All posts by Alexander Billinis
Nicholas Benachi, Founder of the First Orthodox Church in the US
On many occasions in this magazine I have focused on Greek communities in the Diaspora or interesting “Hellenes without Borders.” This month, I will do both. We will meet Nicholas Benachi, the founder of the first Greek...
- Posted February 17, 2020
Samos, Where Geography is Destiny
As the Bicentennial of Greece’s War of Independence approaches, in 2021, I will be highlighting various places, people, and events that played a key role in this seminal event. Today, I will focus on an island. No,...
- Posted January 13, 2020
The World Wide Greek Commercial Web, circa 1815
WWW of course means something completely different in our digital internet-ubiquitous era. “Web” prior to our disruptive times could mean that of a spider, or some other set of connections. In this case, I refer to the...
- Posted December 8, 2019
The “Case” for AHEPA
The recent election of New Democracy’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Greece has been greeted with a fair amount of relief and optimism by many in Greece, abroad, and in the large Greek Diaspora. It is early days, but...
- Posted October 18, 2019
Kehila Kedosha Janina and a Chat with Marcia!
Russel Shorto, a premier historian of New York, calls Manhattan the “Island at the Center of the World.” So, it is, and there are few pleasures like walking the avenues of Manhattan. So much American (and world...
- Posted July 12, 2019
Philip Christopher on the upcoming Hellenic Issues Conference and the East Mediterranean Partnership
Philip Christopher is one of those individuals whose contributions more resemble an institution than the force and spirit of one man. His outside role in seeking justice for Cyprus, that “gold and green leaf in the sea,”...
- Posted April 25, 2019
A Grandson’s Visit: Ano Kastania
While we lived in Greece, a source of succor from the daily reality of life and work in Athens were trips out of the city via Greece’s new superhighways. A plethora of alpine and seaside jaunts, along...
- Posted April 25, 2019
Learning and Mentoring Never Stops with Educator Angelo Pappas
by Alexander Billinis How does a regular guy get 250 people to his half century birthday party on Thanksgiving weekend? I guess that the answer is, you are a guy like Angelo Pappas. Evangelos (Angelo) Pappas...
- Posted March 13, 2019
The Importance of Being Hydra
We Hydriots are seldom lacking in pride for our island. It is, after all, a time capsule away from the crush of car and concrete, a cubist amphitheater of perfection surrounding a port where man and nature...
- Posted March 13, 2019
The Battle of the Atlantic: The Gruesome Tale the Numbers Tell of Triumph and Tragedy
I have always been a textual type. I am a writer, a lawyer, and now a historian in training. I have always been text-heavy. Having said that, I have a business degree, I own part of a...
- Posted January 2, 2019
“Uncle Nick” of Greenville
I met him through my son. We had just moved to Clemson, South Carolina and I searched for a local Greek community for spiritual and cultural anchorage. After the church service, I saw my son in an...
- Posted December 2, 2018
I have been writing in this column at Neo Magazine for nearly nine years now. Nearly every month, I have had to come up with a topic relating to Hellenism, particularly the Diaspora, to bring to Neo...
- Posted October 16, 2018
The Macedonia Agreement
by Alexander Billinis It is of course premature to call the agreement signed, all too symbolically, at Lake Prespa between Greece and its northern neighbor, “North Macedonia,” as a done deal. National parliaments need to weigh in...
- Posted July 8, 2018
How to Talk to your Kids about Byzantium
A rather odd title to an article, but the reader familiar with my work ought to be familiar with my . . . eccentricities. Perhaps it is not so odd, as Greek parents often talk to their...
- Posted June 22, 2018
In Confronting Turkey, History is on our Side, but Historical Lesson is from 1938, not from the Ancient Past
Another Greek Independence Day has come and gone. It’s a time for parades, poems, and speeches, recalling the heroes of that era. This year, the Evzones came to Australia, as they have come to key US cities...
- Posted April 14, 2018
The Brothers Macedonian
A centuries-old conflict in a region known for discord has returned, once again, to the headlines. The so-called Macedonian Question—in this case, most specifically, what name to assign to this former Yugoslav republic—is back in many of...
- Posted March 11, 2018
Stamps of My History
Moving is never easy. It is a loss of nerves, and in my case, pounds from work and stress, and it always costs more than you anticipate. Things get lost, and broken. Sometimes, however, things do get...
- Posted January 14, 2018
The Case for Cultural Literacy
On Sunday, October 29, 2017 I had the singular pleasure of addressing members of the Hellenic Cultural Association of Salt Lake City, Utah. For a Utah Greek boy long away from his home community, this was a...
- Posted December 14, 2017
Could Greece become the Linchpin of a Balkan-East Mediterranean Alliance?
Even in asking the question, I feel a wave of doubt and skepticism. The region is dysfunctional and poor, full of failing states and weak institutions. I know the rot of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia first hand,...
- Posted July 11, 2017
Nostalgia for My Favorite Athens
I am not the greatest fan of Athens. Having lived and worked there for two years, I believe that my impression is based on the hard facts of daily life there. And yet, the city possesses a...
- Posted April 22, 2017
A Letter to Deputy Foreign Minister Terence Quick
Dear Readers, please forgive the digression from my normal column “Hellenes without Borders” wherein I usually discuss Greece, the larger Balkan area, and our Diaspora, but I feel that comments made by Deputy Foreign Minister Terence Quick,...
- Posted March 17, 2017
Erik Bruns, a Dutch Rhodian
I have known Erik Bruns for many years, meeting, as one often does these days, over the ubiquitous medium of Facebook. In our case, a shared affection for the works of Patrick Leigh Fermor was the initial...
- Posted October 27, 2016
Byzantium: Hidden in Plain Sight
Today, when I am writing this, is May 29. For many Greeks, and other successors of Byzantium, the date’s significance is self evident. The seismic event, the final fall of Constantinople to the Turks, on this day...
- Posted June 26, 2016
Mystra: Byzantium’s Indian Summer
Mystra figures less prominently in historical commentary and touristic itineraries than other Greek sites, but for profundity and for a true taste of sublime, understated beauty, it is peerless. Here is where Byzantium expired, yet with its...
- Posted April 30, 2016
The Athenian: Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, an American-Greek
We met the way most people do these days, digitally, due to common interest in all things Greek. After reading her work, our friendship deepened via online correspondence and her patient mentoring of my midlife attempts to...
- Posted March 24, 2016