CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY
Father Moses Berry, Missouri, USA:
From Hippie Bad-Boy Cool-Cat to Orthodox Priest
by Irene Archos
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
You wouldn’t suspect that the jovial Orthodox priest who carries the gold chalise with such reverence from behind the iconostasis of “Mother of Unexpected Joy” church was once a drug dealing, rambling hippie and coffee-house owner with his own underground band, not to mention an illegitimate descendent of Nathaniel Boone, the son of the legendary American hero Daniel Boone. Father Moses Berry, who is by now in his 60s, is still a rolling ball of fire, overflowing with spontaneous exuberance. He bounces from one story to another as he moves from one section of the Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum he founded in his native town of Ash Grove. He is a man who unravels a ball of tightly-wound stories, one knotted to another and yet another.
Father Berry’s story, in fact his entire existence, is rooted in the dark history of American slavery. The three-room museum he opened is jam-packed with heirlooms, objects and artifacts culled entirely from his family’s possession. Two faded sepia prints in oval frame reveal pictures of his great-grandmother, Maria Boone, mistress to Nathaniel, and her daughter, Caroline Boone Berry, his grandmother. They are wearing stiff, laced-up dresses with matching bonnets fashionable for ladies in the 19th century. He says that the child of a Continue reading “Father Moses Berry, USA: From Hippie Bad-Boy Cool-Cat to Orthodox Priest”