Borderland

Reporting from the frontlines of history in Greece

Category: Religion

The Muslim Matriarch

Anna Stamou sits in her living room in Athens on June 29. She is the Marketing Director of the Muslim Association of Greece, and one of a small population of Muslims in Athens.

Anna Stamou sits in her living room in Athens on June 29. She is the Marketing Director of the Muslim Association of Greece, and one of a small population of Muslims in Athens. (Alexandra Markovich)

By Alexandra Markovich

Just after the sun sets, Anna Stamou covers her dining room table with platefuls of food to break the Ramadan fast. She pulls a stew of Egyptian sausages from the oven and sets it on the table, followed by a bowl of Egyptian salad.

Then, spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie, unexpectedly becomes the centerpiece. When Stamou finally sits down, the table is crammed with an odd collection of traditional Greek and North African food.

Stamou is one of some 600,000 Muslims living in Greece, making up about five percent of a largely Greek Orthodox Christian nation. Stamou, a native Greek, converted to Islam 17 years ago. She is married to Naim Elghandour, who moved from Egypt to Greece 19 years ago.

When I ask her about the food she is serving, Stamou says it is “all Greek.”  Egyptian salad—chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions—is just the chopped-up version of Greek salad, she says, save the olives.

 

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St. Paul’s Day at the Areopagus

By Harrison Blackman and Amanda Blanco

The Book of Acts describes how the Apostle Paul traveled to Athens in the first century A.D. and visited town leaders on a large outcropping  below the Acropolis, at a spot known as Areopagus Hill.

Acts 17:23 quotes Paul as saying; “For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”

After the homily, the passage tells us, “Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed.” The sermon’s influence had been established for history.  

More than two millennia later, on June 29, 2016, the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul was alive and well on the Areopagus Hill. 

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