(Translated into English by Philip Panayiotides-Djaferis)
A martyr of the Greek Asia Minor tragedy
known Iakovos, son of Pavlos I. Pavlide’s whose biography I am now writing
based on notes given to me, since 1928 when we were children.
time I was not aware that his father Pavlos was a preacher, ‘tireless’
worker of God and that he sacrificed his life in Asia Minor martyred by the
the end of the Nazi German occupation in 1944 a group from UNRRA1
came to Greece for financial help and one day something unexpected happened.
the friends and brothers with whom we lived through the tough occupation
period would try to keep in touch and despite the difficult conditions we
used to hold meetings where we used to encourage each other discussing
spiritual issues and from time to time hold recreational activities.
in those days had a house in Piraeus on a side street of Afentouli, nearby
where the Germans used to have a military service post.
were having a great time at a party at his house with quite a lot of
noise…our laughter was so loud and interminable that for a moment, one of us
stopped stating that we might be bothering the Germans who might knock on
our door and then who knows…
was not aware for the real reason of our great merry making could very
easily have misunderstood. It
was not a time for fun and we were not oblivious of the fate of that time;
but our optimism and faith for better days to come gave us the courage to
laugh at ourselves, and the ingenuity we had to use in order to survive;
Iakovos had a heater, which burnt coal.
Much of the coal that was sold however was 'fake', being mere rocks.
As a result, after cleaning the heater several times, a pile of rocks
had been amassed but Iakovos would not throw them away.
He would gather them and place them back in the heater when he would
relight it. The rocks amongst
burning coal would heat up and give out heat long after the coal had been
soon as the group realized Iakovo’s trick they burst out in laughter and no
other joke would be told without somehow being linked to this mysterious
heater. In this way waves of
laughter would keep regenerating as an introduction to the main recreational
activity which had its focus loosened up and gave some relaxation from the
bitterness of war with its privations and fear.
had its base in Piraeus but it also had many members from Athens and
consequently we would exchange visits and would sometimes also go up to
Athens. Iakovos was the most
regular visitor to Athens because as a teacher of English he would go there
nearly daily to deliver private lessons.
one day, he announced to us very amazing news; while going up Panepistimiou
Avenue an American meets him and asked him in his language, ‘are you the son
of Pavlos Pavlides?’
even though rather surprised, immediately answered affirmatively.
The American introduced himself; ‘My name is Kelsy and I was a friend
of your father’s in Asia Minor’.
You look very much like him4
and that’s why I dared to stop you.
I know how your father’s life ended.
Now, I am a representative of UNRRA, note our office’s address and
come tomorrow so that we can talk more intimately’.
from the next day, Iakovos became manager of the military YMCA serving
British soldiers, offering them tea, other refreshments, foodstuffs etc.
was pretty significant for the day and he would also provide jobs for other
brothers and friends. Many of
Iakovo’s friends would pass by the canteen to drink tea, and Yiannis
would make sure to stir in extra milk and sugar, products that we were
deprived of during the occupation.
story of Iakovo’s meeting with Mr. Kelsy did not impress me as much as the
facts surrounding the fate of his father Pavlos Pavlides (P.P.), which I was
ignorant of till then. I must
admit that I was very impressed and was very moved by it.
that I have the opportunity to occupy myself with P.P.’s biography I also
truly feel something unexpected, as I find myself in the footsteps of that
martyr of the Asia Minor tragedy and its allowing me to be reminded of my
childhood days spent in exile with my parents and siblings at places where
P.P had lived and worked – places such as Nigde and Bouldouri, where Iakovos
the countless line of victims of the Asia Minor tragedy there is a special
place and meaning for the sacrifice of those who conscientiously toiled to
retain the moral upper ground of the Hellenic element.
And Pavlos Pavlides is one of those who without question deserve to
be characterized martyrs of a new epoch.
did not only work as a ‘tireless’ worker of God in the Asia Minor pasture
sacrificing his life, but he also left heirs to continue the work of the
spiritual worker, the infants, then his children, who after coming to Greece
lived up to the sacrifice of their father.
his grandchildren are allowing us to reconfirm one more time and to announce
the biblical truth that ‘the root of the righteous shall not be moved’
not a myth and not a figment of the imagination that the Christian element
of the Greeks of Asia Minor was perceived as one of a genuine devoutness,
which was the ultimate remnant of the spiritual stamina against the Turkish
rule even during the years where they rose to annihilate Asia Minor’s
were of course also those who were indifferent and materialists who only
thought of money and the good life, but such were never missing from any
period of time or folk.
the memories I retain from my religious environment, being a child at that
time, today remind me of biblical scenes, whose unwinding reflects the
provision of God and also of justice.
Something like the children of Israel who were in captivity…
many were those who are true knowledge of the word of God and genuine faith,
no one will be able to know. No
one has the right to judge the simple folk who with his little education
could approach worship and practice his devoutness in a willful religious
the simple folk, ignorance had dimmed the light of the great fathers of the
church, and from the side of the clergy, their indifference had dimmed the
essence of the Christian message, which was receding facing the danger of
the national conscience.
authentic Christian witness of Adamantios Korais6
which is spread throughout his writings was not only misinterpreted by the
‘educated’ of the period but the clergy, then and later fought against it,
resulting in it remaining hidden and unknown to the masses which this large
than life teacher of the race was trying to educate. (Ref. O Korais,
prologue to tome B1and 615th letter of Korais tome B2, page 40)
church hierarchy claimed its rights, hoping in the labyrinth of traditional
and legalistic procedures in the relations between the Patriarchate and the
Ottoman authorities, in the hope that it might manage to retain some
of this it is enough to refer to the work of Steven Runciman, The Great
Church in Captivity: A Study of the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the
Eve of the Turkish Conquest to the Greek War of Independence (Cambridge
particularly horrid climate of intolerance of the Turks reaches its pinnacle
and its most vulgar outpouring in the years of the Asia Minor conflict in
the machinations of western European politics which having its sights on the
spoils from an eventual demise of the ‘Great Patient’ (i.e. the Ottoman
Empire), was apathetic not only about the fate of the Great Church in
Captivity but also for the fate of the most authentic in national entity
Greeks in their heartland, who had been at the forefront in the development
of European civilization.
But apathy towards the poor folk and defenseless women and children also
surpassed all limits of inhumanity.
In this maelstrom of fickle and antagonistic elements of national,
religious, racial and economic struggles along with other improbable claims,
some unnoticed in human terms beings, being driven by a holy fervor dare to
reveal their Christian ethos in its purest form.
Without a doubt, the pinnacle in this is held by the persona of Chrysostomos
Amongst all the other personages who follow him into martyrdom comes Pavlos
I. Pavlides. A personality,
whose holy call within him, could not be drowned by any of the troubles
When he achieved to move away from all the human compromises and offers
himself to the service of the revival of Christianity in Asia Minor he
arrives at martyrdom, the highest honour for man on earth, which, is the
privilege of the few and elected.
PAVLOS I. PAVLIDES
Pavlos I. Pavlides was born in the town of Zinjidere8
in Cappadocia on 6 July 1876.
He was the son of a copper trader, one of many of the hard working Greeks of
Asia Minor and specially of the Black Sea region who specialized in the
mining and exploitation of copper and would pass on their know-how and
business acumen in many other areas.
In 1890 we find him as a student at the high school of Caesarea.
In September of 1893 he joins the St. Paul institute in Tarsus of
Cilicia where his common name with Paul of Tarsus will colour his ideals and
his inclination towards apostolic action…
From 1810 and after, when a large wave of western missionaries came to Asia
Minor P.P. is also blossoming and will find the means for the necessary
education needed by a servant in the Lord’s pasture.
On 15 September 1900 he enrolls in the Theological College of the mission in
from where he graduated on 6 May 1903.
Prior to having taken the decision to study in Merzifoun he passed through a
time of trial. His young age
and the temptations of the environment played a particular role.
The complexity of the decision for the best choice possible is hampered by
his rather average studies till then, his shaken ideals and his vague dreams
kept bothering his conscience.
Under the despotic rule of the Asian conqueror, the most enviable career for
aspiring professionals was that of a medical doctor.
The ‘slaves’ apart from a natural inclination towards this
profession, they also pursued it as it might play a beneficial role in the
fate of their Greek compatriots.
Till the end of Ottoman rule, the Sultan’s doctor had been a Greek.
We don’t know how P.P was thinking but he took a decision to study medicine
in America. He approached his
older brother Socrates who was a permanent resident of the USA and who
practiced medicine as a profession.
It appears that the correspondence with his brother did not bear
fruit and P.P. decided to go to Egypt to raise the necessary funds for the
transatlantic journey to the new world.
In Egypt, Pavlos like a tormented child of Israel in order to survive takes
any honest temporary jobs. The
simplest profession he undertakes is that of a translator and of private
teacher in the Greek community.
His ultimate aim however was always to raise the funds which would allow him
to follow his dream of studies in medicine.
The various thoughts, aspirations and dreams did not cease circulating in
his mind and their constant recycling under an air of a calm and patient
anticipation was his only company in the loneliness of living in a foreign
At moments of respite, he would be overcome by an unearthly voice, which
would be checking him quite harshly…
As it happens with many emigrants he would often reflect on life at this
place of birth and would subconsciously immerse himself in the atmosphere of
the upbringing he had experienced from his father Iakovos who had served as
a servant of the Gospel at the Greek Evangelical Church of Moutoulaski
or at Zindjidere. At such
moments, the voice from the depths of his conscience would become more
precise and seemed like that from the Bible; ‘Adam, where are you?…’
American School for Boys, Talas
He recognized that it was the most appropriate way he could be addressed
because he felt like the disobedient Adam…
Now, his reasoning that a career in medicine would better equip him for a
successful action in God’s work was likened a covering of ‘fig leaves’ which
with futility he was trying to excuse the instability in his life at that
In his loneliness in this inhospitable foreign land P.P. started to feel
remorse…and the inner voice within him continuing its reproach is heard
again in a more painful instance; ‘where are you Cain?’.
Pavlos is shaken and began to tremble because he sees himself in
Cain’s place. He thinks that
going to Egypt and his plans for traveling to America and leaving his
countrymen without doing something for their spiritual salvation comprise a
And the secret voice did not delay a third attack; ‘Pavlo, where are you?…’
Pavlos is perturbed but he also prepared to respond.
In his conscience he has the biblical text which he had been taught
as a child; ‘Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send?
And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)
Pavlos now finds his feet again,. He leaves his dreams and plans for the
future and realizes that trips to America and even without being equipped
with medical studies he can still work for the evangelization of thousands
of souls of his countrymen in hardship in the Asia Minor region.
