Former Taliban from Afghanistan baptized at Mount Athos

SOURCE: The Weblog Of John Sanidopoulos

Ahmed was born and raised in a village in Afghanistan in the middle of war. His childhood memories are dust, poverty, and compulsory Islamic education in the sacred writings and war.

"I do not remember anymore who fought whom, however there was constant warfare."

For years he worked for the Taliban doing various things. He was a fanatical Muslim who belonged to so-called radical Islam. At some point he could no longer bear this sort of life - misery, poverty, violence, pain, and death which he saw everywhere.

At 23 he journeyed through the impassable mountains into Pakistan and then to Iran. His only "passport" was the common language of Farsi.

He worked for two years there "without documents" and eventually arrived at the coast of Asia Minor in Turkey, which for him was the gate to the paradise of the West.

One winter evening nine years ago, with an inflatable that children play with on the beaches, two oars and four to five bottles of water, he along with a friend jumped into the sea across from Lesvos, which seemed so close.

In his own words:

"The sea was pitch black, it was a moonless night in the winter and very windy. We did not know how to swim. The waves looked like mountains to us. Somewhere in the distance a red light was flashing. The boat was like a nutshell in the waves. I soon realized that the journey to paradise was neither near nor easy. After about ten hours we came to the steep coast with rocks. We were in despair because we did not know if we would be able to climb it, it was so sharp. Eventually we climbed and came to an unpaved road. Before long we came to an elderly woman in black with a head-covering - we thought she was a Muslim - and with a child. My friend spoke a little English, but she nothing. With hand signals she showed us the way to a paved road and gave us a few coins, which we knew was all she had, in order to take the bus into the city. We arrived at the port and took the first ferry to Piraeus. At the door they caught us. After three months in a small reception center for immigrants that had many people like us, they gave us a map and we drove to Athens. I learned Greek and worked various jobs until I found a regular job with a company that placed solar panels. They payed me well, they wrote me up with the Social Insurance Institute, and I did my papers to receive political asylum. I worked for the same company in Athens for six years. All these years after work I would go to the outside of the churches in the beginning - something was pulling me there - and afterwards I began to enter within. I would become calm. As my Greek was getting better, I wanted to know more about Christ. I found a New Testament, however it was in a language I did not understand [Koine Greek]. Eventually I found a blue one in the Greek I had learned. I began to read it. I decided that I wanted to become a Christian. I left Athens when the company closed and went to the provinces to find various rural jobs. Eventually I found a small basement apartment in the city nearby. It had a beach. I like the beaches very much in Greece. Shortly before Pascha in 2013, I decided to ask to become a Christian."

On Wednesday June 5th, in the evening, on Mid-Pentecost according to the Old Calendar, on the balcony of the Athonite Cell of Marouda over Karyes, looking towards the Skete of Saint Andrew and the endless blue Aegean, the same sea he crossed one night from the opposite direction, under a beautiful sky and brilliant sun, Ahmed became a Christian.

He took the name Alexander.



Angeliki Markopoulou9/8/2021 4:50 am
Nun Gabriella of blessed memory had visited India a few decades ago and gave lots of comfort to the lepers . She tended to their wounds of their body and soul because even their family abandoned the lepers. The Indians would go to her and look at her in amazement: I don’t know who your God is, but this is the God I want to believe in”
Ambrose8/18/2021 2:30 am
Glory to God! When we welcome refugees with Christian charity, they see the love of Christ through us and wish to grow closer to Him as a result.
Zachary Uram8/17/2021 8:29 pm
Glory to God!!!
sister.filothei5/30/2019 11:25 pm
Kiriye Isu Christhe Eleison dulu su Alexadra Hparagia Theotoke Sosonme Alexandra,Angelos to Theo presevie periimon,Aiyodu Theo presevie periimon!
Theresa Mason5/25/2019 7:54 pm
I need this today. Glory to God for calling and keeping His servant!
Dianne Rowe8/12/2016 3:04 am
No one is unreachble for God, this is such a wonderful testimony of how the Holy Spirit led Alexander to prayer is for all Muslims to be released from the bondage of Alah, and come to know the Living God, Jesus Christ that loves them so very much..
Gaynor 8/11/2016 11:43 pm
Praise God!
Hadrian Liem8/6/2016 6:28 pm
Praise the Lord for this blessed story!
Truly, God works in a mysterious way.
george4/19/2014 4:11 pm
great story, really made my day, greetings from Australia
God bless you Alexander
David Marsden10/31/2013 12:51 pm
What a fantastic story!
Tina Antonio6/24/2013 9:42 pm
Thank you for sharing !!!I had a friend as well years ago she become a Christian shes from Tourkey !
Steven Shelton 6/22/2013 7:00 pm
May he always be blessed a most wonderful story and journey .
Doug6/19/2013 1:51 am
May Jesus continue to bless and protect all converts to the True Faith from Islam!
cyril6/18/2013 3:55 am
Glory to Thee O God, glory to Thee for all things!
Anton6/18/2013 1:40 am
I have become very happy at the moment. Me I am also like brother Alexander.
Panos6/18/2013 12:56 am
He would go to the Ancient Church and he felt like he was pulled in. The Holy Spirit works in miraculous ways. My prayers that Holy Orthodoxy will one day Baptize the whole Muslim world. Not an impossible feat for the Holy Trinity. Our relentless prayers are needed.
God Bless this young man and the Orthodox Church.
Thank you for sharing this amazing story.
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