Father Anthony Kosturos among his many talents was a wonderful at telling stories about his experiences as a priest.  He would captivate his audience. These stories always captured our attention and they live on in our memories of Father Anthony. There was one story that involved Father Anthony, Ellis Varellas, and a woodpecker. 

Ellis Varellas recounted this story:

I am not sure when it was I would say sometime in the mid 1960's, and the church at Brotherhood Way was pretty new and I don't think there were any mosaics up at the time...maybe on the altar (?). I was probably 20 something and Father (Anthony) knew I hunted birds. After all, I was an altar boy from 7th street and I had been at the new church for a while. I was active in GOYA and basketball so we were very close.

As you know, he (Father Anthony) was a wonderful person and we all loved him very much. It was a Saturday when my brother called. My brother would help clean the church and asked me to come out and bring my shotgun to shoot a woodpecker. Father tried everything to get rid of it. He called the SPCA and they couldn't do anything. The bird was eating away at the acoustics, chirping loudly plus it's droppings was getting the church dirty.

When I walked in I didn't notice two older ladies wearing black and praying. I felt bad because they saw me and I scared them. I opened all the doors so that the sound of the gun wouldn't do any damage. I asked father again, "Are you sure you what me to kill a bird in church?"  He said, "Ellis you have my blessing, it's making a mess". I replied, "OK, father". I looked up and said, "Lord it's not my wish and I have the permission."

I went up to the choir loft and waited for the bird to rest up in the dome. I did not want to damage the stain glass windows. I shot it. Father Anthony told that story many times at different functions....I still remember it as it was yesterday.

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Contents Copyright -- Jim Lucas & Greek Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay Area