His bothersome ponderings which were pressuring him on a daily basis were
dissipated immediately, his mind brightened up and was now determined to
take his first steps leaving behind him an unsuccessful adventure…
In the mean time he had saved the money, which would have been required for
a fare to America but he didn’t have the time to consider for what this
would now be useful or if he would now dispose of it in Merzifoun (Merzifon)
where he would return to live with his parents.
At that time two letters reached him, one from his brother Socrates and the
other from his mother. Both
encouraged him to leave Egypt and return to Merzifoun and to get an
education in the Theological College of the missionaries.
And what with the money that he had struggled and suffered for
abroad? Oh, he wouldn’t have to
worry about that at all, it was comprised of one of those treasures
described in Matthew 6:19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on
earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.’
Shortly he realized that some thief had stolen it from his hiding place.
Now, freed from such worldly power he would release himself willingly
into the strong hands of God.
His brother Socrates wrote him from America that it would be a futile
exercise for him to go there for medical studies at a time when a lot of
rationalization was taking place at establishments of tertiary education.
It would be best that he should limit himself to what he could
education he could gain at the College in Merzifoun and make a career with
We are not sure if his own mother had written to her son in America to
advise his brother to return home.
Whatever the reasons Pavlos himself had already come to the same conclusion
following his internal inclinations and obeying his voice which was checking
him to return back where his parents lived.
The external facts arrived later, just to reinforce the irreversible
decision that he had already taken.
So, equipped just with his faith and his Bible, which for him was like a
treasure not be parted from, as this was the only thing of value to him
which had not been stolen, Pavlos leaves behind Egypt and its treasures to
perform God’s work in the spiritual climate of Pontus (Black Sea regions of
This Bible survived and is now in the hands of his granddaughter Ekaterini,
daughter of his son Iakovos and wife of James. R. Deen,
The missionaries who managed the Merzifoun Theological College, as
adopted Americans of that time, were filled with a very practical spirit and
this assisted graduates of the College to commence their careers without the
temptations of the haughtiness of a theoretically educated pastor.
For this reason initially they were assigned the task of selling Bibles,
which essentially was a practical exercise in evangelism.
Their main job was to walk the streets, visit homes, go into shops and
coffee shops to sell New Testaments and Bibles and instead of advertising
their wares they would provide their own personal witness of their faith in
It was this ‘exemplary’ manner that he started their period of service and
not only Pavlos Pavlides but also the other graduates of the Merzifoun
College who were proven worthy workers in the vineyard of the latter Greek
Asia Minor Protestantism.
It is a fact, that the fossilized style of worship in the Eastern Orthodox
Church, as much as it recalled the great days of past glory of Byzantium,
because it had become so associated with Greek nationalistic values, its
role was more divisive relative to the Moslem element rather than
encouraging personal, familial or social revival.
The Greek Protestants of Asia Minor on the basis of the Bible and historical
records, would easily find points of contact with the Moslems who at some
point had accused Byzantine Christians of idolatry.11
But even the most learned and devout Moslems would complain about the
behavior of the Byzantine Christians when some of theirs would convert to
Christianity. Furthermore, the
simplicity of the worship environment of Greek Evangelical Churches, without
the opulence of the décor and the provocation of adoration towards icons;
even the usage of the Turkish language in the inner departments of the
country, and the knowledge of common points between the Bible and the Qura’n
by Greek and Armenian Evangelical preachers would encourage Turks to turn to
There are a lot of instances of Turks returning to Christian belief and it
would be worthwhile for special research to take place on the subject.
What has a place in this biography was that the greatest accusation finally
pointed at P.P. was that he had prosilitised many Turks to the Christian
On the contrary, the total association of the Orthodox with Greek
nationalism rendered the orthodox Greeks, without them wanting it, to be
circumspect about the Turks and repulsive to the Turks.
In the lengthy cohabitation of Greeks and Turks in Asia Minor there were
numerous instances of Moslems coming to Orthodoxy but the formalities stood
essentially in the way of the evangelization of the people.
The normal members of the Orthodox Church were not biblically
schooled in order to allow them to undertake such a assignment whilst the
leadership of the Church who did have the qualifications were reluctant to
take on such an mission for which very likely there was no encouragement in
any case from the senior hierarchy.12
This was not the case with the pastors of the Greek Evangelical Churches and
specially with P.P.
From the 6th of May to the 15th of August 1903 he
spends a vacation in Merzifoun and after that officially takes on his
Christian mission starting as a Bible salesman in Constantinople where he
stays till the 1st of December 1903.
His successful work was made quickly apparent and he was invited by the
evangelical community of Sardogan13
to take over the job of church pastor.
It’s not known how long he served there but it can be seen from his
own handwritten notes in his Bible that he served in Adapazari14
as a teacher and pastor to the Greek Evangelical community there from the 1st
of December 1903 till the 1st of January 1907.
After a brief interlude he returns to Adapazari on the 15th of
March where eh continues to serve till the 15th of October 1907
when he accepts the position at the High School of Bithynia to teach Greek,
English and Turkish, three languages that he has a very high command of and
can teach. He could also speak
Armenian and often preached in that language since the environment where he
lived and worked was often Armenian in nature.
This was a very normal phenomenon in Asia Minor.
In Ankara for example the majority of the Evangelical Church were
Armenian composed of four families of a total attendance of about hundred.
There was also a Sunday-school for children.
The Elder of the Church was Lazaros Moisoglu amongst other Greeks.
The pastor was Armenian by the name of Manoukian who preached in the
On her birthday, the 25th of December 1906 he marries Ekaterini
D. Papadopoulou. She was a
graduate of the American College of Merzifoun, where he used to teach
English and Religious Studies.
Ekaterini Papadopulou, Pavlo's wife
During the summer holidays of 1908 he visited the evangelical community at
We are not aware of the conditions prevailing in this community in
respect of his work and which reasons were obliging P.P. to be transferred
from one community to the other.
He served in Sardouan till the 15th of October 1907.
Neither do we know where he was occupied till the 28th of October
1905. Perhaps he split his time
between the communities of Adapazari and Bouldouri.
In any case, responding to the official call from the community of
Bouldouri he took over the work of the local Greek Evangelical Church from
the 28th of October 1908. Prior
to establishing himself there he went back to Adapazari for a while to sort
out some family business and then took the opportunity to also visit
Constantinople and Smyrna where he attended various spiritual conferences.
Tragic end of their first born:
Their first child was born in Bouldouri and they named him Dimitri after is
father-in-law. Dimitri’s life
was very short and tragic and touched his parents with a very serious
lesson. Perhaps his mother was
ill and her two brothers wished to give her rest and they took the infant
with them to the vineyard where they had gone to pick grapes.
When they got there they placed the baby with its covers under a tree
and went to work. The child
must have been well fed and must have been smelling of fresh milk…
The inexperienced and clumsy uncles must have felt that they were taking
care of their nephew the best possible way and so they went away without any
concerns…but when they returned to the baby they saw in horror the
unfortunate child being bitten on the head by a poisonous snake.
Before they could react the horrible reptile slid away and
disappeared leaving behind the stricken and tender baby which immediately
started screaming and would not calm down till the evening…at first, the two
uncles would not reveal the truth of the sudden cause of death of their
nephew pretending ignorance
After some time had elapsed and the calamity was no longer a constant
subject of discussion within the family, the uncles revealed the true
circumstances of the sudden death of Dimitri and totally crushed, admitted
their responsibility and ignorance.
Since then, Pavlos and his wife Ekaterini never ever entrusted one of their
children to anyone else even if they were the closest relatives.
On the 20th of February 1911 their second child was born,
who was named Iakovos, the name of the paternal grand father.
They would not allow anyone to even hold the baby in their lap!
Life in Bouldouri continued peacefully and even in an idyllic way one could
say, since the Greeks who lived separate from Turks lived a quiet life,
taking good care of their home affairs and lived a god fearing and orderly
Furthermore, there was the challenge of the Moslem devoutness, which prodded
one’s Christian faith to be lived with a willingness to have a deeper
knowledge of the Bible. The
Greek Evangelical Church in Bouldouri was growing and P.P.’s work was
bearing rich fruit.
According to the witness of Anneta Thomaide who still lives at Ayios Yiannis
of Rentis at the age of 92 (written in 1985), the Bouldouri Greek
Evangelical Church had fifty members and regular Sunday attendance was well
over a hundred.
On the 16th of September 1912 their third child was born and was
named Efterpi. She would
eventually study and graduate from the Anatolia College of Thessaloniki and
later married George Georgiades or Arnakis, graduate of the Rovertiou
College of Constantinople and later graduate of the Philisophical College of
Athens and was later a professor at the University of Austin in the USA.
Nevertheless, P.P. did not stay in Bouldouri long.
He departs on the 1st of May 1913 and returns to Merzifoun
where he stays with his parents until the 15th of September of
the same year.
On the 1st of September he receives an invitation to go to Greek
Evangelical Church of the small town of Erbaa or Herek15
and head thee in a few days time on the 18th of the month.
He was in the mean time an experienced worker ordained already for
some time and he devotes himself to serve the community there.
At least three quarters of this community were Armenians with whom he had a
very harmonious relationship and this is where during his career this is
where he first makes a mark taking action bringing him into conflict with
execution squads eliminating Armenians, members of his Church that he was
serving. He himself was saved
at the last moment after the intervention of a Turkish officer who was
leading the squad.
The first references to P.P.’s work
The first person to provide written details of P.P.’s work at Erbaa was the
Pontian lawyer from Thessaloniki, Yiannis Agapides in his booklet ‘Greek
Evangelical Churches of Pontus’ published in 1948.
In pages 75-77 Chapter 8 – Evangelical Community in Erbaa
A – Story of the Evangelical work in this town
The Greek Evangelical work at Erbaa or Herek started in 1888.
At the start three of the seven Greek families in total accepted the
The first Greek preacher to visit the town was the Rev. Georgios
Anastasiades. He worked there
for seven continuous years amongst the Greek families.
Later, in 1913 Pavlos Pavlides came, who was a graduate of the
Theological College of Merzifoun.
The church of Erbaa was also visited for a few months by the preacher of the
community of Shemen Nikolaos Manousarides.
The Evangelicals had a two story Church building of which the ground floor
served as a school and upstairs was the room used for worship.
There were 25 children of evangelical families at the school and
their teachers were Victoria Lak. Pavlide and Maria Paeschou.
Victoria Pavlides - younger sister of Pavlos Pavlides - studied to be a
nurse in Merzifoun
One of the active members of the Evangelical Community was Lazaros Lazarides
(Lazar-Aga) who also supported the Church financially.
