectory of Venus. It also was used in the worship of the goddess Venus.

The pentagram, believed by some to hold magical powers, also has been embraced over the centuries by various pagan religions, occultists, magicians, Rosicrucian Christians and Freemasonry, and was once an early symbol of the five wounds of Jesus on the cross.

Satanists adopted the inverted pentagram, which is usually accompanied in illustrations by a goat’s head.

Today, the pentagram is most commonly associated with the Wiccan religion. For Wiccans, the pentagram represents fire, air, water, earth and spirit.

GOOD PEOPLE

Valantasis said the church never has experienced such an incident, but added he received anonymous, threatening letters when St. George began its outreach ministry. The parish operates a monthly food pantry as well as a free monthly community dinner.

“There are good people here. This is a good community,” he said. “They’re feeling the pangs of the economy just like everyone else. They’re excited about the garden.”

In addition to a vegetable garden, Valantasis said the church will plant flowers and install park benches.

“It’s a sacred space,” he said. “This is for the community. Our prayer is that this (garden) will be a little symbol of hope.”

Valantasis acknowledged the pentagram may be a prank, but noted that “it took a while and a lot of preparation.”

“In other words,” he said, “They knew what they were doing.”

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