Polamalu went on 'quest to find the truth'
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu said his quest for religious guidance was an attempt to find true meaning in his life.
"I wasn't satisfied with what my idea of faith was," said Polamalu, 29, who said he felt blessed to be exposed to Catholic, Mormon and Protestant churches as a child in Oregon. "I went to church. Some days I would feel the music, I'd feel the sermon; some days I wouldn't. Sometimes, I would be crying. Sometimes, I would be dead and bored.
"That emotional experience was a very shallow experience. I wanted something that would touch my heart, not my emotions."
Polamalu started reading about religions and their history. He met with monks, even finding a Buddhist who lived in the desert in California.
"I was on a quest to find the truth," he said.
He chose Greek Orthodox and was baptized four years ago.
"The only church that I can say really never swayed was the Orthodox church," he said.
Polamalu found the truth on Mount Athos, a peninsula in Greece where he spent four days living with monks in a monastery.
Enormous, old castles dot the seashores and mountain slopes of Greece, and male monks — no women are permitted on the peninsula — live a life of confinement, prayer, asceticism and contemplation. Many monks live in caves, as they have for thousands of years.
"You're talking 1,500 years of tradition that has been passed down and unblemished," said Polamalu, who acquired a small, wooden cross on Mt. Athos that he wears around his neck at all times.
Polamalu is almost insulted when someone expresses amazement at how seriously he embraces his faith.
"We're talking about faith. We're talking about God," he said. "How can you not take that seriously• We're talking about the meaning of life, really."
Polamalu is careful not to push his beliefs onto others.
"It can lead to resentment, and that is not what you want," he said. "There is also a sense of arrogance sometimes when people are really hearty, evangelizers, and that is opposite of what faith is. Like, 'I know this better than you.' There are a lot of pitfalls to that."
Asked if it's proper to pray for victory or a game free of injury, Polamalu said: "That's for God to judge."
But he adds: "It's not about winning games. It's about winning your soul."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Steelers notebook: Harrison return complicated by LeBeau, Titans
- Steelers notebook: Team seek ease on West Coast travel
- Tomlin expects Steelers offense to grow
- Steelers re-sign WR Heyward-Bey to 1-year deal
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell could move to replace Polamalu
- Tomlin eyes Steelers’ return to defensive success this season
- Steelers re-sign LB Harrison to 2-year deal