The Evangelical work did not meet any negative reactions from the local
Greeks from the Orthodox Church.
They just had some minor irritations from the Turkish police.
B – The actions and work of Rev. Pavlos Pavlides
After completing his studies in 1899 at the St. Paul College of Tarsus of
Cilisia, Pavlos Pavlides went to Merzifoun and entered the Theological
College there from which he graduated in 1903.
For a short while he served at the College as a teacher and after his
ordination he was placed as a regular worker at the church of the community
at Erbaa. At the smae time he
also preached at the Evangelical Church of the village called Iskili, which
was at a distance of about 10km
The activity of this dedicated worker of the Lord was notable for its
spiritual side as well as for its social and national aspects.
In 1918 by endangering his own life he managed with the assistance of the
British Military Authorities, which were in Pontus in those days to free 500
young Armenian girls, which the Turks were keeping in their harems and had
them sent to America through the offices of American Relief.
The Turks considered this as an enemy provocation and they did not forget
it. When things got worse and
the Greeks were being expelled Pavlos Pavlides moved to Merzifoun.
There he continued his spiritual work but also his social and
national activities within the Greek community where he develops to a great
scale the philanthropic work with the assistance of American Relief.
This organization used him to a great extent to provide relief to the
refuges who had gathered there and were suffering horribly being uprooted
from their homes and suffering horribly from the breakout of Turkish
brutality on them.
He distributed a lot of clothing, foodstuffs, medicines and other
The Turks were watching him and finally they arrested and jailed him.
On Sundays they would however they permitted him to go with an escort
to Merzifoun to preach at the Church.
After the sermon they would escort him back to jail.
Many Turks who were friends of his encouraged him to escape, but he
would respond that he was willing to endure the suffering since God is
allowing it. In this manner he
had turned the jail into a place of preaching the gospel.
He was constantly preaching to the inmates whether they were Greeks, Turks
or Armenians. His perfect
command of the Turkish and Armenian languages helped him a lot in this.
Finally he was transferred to the prison of Amasya16.
where he was condemned to death for treason (against Turkey) by the Courts
He was martyred along with another 68 Greeks amongst whom was the
Evangelical Dimitris Theocharidis, professor of Greek at the Merzifoun
When the time for his hanging came, and as the executioner was passing the
knot over his head he in total calm continued to preach to the Turkish
soldiers of the execution squad.
The sermon had such an effect on the executioner that he hesitated in
shoving the moving base of the gallows.
Nevertheless, after P.P. had prayed he finished with the words of
Jesus on the cross ‘ Father forgive them for they know not what they are
doing’. He was now ready and he
asked the executioner to go ahead and do his job.
So, on the 8th of September 1921 the career of this dedicated
worker of the Good News came to a close, remaining faithful unto death, just
as the command of the Lord (Rev. 2:10 …Be faithful, even to the point of
death, and I will give you the crown of life…)
I added this excerpt from Yiannis Agapidi’s book as this is the source of
our knowledge about the end of P.P.’s life.
Y. Agapidis was obliged due to time constraints to be very brief.
His informants were consequently also very brief but they in no was
contradict with what will be presented later and which have been enhanced by
notes that P.P. had himself written in blank pages of his bible and other
eye-witness accounts that his son Iakovos had gathered as well as from other
Prior to his martyrdom, P.P. had devoted his entire time and energy in the
service of the community of Erbaa.
His activity was not restricted only to this town.
He would visit on horseback all the surrounding villages where even a
few or isolated brethren, to preach to them and build them up in their
As mentioned before, 75% of the church he was serving were Armenians and
1914 was a critical year for them.
A seminal event was the circular of the Minister of Interior Affairs
Talat Pasha ( he was named Grand Vizier in 1917) addressing the district of
Aleppo with the following text: ‘Although there had bbeed a previous
decision to exterminate the Armenian people, who for centuries has been
attempting to undermine the Turkish state, and which has now taken the form
of a great calamity, conditions have not allowed us till now to accomplish
this holy intent. As today all
obstacles have been removed, the time has come for our fatherland to
eliminate this element, and we give this order not to be swayed by
compassionate feelings when faced with its pitiable condition.
Strive with all your soul to put an end to their existence, wiping
out the Armenian name from Turkey.’18
It was the time that the hate of the Ottomans was at its exterminatory
height against the Armenians; soon it would be the turn of the Greeks.
The enemy with its official organs hits at the leadership of its adversaries
and leaves the masses to attack with vulgarity and barbarism the unprotected
populations of Armenians and Greeks.
P.P. was one of those leaders, who not only was preaching the faith of the
infidel to which he had proselytized many Moslems but he was also
cooperating with the Americans in order to assist the persecuted Armenians.
The enemy had marked him and was stalking him in a treacherous way.
One day, which as it happens it was the 12th of June 1914,
the Evangelical community of Erbaa Greeks and Armenians, seeing that the
times were very critical, called a fast and an all night prayer, spending
the time in the Church of Erbaa.
At midnight, while prayer was continuing by the members of the
Church, a troop of heavily armed Turkish soldiers headed by an officer,
entered the building with a lot of noise and roughness.
Their first task was to arrest P.P., who was the Pastor, and then the Elders
and then one at a time each man.
They left the women in the Church and went out with the men.
They chained them and led them out of town.
Leading them was P.P. followed by the Armenians brethren, Avedis,
Hovahnnes, Garabet, Samuel, Rizad, Stepan Toufexian, Garabet Diklian,
Garabet Kensirlian, Stepan Diklilian, Hagop Galian, Samuel Galian, Kirkor
Senefermian, Stepan Varjabedian, Mourkour Rezinalian, Ohannes Hakmian,
Ateshan Ioukian, Jerem (family name unknown), Yervant Chilikian, Haroutioun
Tarchian, Hagop Fenerdjian, Ohannes Kaloshian, Artin Mangiakian, Sevan
Haikouroum, Antranik Kessabian.
While they were walking towards their martyrdom they were signing this hymn
which is provided in rough translation.
Give me your Spirit Lord
now that I’m praying with a bowed head
me the Paraclete to lead me in our path
I was wondering in sin
like in a dark night
and while being
cut off from you
I squandered my youth
But now I feel joy
your ray of light has enlightened me
and from the
heavy sleep of death
you have revived my soul.
Oh! What happiness
filled my soul
when God’s love
touched me and
Three more names ought to be added to the above list.
They were conscripted in the Turkish army and dies there but it is
not known whether it was of illness, if they fell in a battle or if they
were executed. They are Dikram,
Ohan Mikram and Sekloman Kalian.
When they arrived at the place where the execution was to take place, they
found a ditch which had already been dug and where they would be buried.
They stopped them In front of the ditch, loosed them from the chains
and lined them in it. The
officer went down into the ditch with a lantern to count them and look each
of the condemned in their faces.
When he reached P.P. he ordered him to get out, because he claimed he
had no orders to execute Greeks.
He then ordered a soldier to come immediately and escort him home.
When he arrives home the soldier was supposed to have P.P.’s wife
sign a document that her husband had arrived well and sound and note the
date and time.
From these details we can surmise that P.P. was the only Greek within the
Church that evening.
Later it became known that this officer was once a students of P.P.’s but it
is not known whether he acted on his own volition, showing even at the last
minute gratefulness to the person who taught him how to read and write or
whether he really had had an order to exclude the Greek who was amongst the
It is nevertheless a fact than many Turks despite their national and
religious fanaticism which rendered them criminally and immune to heartless
actions towards their enemies were at the same time showed faithfulness and
piety towards people with whom they were connected regardless of race or
Therefore when P.P. was ordered out of the ditch and be saved from shooting
he categorically refused stating that he could not abandon his flock as such
a critical moment and not share their fate.
The officer however insisted in a particularly cold and officious
manner and finally forced P.P. to obey.
P.P. however, requested for permission that before he leaves to be
allowed to greet each of the condemned.
He was given permission and he proceeded to pass in front of each
person, hugged them, kissed them and gave them spiritual consolation…
Members of the Erbaa Church, regardless of the emotions, which they were
enduring over the past days felt particular satisfaction that their pastor
was gaining some time for them, even if it was temporary, as he could
continue of being of assistance to others.
If one were to put their feelings into words, this was the unanimous
echo resonating from them when their pastor was departing from them.
P.P. however was receding with the weight of the hurt of an
experience, which was forcing him to forsake the joy that a pastor would
normally be experiencing placing ‘offering his soul for his flock’.
All the Armenian brethren were executed, blameless and without any
court-case. Their only ‘crime’
was that they were Armenians and the Turkish state had decided their
extermination in the name of the nation and religion.
This is something else that differentiates the convictions and
feelings of Christians from the humanness of the followers of the Q’uran.
The Church of Erbaa which was comprised by 75% of Armenians was
deserted by its members in this way,
The calamity had not only hit the Protestant Armenians.
It was a general affliction, which denuded the city of all its
But let us return to looking at what happened to the women of the church
from which the Turks had taken all the Armenian men.
While the men, with P.P. leading them had started to sign the hymn that we
had refereed to before, the women had started doing the same.
At first the voices of the men and the women could be heard united.
The singing started as the men had started to be chained and it was
obvious that the men were being led to martyrdom.
The women in due course went out of the building and accompanied
their men with the hymn and as the men moved further away their sound got
lower and lower and the women stopped singing once they could no longer hear
their men and husbands. It was
a seminal moment for the faithfulness and heroic ethos of the Christians in
the 20th Century.
The two sides of these people, men and women defied their executioners by
totally taking the higher ground and as though nothing horrendous was taking
place were praising God for what was taking place at that moment.
Neither crying nor wailing was heard…
Till a short time before they were praying to God and requesting His
protection, and each prayer would close with the same refrain ‘not my will
but may thy will be done’.
When the sounds uniting the two groups went still, the women re-entered the
Church and continued their prayer meeting.
Each of them prayed to God and dedicated their husbands and all the other
men to the mercy of the All Powerful requesting Him to keep them all,
faithful till death. At the end
of their meeting they all returned to their homes.
Dawn was coming and when it was properly daytime, the whole town was in
uproar. All Armenian women and
children were being driven to exile.
It’s a special moment that the Ottomans were waiting for as though it was a
concession from the promises of their Q’uran.
Their self-righteous devoutness will wallow in their imaginary
paradise, which today is coming down to their feet.
The women are rushing down in the middle of the road leading the
children ahead of them. The more beautiful young ladies will be chosen to
grace the harems of the masters.
Shame on you Ahmet!!!
The western Europeans and Americans are not experiencing such humiliations
and therefore continue to remain unsullied by the barbarity of the Turks who
repeated this type of behaviour in Cyprus in 1974.
