Communion bread seal

communion bread seal, incense burner, medal
communion bread seal, incense burner, medal

 My grandmother, Mary Papantoniou (Pappas) Daniels Stamas, brought these objects to the U.S. in 1920. With her father and sisters, she fled from Asia Minor and her home on the island Kastelorizo off the coast of Turkey, to Piraeus, Greece. Soon after she and her 4-year-old sister continued to the U.S.  The hand carved circle of wood is a seal that Orthodox Christians use to stamp the middle of the round bread for Holy Communion. The gold medallion with the Nativity of Christ on one side and the Baptism of Christ on the other, belonged to her grandfather, a priest. The incense burner is used by Orthodox Christians to bless their homes. 

In the U.S. Mary remained active in the Greek Orthodox Church. She was part of the women’s group, Philoptochos, until she was an old woman, and her first husband helped found the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) chapter in Wheeling, West Virginia. The church was not only the religious center, but also the social center of life. Mary had hardships. She saw her family persecuted, their home ransacked, and their privileged life destroyed. She lost her mother. She left her father and a sister in Greece and never saw them again. She lost a child. She was widowed with three small children in her thirties. But she always had faith, she never left the church and she took me with her whenever we were together. Today, I am also a religious woman, partly because of her example. 

Place(s): Greece, Turkey, Wheeling WVA,
Year: 1920

– Paula M Kirifides

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant