The pelican, the large aquatic bird with the impressive beak and the characteristic stride, hides a moving story of paternal love and admirable selflessness. When he becomes a parent, he shelters his children in his arms until they’re able to stand on their own feet and walk away independently. But, as it often happens in life, evil lurks and at the first opportunity insidiously crawls and strikes. In the pelican’s case, the snake that covets the little ones' lives creeps up and hits them with its venom. The pelican, however, then decisively tears his chest with his beak and with his blood – the sole available elixir of life – instils vitality back to his youngsters.
This unique manifestation of self-sacrifice, as presented in the eulogy of the Epitaph in the Orthodox Christian Faith, is a supreme act of love that shows the way to all of us, who keep small children under our wings – but also foster adults, as parents, as teachers, as doctors, as caregivers, as entrepreneurs. Our life stance, our words and our deeds, if governed by altruism and love, shall illuminate the path of the people who are in our care and can even revitalize the most injured and exhausted creatures. This is what the loving pelican is proving to all of us in practice.