Erbaa was denuded by nearly half of its population.
The calamity rendered the town very quiet and it was a fortnight
before the rest of the population which was Greek tentatively came back to
life again and whose turn would come in a couple of years…
P.P. was subsequently conscripted into the Turkish army, as he was a Turkish
citizen. Initially he
served for 10 months in Erbaa and then he was sent to Tokat22
and later for four months Merzifoun.
But soon after the Lord had prepared another special position for him
and he was employed by the Near East Relief organization.
The presence of the British army, discrete vis a vis their relations with
the Turks and hypocritical towards the suffering, was only interested in
taking care of their won interests.
There was a need to provide aid to the many refugees who had arrived
from the hinterland and it was a need, which resolved a demographic problem
for them as well as for the Turks.
Hunger, hardship, sickness, shortages of all basic needs had created
an unnatural tragic mosaic which, had genocide as an unprecedented solution.
The heroic deeds of the Turks in Pontus (Black Sea region) and generally in
Asia Minor which had Germans as advisors was a precursor to Nazi crimes…
Philanthropy of western nations for victims of the Turks, even though it was
beneficial, did not cease to generate the bitter irony from the side to the
oppressors for the strange, in their eyes, religion of the Christians.
The Turks were killing and setting fire and the westerners were
trying to half mend the situation with hypocritical philanthropy…23
It was in such an environment of peculiar and contradictory circumstances
that P.P. was invited to offer his services to the practical needs of the
Near East Relief. He was one of
the few people who coming out of the furnace of trials, could work justly
and truly without prejudice in any area which was for the good of his fellow
man ignoring his own material needs and mental support…He worked for Near
East Relief for two years, in 1918 and 1919.
Despite his zeal and his superhuman actions he saw people dieing
daily from hardship, epidemics and the penury of care and attention.
P. Pavlides giving Near East Relief aid to Armenian refugees
On the 20th of January 1919, in addition to his work with Near
East Relief, he was invited to also take over the job of preacher of the
Gospel in Merzifoun. After
three months he was appointed missionary of the Evangelical Centre of the
Mission Centre of Merzifoun. In
this capacity he was able to act as a representative of a committee, which
attempted to regain claim to properties of Protestant Churches of Pontus
(Black Sea region) and of Asia Minor in general.
He traveled along the Black Sea to vist the Churches, which were
located on the coast; these were Samsun (Amisos), Bafra (Pafra)24,
(Ünye or Ounia)26,
Bey Alan (now Knyazheva-Polyana, Bulgaria meaning 'Prince's Meadow' or
Smirnenski), Semen, Iskili and others.
Afterwards he traveled south to the viollage near Iconium (Konya) called
Hajikioy. Its not known if he
also visited Caesarea (Kayseri) to gather what as owned by the surrounding
Churches of Moutoulaski (Talas), Prokopion, Zindjidere (Flaviana) and
Kiouroumtche. It is however
known that a lot of the property of these Churches was saved and brought to
the Mission Centre. It was
during this extensive engagement that P.P. managed to gather up the 500
young Armenian ladies from the harems and which he sent to America.
He overextended himself during this trip, which was short but
extremely taxing on the body and this lead to him becoming sick and confined
to bed. At that time the 500
girls had not yet departed for America and when they learned that their
benefactor was lying sick in bed they fell to their knees and prayed
earnestly for his recovery.
Another Armenian young lady
After the first mission saving the 500 young Armenian ladies P.P. followed
up with another one. He learned
that the Turks had taken young children into their homes ostensibly to adopt
them but in reality to exploit them.
He managed to locate quite a few of them and organising a mission
which ultimately brough many of them to an orphanage in Corinth.
Amongst them was a young Armenian girl from Erbaa whose name was
Hishkoui Tchimenian. There she
was noticed by a French lady called Marie Vincenne, who adopted her and
named her Alice Vincenne.
After some years, mother and adopted daughter came to Nicaea where they
established a school of embroidery amongst the Armenians.
Alice became a teacher there and saved as much money as she could
depositing it in a bank. Before
her step-mother died she took care to arrange a marriage for her with an
Armenian called Kirkor Hartounian.
However this marriage was more of a martyrdom for Alice as Kirkor was
quite prodigal and died seven years later.
Alice was fortunate never to have touched her savings and thus could live
off the interest. Armenians
living in Greece were allowed to apply for citizenship and before Kirkor had
passed away they had been naturalised.
Alice always remembered P.P. and praised God for the entire dramatic
path of her life, which was crowned by His own protection and provision.
P.P. did not ask for a doctor.
In those days it wasn’t easy to find a Greek or non-Turkish doctor and he
was very reluctant to ask for a Turkish doctor to examine him.
Not long before, when his father Iakovos had fallen ill he had called
a Turkish doctor who gave him poisoned medicine, which had killed him.
He didn’t think that he would be an exception to such treatment.
Caption: Amongt a group of Missionaries, 1 Pavlos Pavlides, 2 Iakovos
Pavlides (his father), 3 Andreas Yphandides (Kyriakos Yphantide's father)
But the Lord heard the prayer of the young ladies and he soon recovered
allowing him to be reinvigorated for the new challenges ahead.
But first he had to ensure the future of his own family.
As for himself he was constantly on standby to go anywhere duty
called. He was not aware form
day to day where any urgent requirement might lead him to.
So he asked his younger brother Demosthenes to take his wife
Ekaterini, his sister Victoria, his grandmother and his four children
Iakovos, Efterpe, Theocharis and the little sister called Ellas and take
them from the township of Erbaa to Merzifoun for greater safety.
This is what was done, but before looking how this journey enfolded
let’s take a moment to look at the choice of name for his youngest.
I must admit that this is the first time that I come across this name as the
given name for a lady, and its even more so in Asia Minor and in this time
in history. At this time,
little Hellas must have been about three years old, and the choice of name
must reflect the brave testimony of the Greek element which was projecting
its national identity so proudly just in those days where Hellenism was
experiencing one of its greatest historic trials.
His Family in a dangerous journey
For this journey, P.P. will later note, ‘ it as the most dramatic journey of
our lives and the last one with our mother’.
As the expulsions were gathering pace many Greeks were being arrested and
being sent to ‘Amele Tambourou’
With these inhumane hard labour troops where many thousands lost
their lives there was revival in the old Greek spirit of escaping into the
mountains and living as bandits precisely a century after 1821 (the
commencement of the struggle of the independence of Greece from the
Greek rebels were all over the mountains of the Black Sea coast determined
to either live free or die.
The trip that Demosthenes would undertake taking his brother’s family from
Ebraa to Merzifoun had to take a route through areas where Turkish rebels
were stalking Greek rebels and each passing ‘giaour’ (foreigner).
He hired three carriages each drawn by two horses, loaded most of the
home necessities, took his mother Eugenia who had been living with his
brother’s family, and all of the rest of the family and one day started off
at the crack of dawn. At first
they passed through Greek rebel held territory amongst whom were many who
knew the Pavlides family. After
a days trek towards the evening they reached a height from where they
noticed armed people on horseback coming towards them.
Fortunately they turned out to be Greek rebels and they took
Demosthenes aside under a big tree.
There, the Turkish carriage drivers unleashed the horses to rest and
the Greek rebels left after leaving an armed guard to provide some
protection to the family.
The surrounding region looked as though it belonged to a large estate.
Soon they were brought a lot of delicious products of the region and
the dined with pleasure and rested.
Iakovos still remembers the leader of that rebel group who was very
tall, and stalwart man who gave him a huge pear to eat.
He guessed it must have weighed half a kilo and was extremely juicy!
After this break, and because the Turkish carriage drivers were uneasy that
they were staying in Greek rebel controlled territory, started leaving.
The Greek rebels provided a group of fifteen armed men to accompany
the three carriages and then left.
They also left with them a Turkish priest (Hodja) who was sympathetic
to the Greeks and stayed with the rebels helping them in any way he could.
He would accompany the group as they would soon be entering a Turkish
rebel controlled zone. After
making some good progress and reaching the shores of the Are river
Kizil-Irmak in Turkish) the Greek rebels left them, leaving them only with
the Turkish Hodja.
Pavlos Pavlides orphans in 1921 in Merzifoun: Right to Left: Iakovos,
Efterpe, Thecharis, Ellas
The terrain here started being more wild and they reached a difficult and
dangerously precipitous bend just as the sun threw a reflection from the
surface of the river into the horses’ eyes which started and went backwards.
The carriage they were pulling, heavy as it was, rolled down the
hill, hit a rock, lost its balance and fell towards the precipice taking
with it the horses and the passengers who were onboard.
The only one remaining uninjured was Efterpe who wanting to be with
her mother and was constantly complaining, had been sent to the carriage
carrying her mother at a previous stop.
The carriage, which fell was carrying grandma Eugenia, aunt Victoria
and Iakovos. It fell all the
way to the edge of the river along with the horses.
Victoria was thrown out of the carriage as it took the first roll,
then grandma was thrown out.
Both of them sustained injuries all over their bodies, grandma fracturing
Although injured and needing first aid, both women’s first concern was for
young iakovos who was just six years old at the time.
The drivers who had ran to collect the horses, as they heaved the
carriage up found Iakovos in a bad state underneath it!
He had bitten his tongue and was bleeding from the mouth and had hit
his forehead and had superficial bloody wounds, signs of which are still
visible. Because of this
accident, the Turkish rebels did not bother the family.. They watched from
their outlook post the whole incident and came down to see what happened.
The Hodja spoke with them kindly and the rebels left without any
process and returned to their hideout.
The injured took care of themselves as best as they could and
bandaged Iakovo’s head with whatever they could lay their hands on.
It was the second day of the journey and in the afternoon they reached
They stopped at an inn in order to send a message to their father to
come and fetch them. Iakovos,
with his bandaged head hanging out of a window was watching and waiting for
his father. At one moment he
saw ‘a devils carriage’, as they called the small cars of the European
military and of the Americans, with which his father was approaching and he
called out to him. P.P. ran
immediately to his son and hearing of all the circumstances of the journey
thanked the Lord for whatever happened, because with this accident the
Turkish rebels did not keep them as hostages.
The adventure through which the family was saved was a passing episode over
which reigned holy providence.
After Pavlos arrived, Demosthenes left immediately to go and take care of
his own family, which he had to move to Amisos31.
The same day, late in the evening Pavlos and his family reached
Merzifoun. They settled there
on the grounds on the grounds of the American Anatolia College and
specifically in the house of Ioannis Xenidis, a graduate of the American
College and of Edinburgh University and who at that time was away in the
Housing complex for professors of Anatolia College – 1906
After fifteen days arrests started of Greeks who had social, religious or
financial status. Pavlos
Pavlides along with other professors of the college, 69 in total, were
arrested and thrown into Merzifoun jail.
Pavlos though, because he had many Turkish friends who respected him,
managed to get permission to be able to daily go to the chapel of the
college and to preach each Sunday morning.
This he did being accompanied by a Turkish soldier each time there
and back to jail.
The grounds around the College were comprised of many building where many
Greek families had come to seeking refuge.
They had come from Merzifoun and the outlying area.
One day, very suddenly and without any for-warning, the local
authorities, following orders from the central Turkish Government, gathered
all the professors of the College, including P.P. and moved them to the
frightening prison of Amaseia.
Anatolia College – 1901
Anatolia College - 1906
North College, Anatolia College, Merzifoun
P.P. was now cut off from his audience which lived through the troubles of
those days, and they in turn, who were left behind in the area of the
college felt isolated and cut off from the world at large.
In prison, God has another mission for Pavlos Pavlides.
There were many cells, separate from men and women.
There must have been over 1,500 prisoners and all the professors of
the college were kept in a separate section, and here as well, P.P. was
given permission to preach to his fellow prisoners three times a day,
morning, noon and evening.
This service of his in this hostile environment was the only respite
for the prisoners.
Prisoners held in this prison were destined for hanging and very few of them
survived – mostly those who from their troubles and psychological situation
had lost their minds. One of
those was the Russian professor of music at the college, Tsakalof.
His nervous state had been so troubled that he was exempted from
execution. He managed to come
to Greece with his wife and with some other hostages.
They moved to Thessaloniki where his wife got a job at the there
American Consulate. One day
Tsakalov heard that P.P.s son was a student at Anatolia College, which had
moved from Merzifoun to Thessaloniki.
Without losing any time he went to the College and met Iakovos and
described to him all the events
that has occurred in the prison and in detail all that he could recall about
his father. Along with
Cornelia, P.P.’s sister who was also an eye witness of the events, Tsakalof
is the main source of information of life in the prison of Amaseia.
When the prisoners had been moved from Merzifoun to Amaseia prison, Cornelia
left Merzifoun and moved to Amaseia renting a room near the prison.
She wanted to be visiting her brother daily taking him food and
having his clothes washed.
The imprisonment of the 69 professors lasted two years and Tsakalof in his
witness emphasized that P.P. achieved more in these two years than if he
would have lived 200 peaceful years.
This witness, even if it reflects some hyperbole shows quite clearly
the deep impression that Pavlides had on the souls of the prisoners.
This two year sojourn in the prisons was quite nightmarish for the
In this environment where the possibility of death was a daily or even an
hourly occurrence or possibility, rendered life a martyrdom.
The morale of the people was in shreds.
Tsakalof testified that the presence of someone like Pavlides in
their midst who with his manner managed to break the ice of gloom and
depression was a real gift sent from God for those convicted to death.
In this critical period of the last years of the lives of not only
the 69 professors but for the more than 1,500 prisoners, P.P. played the
most glorious role of his mission as a preacher of the Gospel.
He has come to the realization that God wanted him to be saved from
being shot, something which members of his church at Erbaa did not escape
from, to be used now to assist many more souls who were need of his support.
His sense of responsibility for these souls would not allow him to
leave even a moment unutilized and he worked without respite for the
evangelisation and their spiritual support.
In this way, in prison, was formed a large church family, the largest that
he had ever experienced all his life and he preached to them three times a
day, morning, noon and evening.
I doubt that any preacher regardless of experience and under normal
circumstances would have been able to preach three different sermons per
day, but it’s not too difficult to imagine P.P. drawing his unswerving
strength from his faith in God’s will who had placed him amongst 1,500
prisoners and being responsible for the spiritual fate.
Tsakalof assured us that the 69 College professors gradually became one
spiritual body and their appearance improved and their faces appeared
calmer. Pavlides taught them
hymns, which they sang at their meetings.
Initially his sermons were focused on the general situation but very
soon they focused on issues of a personal nature of each captive.
The thousand and one questions that arise for each person living in
danger, and specially if one was not a believer, were the source of
inspiration of his speeches.
All going though difficult times will instinctively ascertain if the person
aiming to morally assist them was gifted or not.
Pavlides had the privilege to win the prisoners’ confidence
concurrently to maintaining a spiritual bond with them.
Their feeling of consolation would become apparent in their faces as
they listened to his inspired words.
None of them had any doubts about his morality and saintly sincerity.
At the same time Turkish friends were constantly encouraging him to
escape. His reply to these
pleas was that his priority was his fellow prisoners and not his personal
safety. God, who had saved him
from shooting at Erbaa, if He willed, could save him in His own way and
consequently all other ways were unacceptable.
However, its not only Tsakalof’s witness which provides us with important
details about PP.s actions and life during his two year imprisonment in
Amaseia. We have learned more
details through his sister Cornelia who as we had earlier read, was visiting
him daily. Once the fate of the
prisoners had been settled by the ‘freedon’ Courts of the Turks, and their
lives were nearing their last phase, P.P. wrote his will and gave it to his
sister Cornelia to take to his wife but it appears that both he and his
sister were being watched by some guards.
When Cornelia left that night, to go from Amaseia to Merzifoun, the Turks
were waiting for her and arrested her and took her to the ladies prison,
which was on the same grounds of the prison where her brother was.
She therefore was a witness to the hanging of her brother and the
other 68 professors of the college.
The removal of the professors from Merzifoun to the prison in Amaseia
occurred during the period in which Topal Osman was active in the region.
The journalist George Lampsidis in his book has transmitted to us the
very sad events. This criminal
person with his cronies would defile women and then would shut them up in
Christian churches, which were then set on fire.
Armed, they would wait outside watching if any lady tried to escape
from a window and then shoot her.
Men and older children were either already exterminated or sent on
exile or on work teams. Those
who were of an age to be conscripted in the army were called to join the
army but were trained separately from the Turks and were treated so harshly
that many of them ended up in hospital.
The hospitals were being maintained purely for show and were in
effect were used just to issue fake death certificates as no one escaped
from them alive. Patrons of
this barbaric genocide and the initial teachers of these methods were
Germans who had a significant military contingent there being led by General
von der Golz.
Although hospitals had been operating as death laboratories, they were being
portrayed as centers of social welfare by those paying lip service to what
civilization meant, the prisons, and specially those of Amaseia showed that
the Ottomans were not any less behind the times on the issue of justice…
In exactly these prisons P.P.s ministry showed the gigantic dimensions that
Christian love can take when confronted by hate and God’s kingdom rules in
the hearts of the faithful when faced by representatives of the powers of
darkness. Pavlides worked there
for two whole years without respite, and he became known to all the inmates.
He didn’t limit his attention to the professors but gradually
expanded his work to all the wings of the prisons and because the space he
used to preach was not large enough for all inmates of a wing, those who
would still be shut in their cells would drill holes in the walls to be able
to communicate with those on the other side and thus try to also get part of
the message or other news. So
over time the cells of all the various wings were riddled with holes.
Apart from the spoken daily messages they could also hear songs and
hymns through that PP would teach.
It was very satisfying for him to listen to the prisoners break out
in the latest hymn they had learned when they were being led by their guards
to one of the meetings.
In this way, the 1500 prisoners had turned into a spiritual body with a
common aim. They all expected
that sooner or later they would be allowed to leave and each one acted with
respect despite the daily provocations of their guards, thanks to the
encouraging daily messages they heard.
Another indication of God’s favor to P.P.s work was that he was never
hindered by the Turks to carry out his mission.
Tsakalof had been right to state that P.P. in two years achieved more
in two years in prison than what might have otherwise been possible to do in
The psychological reality that the 1500 inmates were displaying in their
totality was a new experience for their Turkish warders and the management
staff who felt demeaned.
It has been reported by Asia Minor Greeks that the Turkish authorities kept
minute records and it might be interesting if one were to look into the
files of the Amaseia prisons, if they have survived, to see whether they
refer to the presence of these 1500 prisoners who were pastured by Pavlides
as something never before experienced in the history of the prisons.
The end of the story is very bitter.
The time came where the decision of the Independence court was made
public. The 69 professors were
to be hung. In the central
enclosure of the prisons were set 69 scaffolds, each with a noose.
Under each scaffold there was a platform or wooden crate or just
simple old chairs. The
prisoners were called out of their cells to the central court where the
scaffolds were awaiting them.
When the cells opened they came out with pious emotion but also with a
They all struggled to get first to their scaffold, each of which was
overseen by an executioner.
Only Tsakalof was missing. The
68 arrived signing the last hymn that they had been taught by their
imprisoned pastor. It was a
very moving scene. It was described by Cornelia, who could see it all from
her window and would later recount the details.
The hymn that the condemned were signing is still in the hymnal of
the Greek Evangelical Churches with the title ‘Life because of my Grace’ (Zwhn
Cornelia Pavlides, married Alexandros Calemkierides
The entire hymn of 5 verses and 36 lines took up to ten minutes to be sung
whole. All this time the
executioners and judges watched the soon to be departed who were all
gathered together celebrating their exit from this life so devoutly.
The fact that they were not forced to break up and immediately go to
their scaffolds must have been due to the extraordinary phenomenon that
prevailed in the prison of Amaseia at that time.
There were numerous women watching from the women’s prison.
Some were gesticulating in an obvious and revengeful manner, while
others were crossing themselves or silently praying covering their faces
with the palms of their hands.
At some point the hymn came to an end and then each executioner ran to their
respective prisoner and led them to the gallows.
Each prisoner raised themselves on their platform and the hangmen put
the noose around their necks.
At this time, as it was customary, each was asked if they had something to
say. All of them in turn
refused, each asking that Pavlides speak on their behalf.
When Pavlide’s turn came he started to speak.
It was to be the last sermon of his life and it lasted twenty
minutes. But this time the
sermon was not addressed to his flock.
This sermon was preached in Turkish and was addressed to the
executioners, Turkish judges and other representatives of the state who were
present. At the end of his talk
he prayed, again in Turkish and closed his prayer with Jesus’ words ‘Father
forgive them for they know not what they do’.
The judges and other representatives started to depart even before
the order for the hangings was given.
After some moments, one by one, each executioner approached his gallows and
started to push against the platform, crate or chair…the noose got tighter
against the neck and the victim was suspended in the air!
From the 68 executioners only 67 did the job they were mean to
execute; the 68th who was responsible for Pavlides hesitated to
approach his victim. Pavlides
therefore had to exhort him and loudly stated: ‘ My court case has not yet
commenced and it has nothing to do with human justice.
It will only commence the moment I am in front of the Heavenly Judge.
Come and lets get it over with’.
But again no one came to push the platform – not only his own
appointed hangman, but none of the others either.
Then someone was forced to go out into the street and look for someone from
the outside – a soldier passing by who was ordered to do what all the other
executioners were refusing to undertake.
The soldier, unaware and uninfluenced by the drama that had preceded,
pushed the platform and thus the pastor followed his flock to death.
The writer believes that amongst the executioners and other prison staff,
were several who had been influenced by friends of Pavlides who during the
last hours before the execution were insisting that he be allowed to escape.
Such a philanthropic gesture of the Turks would not have been a
surprise and neither the only such event.
A few days before a well thought out plan had been put in place.
Those who knew him well and loved him wanted him saved because they
were aware that his wife was pregnant and that they had another four
children. They were therefore
telling him ‘Think of your partner, think of the infant, feel sorrow for
your children who will feel the pain of the emptiness that you will leave
The answer that the Turks received deserves to be repeated here with all
‘In 1914 I found myself in similar circumstances with my flock at Erbaa.
At that time the execution squad’s officer himself removed me from
the trench sending me home.
If God wishes to save me now, he can act in a similar way.
However, to escape is not only insubordination against God’s will but
also a heavy sin against the conscience of so many who believed in my
message…as for my wife and my children, I have prayed to God and he will
take care of them better than me…’
At this juncture we are faced with two spiritual experiences: the humanism
of the Islamic faith which limits itself to the preservation of the family,
and to the Christian faith which escapes the boundaries of family love and
associates itself with faith to God and its connection to Christian
Some years ago ad famous European historian supported the thesis that it
would be beneficial if Islamic devoutness prevailed in the world.
His view was also published in the Greek press.
But I don’t believe that this historian, who no longer is alive, had
delved into the true meaning of Christianity.
I believe that Islamic kindness which appears in rare moments like this is
an explosion of suppressed feelings from the days of ‘crypto-Christianity’
i.e. Christians who had converted to Islam but were secretly still holding
to Christian beliefs. Their
descendants could no longer sustain such a double life and their display of
humanity at critical moments, severed from any Christian meaning, is
rendered a moral test with very deeply rooted historical origins.
The job of the executioners had been accomplished, the gallows were torn
down and the central enclosure of the prisons was free again.
It was the 8th of August 1921.
The corpses of the hanged men were removed for burial.
As Christians they had to be buried in a Christian cemetery and
Christian inmates were drafted to dig the common grave.
This came to the ears of Pavlo’s wife, Ekaterini.
She had named their new baby Paulina, before learning of the tragic
death of her husband. Th
macabre news left her dead with a cardiac arrest.
A few days later little Paulina also followed them…
Their elder son Iakovos, who must have been six at the time, heard the news
while he was in the yard of the school at Merzifoun.
He started to cry and didn’t know whom to turn to.
But the Heavenly Father heard him, and workers from near East relief
gathered all four orphans and sent them to Greece.
They settled in the refugee camp of Lipasmaton, near Piraeus, which
at the time was just an encampment of tents.
Some time later, the two elder children studied at the College in
What Iakovos remembers most from the devoutness of his parents was the way
they kept Sunday holy. His
mother never did any housework on Sundays and even the food she would
prepare from the day before.
Sundays were devoted entirely to the work fo the Church.
It was day of joy for the children because they would be dressed in
their best clothes and then walk hand in hand with their parents to Church –
the girls with mother and the boys with father.
As painful as the martyr’s death of father, followed by the unexpected death
of mother and then of their baby sister’s with time strengthened the faith
of the children and specially that of Iakovos who devoted his life to the
service of Love.
We pray that this vision will accompany their lives, as well as the lives of
their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In the countless group of martyrs of the Christian faith this is the first
instance of an aerial musical connection of two groups of faithful who are
gradually separating from each other, like the women of Erbaa who enter the
Church to pray while their husbands are being led away by an execution
squad.. Women and men maintain
contact with the musical sound singing the same hymn till they can’t hear
each other and as the break gets farther, because the execution squad is
leading the men out of the town to shoot them
We would with great difficulty come across another instance in history like
that of the 68 convicts of Amaseia who when their cell doors open are
hurrying to meet their deaths with courage.
Something similar symptoms occur to sheep being led to the slaughter
but with the ‘logical’ flock of Amaseia we see a phenomenon, which is hard
to be grasped by humans.
To squeeze 200 years worth work into two with such a fruitful outcome is not
possible to be foreseen by any human endeavour.
It’s a miracle, which can only be composed by the victorious life of
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebr. 13:8)
The life of the saved is the same one; it follows martyrdom to reach the
triumph of the resurrection.
1 UNRRA: United Nations Relief
and Rehabilitation Administration. A defunct UN agency, which was
established in 1943 after an agreement between the USA, UK, USSR and
China and adhered to by 44 other countries. Its aim was to
provide aid to nations, which experienced damage during WWII.
The organization was disbanded in 1947. After Italy, Greece
was the largest recipient of aid, followed by Yugoslavia, China,
Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria.
2 The group was comprised of
young men and women who had met before and had common ideals.
They came from Piraeus or Athens and would meet often in twos or in
Kelsy was the representative
of Near East Relief during the Asia Minor catastrophe.
The organization had been established in the USA in 1919 with
the aim of aiding victims of WWI in the Near East.
It established many orphanages and took care of 17800
Armenian and Greek children.
Their medical centres gave assistance to 35,000 children.
They were particularly helpful during the Asia Minor
catastrophe. In 1930 it
disbanded most of the orphanages and established a school for the
deaf, dumb and blind.
Kelsy had met Pavlos Pavllides in merzifoun and he employed him as
an assistant in the work that had been established on the Black Sea
4 Iakkovos and his father
resembled each other remarkably.
When I visited him once at a school where a picture of his
father ws hanging on the wall, I asked him, ‘when did you have the
picture taken?’ upon which he replied laughing, ‘But its not me, its
5 Yiannis Kioupouroglou was one
of the ‘group’, the oldest in his family, tall and strong and always
willing to assist in our needs.
6 Adamantios Korais or Cora_s (Greek:
Αδαμάντιος Κοραής; 27 April 1748_6 April 1833) was a humanist
scholar credited with laying the foundations of
Modern Greek literature and a major figure in the
Greek Enlightenment. His activities paved the way
Greek War of Independence and emergence of a purified
form of the Greek language, known as
Encyclopaedia Britannica asserts, that "his influence on
the modern Greek language and culture has been compared to that of
Dante on Italian and
Martin Luther on German". He was born in
Smyrna, in 1748. He was exceptionally passionate about
linguistics and studied greatly throughout his youth. As
an adult Korais traveled to Paris where he would continue his
enthusiasm for knowledge. He translated
ancient Greek authors and produced thirty volumes of
Korais graduated from the famous school of
medicine of the
University of Montpellier in 1788 and was to spend
most of his life as an
expatriate in Paris. A classical scholar, Korais
was repelled by the
Byzantine influence in Greek society and was a fierce
critic of the ignorance of the clergy and their subservience to the
Ottoman Empire, although he conceded it was the Orthodox
Church that preserved the national identity of Greeks.
While in Paris, he was witness to the
French Revolution. He was influenced by the
revolutionary and liberal sentiments of his age. He admired
Thomas Jefferson; and exchanged political and
philosophical thoughts with the American statesman. Atypical man of
the Enlightenment, Korais encouraged wealthy Greeks to
open new libraries and schools throughout Greece. Korais believed
that education would ensure not only the achievement of independence
but also the establishment of a proper constitution for the new
liberated Greek state.
Korais died in Paris aged 84 soon after
publishing the first volume of his autobiography. In 1877,his
remains were sent to Greece, to be buried there. Korais's greatest
contribution was the planting of the seed of
freedom, on the Greek people. He envisioned a
democratic Greece, recapturing the glory of the Golden Age of
7. Chrysostomos (Kalafatis) of Smyrna
From Orthodox Wiki
Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Kalafatis) of
Smyrna (1867-1922) was the diocesan
bishop of the city of Smyrna in Asia Minor during
and following the First World War. He was murdered by a mob when the
forces of the Young Turks burned the city in 1922 and sent the Greek
population into exile.
He was born in Triglia of Bithynia in 1867.
In 1902 the
Holy Synod of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate elected him
Metropolitan of Drama by.
Drama, located in Eastern Macedonia, had a predominantly
Greek population but at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire and
was engulfed in the Balkan Wars. The metropolitan worked to
encourage the Greek population to build schools and
churches, take back churches occupied by the Bulgarians,
and to build athletic centers, hospitals, and nursery schools.
His actions led to his exile on
August 30, 1907, by the Turkish authorities. On
May 10, 1910 he was elected Metropolitan of
Smyrna. During World War I and the persecution of the Greeks of
Anatolia by the Ottoman Empire, he helped members of the Greek
population to take refuge in the Greek islands of the Aegean.
Additionally, he served as a spokesman for the civilian population
to diplomatic officials and the world press. The German ambassador
in Constantinople wrote that Chrysostomos "stands to the best of
living clerics." His actions resulted in a second exile on
August 20, 1914, when he left Smyrna for Constantinople.
Following the end of the world war, he
returned to Smyrna. On
May 2, 1919, the Greek army occupied Smyrna in
accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Sevres.
Chrysostomos continued his work with the Greek population while also
supporting the needs of the Turkish and Armenian populations.
He was notable for his charity work and for
having been deeply involved in the politics of his day.
After the defeat of the Greek Army in
Anatolia and the reoccupation of Smyrna by the Turks, Chrysostomos
refused to leave Smyrna and abandon his flock. The metropolitan was
abducted by a mob incited by Nureddin Pasha on 9 September 1922.
According to eyewitness accounts, he was tied to a barber chair,
cruelly tortured, and put to death.
The metropolitan is generally considered an ‘ethnomartyr
’ (someone martyred for his nation) of the Orthodox Church and the
Greek nation, and there have been calls for his
8 Zinji-Dere / Zinjidere /Zindjdere / Flaviana
Cappadocia is a well-known province of Asia Minor known to students
of history and readers of the New Testament (cf. Acts 2:1; I Peter
1:1). The main city of Cappadocia was Caesarea Mazaca
(Kayseri), administrative seat of the illustrious province and one
the most important bishoprics of Asia Minor. This is the city
from where renowned church fathers emanated, such as Basil the
Great, Gregory of Naziansus, Gregory of Nyssa, Eusebius Pamphili
(church historian) and several lesser luminaries.
Mt.Argaeus (Erciyesh), approximately 4,000 meters (13,100 feet)
lifts its serene, majestic peak nearby. This loftiest mountain in
central Anatolia, perpetually snow-capped, has always attracted the
admiration of the Cappadocians and the numerous travelers through
the region. To the north of Mt. Argaeus on ravishing elevated
terraces lies the city of Moutalaski (Talas), which overlooks
Caesarea. Talas was an important Christian center for several
centuries. Near this city below Mt. Argaeus, is the quiet town of
Zinjidere, known in history as Flavianus, home of several churches
and ancient monasteries.
Zinjidere had the reputation of being a corner of Switzerland
transplanted in Cappadocia. The town of five hundred homes resembled
a picturesque Swiss Alpine village with chalets and villas. It
served as a resort area for Caesarea. It enjoyed rich supplies
of water, heavy winters and pleasant summers.
Caesarea Mazaca had already ceased being a bishopric. The Greek
bishop had moved to Zinjidere, making it the focal point of wide
Christian activity. A Greek theological seminary was the center of
training for priests who upon graduation were commissioned to serve
in near and distant parishes in Asia Minor. There was also a
commercial school, boys and girls gymnasiums, two Orthodox
orphanages and an Evangelical orphanage for boys.
9. Merzifon / Merzifoun
/ Marsovan: G.E.
Manolaks writes in the 5th tome of Xenophanes magazine in 1907-1908:
‘This town, Marsovan or Merzifoun, lies south west of Samsun
with which it is connected by a wide but quite rough and in a poorly
state carriage road.
The road is in such a bad state that the traveler will often have to
disembark and walk. The
journey lasts two days and one can spend the nights in an inn.
The terrain from Samsun to Marsovan is gorgeous with a
variety of mountains, plains, valleys and hills (page 188)
Merzifoun lies north west of Amaseia on a plain at a height of 2460
It doesn’t have any archaeological significance but there are
several theories for the origin of the name.
The held view is that the name originates from Fazemon of
Strabo (book 12, chapter 38) which through corruption developed into
During the evening of the 12th or 25th of October 107 the Greek
protestants met to celebrate the 40th birthday of Rev. Dr. Tracy,
director of the college and on his suggestion 1200 Turkish pounds
were collected to construct a new church building.
They achieved what many other well of Greek communities never
did without any help from Americans or by the state…(page 192)’
The American, Anatolia College was established in Merzifoun and in
1922 transferred to Thessaloniki.
Prior to 1923 its population was 20,000 and many of them were
Greeks and Armenians.
10 Talas (Moutalaski): with 4000 inhabitants it lay about an hour
away north-east of Caesaria (today’s Kayseri), is built in an
amphitheatrical shape on the foothills of a plateau and it is one of
the most pleasant in Cappadocia.
It had excellent Greek schools, which were equipped with
electric lighting before the first world war. However it had
superior American schools, which had more resources and were built
on the hights of the town. The Americans who were missionaries,
teachers and doctors comprised an entire neighborhood on an open and
breezy area with extensive gardens.
Children from far flung villages would attend these schools,
many poor or orphans.
This Amercian centre was linked to the famous and older school of
Merzifoun. However, the
provate residences of the Greeks of Moutalaski were quite impressive
and reflected their wealth.
They were lined up in a picturesque way on a downhill and in
medieval fashion. The
streets were generally very narrow with steps leading to the upper
Moutalaski is also the birthplace of St. Savvas the blessed who died
11. Constantine Paparigopoulos wrote, that due to the manner
in which the Orthodox venerated, kissed and kneeled in front of
icons of Saints, Jews and Moslems branded Christians idolaters.
(History of the Hellenic Nation, 6th edition, 3rd volume, 10th book,
chapter 1, page23, Athens 1932)’
12. If Byzantium had
taken greater care it would have probably quite easily have
transmitted Christianity to the Hazars._ See M. Thavorites, Memories
of Asia Minor, pages 244-246, Athens 1972)
13. Sardogan: From the Xenophanes magazine we read: This small
town lay north-west of Adapazari and was under this city’s
administrative area (kaymaklik) and administered by Nicomedia.
There were 1850 inhabitants who were all Greek. It was
composed of large farms and previously was called Serdivan, which
eventually was corrupted to Sardogan. It is said that the
population was transferred here from Epirus (NW mainland Greece)
around 300years before by an Albanian vezir of the Sultan Suleyman.
(4th Tome, 1906-1907, page 543). In the 1st Tome of 1896, page
284 we read: _Its inhabitants, 1500 Greeks are a mix of Orthodox,
Protestants, Calvinists and Lutherans who are in farming and animal
husbandry whose Greek is very poor and corrupted. The bishop of
Nicomedia to whose ecclesiastical diocese they belong is
indifferent._ From the Greek Evangelicals of the area who came
to Greece we learn that Sardogan was a place where Greeks would go
for their vacations and leisure.
14. Adapazari: Means Island-Bazaar. In the magazine
Xenophanes of Volume 3, page 139 (1905-1906) we read _Adapazari is
encircled by two rivers, the Sagarius and the stream flowing into
Voannes lake., hence its name, as it also was a market town.
In Volume 1 (1896) page 283 we read: Seat of the kaimakam and
moundour of the Tobacco monopoly; 30000 inhabitants of whom 1000
Greek, 15000 Armenians, 1500 Protestant Armenians and the rest Turks
or Bulgarian and Bosnian immigrants. It was a very fertile plain a
half an hour away from the Sagarius river.(_). It had silk
factories, s steam powered mill, many tanneries (export of leather),
more than a thousand shops most of which were stone built (_)
The Greek community is under the diocese of Nicomedia and has two
churches each with its priest, a primary school with teachers and an
assistant and a girls’ school with their teachers and assistants all
of which were very well. An educational association,
which collected 160 pounds in two years was disbanded by the bishop
for personal reasons. The clergy were ignorant and wealthy.
The Armenians had three churches, excellent high schools, and
educated clergy and bishops and they were very forward looking and
advanced in all respects.
The Protestants had schools organized in the European style,
an advanced girl’s school and they taught English, French, music and
all to a high standard. There are Ottomans and Circasians (see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circassians) also going to their
15. Bouldouri (Bouldour or today, Burdur): 27000 inhabitants
in 1921, of whom 5000 Greeks and 1000 Armenians; the rest were
Turkish. The capital of the district., lies at the foothills
of porous strata which encircles it just like Sparta (today’s
Isparta ). There are vineyards and a diverse flora. It lies 6
hours Southwest of Sparta. The town is built on the southwest
side of the homonymous lake and encircled by mountains from which
you can enjoy and beautiful view of it. It is a beautiful town
and quite well built. It has a healthy climate and produce are
wheat, barley, opium, grapes and wine. As in Sparta, houses at
Bouldouri are encircled by gardens, which add to the beauty of the
town. (P.M. Kontogiannis, Geography of Asia Minor, Athens
1921, page 165).
16. Erbaa or Herakleia (Herek): We don’t know why this name was
given to it in Turkish, which means Wednesday _In the 4th volume of
Xenphanes, page 260 (1906-1907) we read: The subdivision of Herek
(Herkleia) a seat of government on the right of the Ireos river and
separating the regions of Amaseia and Neo-Caesaria and under whose
ecclesiastical diocese. This is where Emperor Herakleios
camped on his return journey from his campaign against the Persians
to free the Holy Cross. The place was, earlier named Eupatoria
by King Mithridates the 6th and Magnoupolis by Pompeii.
21 villages in the region of Amaseia are governed from here.
17, Independence Court (Istiklal Mahkemesi): Kemal Attaturk
established these and they were numerous and specific. They
were to combat anyone and anything, and especially foreign which
would render Turkey underdeveloped or under foreign influence. He
wished to discourage the functioning of foreign run schools and in
particular those, which had been established by religious missions_.
These courts not only sent to the gallows Armenians, Greeks, Kurds
and people of other nationalities but also Turks who resisted his
plans for change. They hanged, exiled, imprisoned thousands in
summary procedures. Many were tortured. Forty-six leaders were
hanged in the main square of Diyarbekir, last of who was Sheikh
Said, their leader. (H.C. Armstrong, The Grey Wolf , The Life of
Kemal Attaturk, Viper 291, Papyrus Press, Athens 1972, pages 230 and
18. See Ohanes-Capkic Aghabatian _ Armenia and the Armenian
question, Athens1975, page 79: This as well as another order, do not
bear a specific date. Recent writers however and learned
Armenians living in Greece recall that they were made public in1915.
It is very likely that the chronology of 1915 might be a little late
for this notification. As a decision taken earlier, at least
as far as experienced in Erbaa, the decision was already being
implemented from January 1914.
19. The original version of this hymn can be found in the
Rumanian Hymn Book Evangelical Hymns reprinted in Paris in1978.
It was first published in1913; it is probable that P.P. was aware of
it and thanks to its beautiful music had taught it to his fellow
prisoners without it having been formally translated and
incorporated in any Turkish or Armenian language evangelical
hymnals. This Rumanian hymn was never formally
translated into Greek but perhaps it was already in an Armenian
hymnal or they just have learned the music - we do not know.
We know however from contemporary witnesses that this is the tune to
which the Armenian brethren were singing whilst marching to their
20. A report about the destruction of the city and the
decimation of its inhabitants can be read in G. Lampside’s book,
Topal Osman, pages 152 & 252.
Lampsides mentions how the inhabitants of Erbaa would play
with the verb Argage in Greek which means ‘grabbing’ (Αρπαγαν και
αρπαγαν. Ερημον να απομεν. Και ντο πολλους ερπαξεν
= Να μηνει ερημο…Το Αρπαα που αρπαξε, ερημο να μηνει.
Και πολλοuς που αρπαξε.)
21. Tokat or Tokati or Toaktion (in Greek Eudioupolis or Eudokias),
of 40000 inhabitants, 2000 were Greek and 15000 Armenian.
It was the seat of a sanjak (or district) and lies on the
Irid river built in an amphitheater like valley.
The town is known for its linen fabrics and copper working
from copper brought from the mines in Diyarbekir. Schools are
established there, those of the Protestants maintained by American
missions and those of the Catholics by Jesuits. (1881)
Historical notes: Tokat is a little distant from Byzantine Eudokias
which and been so named by its builder Emperor Irakleios in honour
of a daughter. The
population had come from abandoned Pontica or Eastern Komana
(Yiomenek); they lay of the right shores of the Tozanli-su, 10kms
north-east of Tokat, where one can still today detect ruins from
Greek times. Between
Tokat and Sevasteia lay several Greek villages and were subject to
the Bishop of Neocaesaria. (from P.M. Kontogiannis book Geography of
Asia Minor, Athens 1921)
22. An eye witness report from Tokat:
People who were aware of the activities of the American
Relief (Ed: American Committee for Relief in the Near East (ACRNE))
for orphans and refugees of Pontus, when they arrived in Hakim Sesi,
saw them go to tears seeing the apathy of the Great Powers at the
plight of these wretched people.
At that time, the director of the American Near East Relief
in Sebasteia was named Thurber and he is quoted as stating the
following by George N. Parouseas, a graduate of the Biblical College
at Merzifoun, and later pastor in Yionnina and Volos. (from his
handwritten memoirs) .
Thurber saw some Greek missionaries being terribly mistreated and
am ashamed at all I saw when I returned to Tokat.
I am ashamed on behalf of Europe and America for the apathy
they are showing towards the Christians of Anatolia.
They daily see the atrocities of the Turks and their
unspeakable horrors and yet they are indifferent.
Today, one of the most glorious peoples of the universe, a
people which, enlightened the pages of history and civilization,
providing to humanity the light with the development of writing,
science and the arts is being led to the slaughter by a race of
“None of the representatives of civilized nations of Europe and
America are interested and they are not asking where these herds of
people uprooted from their homes, dying everywhere as though
depicting live scenes from Dante’s Inferno”
“It would be preferable for America to intervene and prevent the
calamity rather than sending aid, supposedly to assist the orphans,
which in reality ends up feeding and clothing Turkish generals,
hospitals and orphanages”
“ Daily we see thousands upon thousands of Christians dying of
calamities and expulsions without us being able to help at all.
My heart is at pain each time I sit down to write a reporting
respect of the distribution of the aid being received for the
refuges and orphans. I
am forced to write lies.
My reports do not reflect the truth. I am doing the opposite
of what I am supposed to be representing here.
I was sent to serve civilization and the manner in which I am
working is pure treason.
My conscience is torturing me and I stay awake whole nights.”
“My health has deteriorated, and everything appears pitch black
around me. I submitted
my resignation repeatedly but it was not accepted.
I requested at least some leave to go till Constantinople
just on the off chance I could convince someone there…but even in
this I was unsuccessful.
I would rather not doing this job…the savings I have back
home, along with those of my brother’s, are enough to live on.
I would give away my income from Near East Relief.”
“I would like to get out of this moral dead-end that I find myself
embroiled in and find myself free back in America so that I can
write to the newspapers and call out to the whole world the real
truth. I would not at
all hesitate to rescind in writing all the contents of my reports in
regards to the distribution of the aid, from America destined for
the destitute whilst in reality being held back by the Turkish
authorities who would allow a few crumbs for the orphans.”
“I would like to tell all that I wrote lies against my will”.
Mr. Right, the director of the American orphanage in Malateia
stated: “ It appears that civilised nations have difficulty in
imagining the atrocities of the Turks and they can not comprehend
the huge degree of crimes they are committing.
“If they could see them with their own eyes, they would agree that
they surpass even those of tigers and hyenas, because even these
animals, when they are satisfied, remain inactive, but the Turks are
insatiable in crimes and bestialities.
23. Paphra or Pafra: A
city of 11000 inhabitants at the borders of Pontus and Paphlagonia
on the right shores of the Ales river.
It is 48km distant from Amisus (Samsun) and 12 kms away from
the small harbour of Koumtsugaz.
The port of Paphra was one of the most productive of the
Pontic shores. In 1921
there were 360 villages surrounding it with a population of 90000 of
whom 45% were Greek, both Turkish and Greek speaking.
Many would come from the interior to trade there.
In the last years the Greek language was widely taught in the
area’s schools. (Geography of Asia Minor, Kontogiannis, pages
24. Phatsa or Fatsa (or Phadisane or Vadisane): Population 3000.
Was established by people whop came from Argaroupolis and it
was eight hours from Kotuora (Ordou).
Many also came from Tokat and Oinoe. From the time that the
Moslem Georgians came (Kiourtsides) from Russia agriculture and
business also flourished.
(Kontogiannis, page 82)
25. Oinoe (Ounia):
Population 10000 evenly split between Greeks and Turks.
Built in the middle of a small bay and was very beautiful.
In the olden days it boasted 100 sailing ships but with the
inception of steam ships its shipbuilding industry, which
constructed 25 sailing boats per year died.
Eight kilometers south on an escarpment called Kale-koy were
the ruins of a Byzantine fortress.
In Greek literary tradition it was the Fortress of Orias and
it dominated over Oinoe bay.
During the Byzantine era it was a port for Neocaesaria of the
Comninoi and for the rest of Asia Minor.
In the period of the Comninoi of Trapezounta (Trbizond) it
was considered to be the most beautiful region of the state.
26. Ordou (Kotyora): In 1921 its population was 13000 of whom 5oo
Turks, 5500 Greeks and 2500 Armenians.
It lies in a beautiful bay and rising above it to 450m is
Pez-Tepe hill. Its
built amphitheatrically and makes a nice sight.
It was a very productive place producing beans, cannabis,
maize, wool, walnuts, linen-seeds, grains, rice, wax, eggs, apples
and many more. It
imported very few things and many steam ships would come there to
Ordou is a Turkish word and it means military camp.
Since the 15th century when it was established it has served
as a starting point for military operations.
The entire district of Kotyora had a population of 100000.
Kotyora was a colony of Sinope and one can see the ruins of the old
city to its west about half an hour’s way.
It is known from Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great where we told his
thousands stayed here for 45 days.
Later they were part of Mithridate’s Kingdom.
27. The so-called ‘Amele Tambourou’ were work legions, which were
established by the Turks at the instruction of Germans with a view
to exterminate Hellenism from Asia Minor.
G. Lampsides in his book ‘Topal Asman’ talks extensively about it.
An excerpt states “The Turkish General Staff, with suggestions from
German experts and advisers issued the famous order for the
establishment of the ‘Amele Tambourou’ to which all disarmed Greek
soldiers and those eligible for conscription were sent to.
And here commences a tragedy”
28. Alys River (in Turkish Kizil-Irmak=Red River).
It is the largest river of Asia Minor, with a length of 1151
kms. Its sources are in
the so-called Little Armenia between Pontus and Cappadocia.It passes
through central Asia Minor and then turns north into the Black Sea
near Bafra. It passes
50km east of Ankara. It
can take river-boats and is characterized as the Nile of Asia Minor.
Its path divides large areas and till Byzantine times served as a
borderline for defense as well as for the commencement of military
campaigns. As a natural border it divides Asia Minor into two.
The western part according to Herodotus was called Asia
within Alyos. This area
was in earlier times populated by the Bithynians, Paphlagonians,
Phrygians, Mysians, Trojans, Lydians, Careans, Lycians and Greek
emigrant Aeolians, Ionians and Dorians.
In the eastern area, which, was called ‘upper Alyos Asia’
lived the Cappadocians and the Cilicians.
Strabo also wrote about the name of the river- Many historical
instances are linked to the river.
At 585 BC there was a battle between the Lycians and Perians.
At that time, Thales of Militu’s prediction of a solar
eclipse occurred at that time.
Lydia’s Kind Alyates made peace with his opponent King
Kyaxares of the Medes with the mediation of the King of Cilicia
Syeneses and Nebuchadnezar of the Babylonians.
The Kings making peace established the course of the river as
the border between their territories.
Later, in 546 BC, Croesus received an oracle from Delphi stating:
“Croesus crossing the Alys will capture a great power”, however when
he crossed the river in order to defeat his enemy Cyrus, he was
defeated and caught prisoner.
Cyrus treated him magnanimously saving his life and set him
free eventually. When Croesus returned home to his Kingdom of Lydia
he sent representatives to Delphi to accuse it of deception and
dedicate to them as a gift the handcuffs with him Cyrus had manacled
him. The priests on
their side, apart from responding with some wise excuses
characteristically replied: “ it was your fault, as fate can not be
escaped” (Herodotus, Histories book 10, chapter 91)
29. Amaseia: Capital of
the district by the same name, 70kms south of Amisus (Samsoun).
It is 345km distant from Ankara.
It is the homeland of the historian Strabo (65BC to 23 AD)
who often refers to the geography of the area.
It is considered even to this day as one of the most
beautiful cities of Asia Minor.
It has an excellent climate and has a population of 30000.
There are notable royal tombs there and a mosque of Vayiazit
II. On coins from the
Roman period it is referred to as the Metropolis of Pontus or the
1st City of Pontus. In
1915 90000 Greeks were exiled from this area.
At that time Greek guerillas went into the surrounding
mountains to defend the Greek element.
By 1917 the expulsions took the form of extermination.
After the armistice there was a period of abatement but with
the creation of the Kemal Attaturk movement the expulsions
recommenced even more strongly and eventually led to the
It was in Amaseia where the Court of Independence of the Turks
operated and which condemned many Greeks to death by hanging.
30. Amisus (Samsun): A city on the north coast of Asia Minor.
Build close to modern Samsun, which is a significant Black
Sea port. In ancient
times it lay between the rivers Irid and Ales.
According to Strabo it was a colony of the Milesians but from
a later report we are told that it was established by the
Phoekeians. In the 5th
century BC it was captured by Athens and they renamed it Piraeus.
Later it was captured by the Persians but Alexander the great
reclaimed it for the Greeks.
When the Kingdom of Pontus was established, Mithridates the
6th, the Eupator (132-63 BC) favoured it a lot, expanded it and
renamed it Eupatoria.
In 64BC it was captured by Pompeii and incorporated into the Roman
Empire. It continued
being a significant port during the Byzantine period and it was
captured by the Seljuk Turks in the 12th century – they named it
Sampson or Samsoun by corruption of its old name.
The Turks made it into a seat of an independent government.
The old city declined and a new city was developed along the
coast. This development
was due to the influx of many Europeans, Armenians and Turkish
speaking Orthodox. From
a population of 35000, 18000 were Greeks.
Expulsions of Greeks commenced in 1909 and became more
intense with the Balkan wars (Ed: 1912) and later with the rise of
Kemal Attaturk. It is
estimated that 4500 lost their lives.
31. The Hymn was
written by Miss F.R.Havergal (1836-1879) and was translated into
Greek by Iphegeneia Egyptiades.
The first three verses were also translated into Turkish in
1899 and was sued by Turkish speaking Greeks and Armenians in Asia
The Life was given for me
Thy blood, O Lord, was shed
That I might ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead.
Thy life was given for me:
What hast thou brought to me?
Long ears were spent for me
In weariness and woe,
That through eternity
Thy glory I might know.
Long years were spent for me:
Have I spend one for Thee?
Thy Father’s home of light,
Thy rainbow-circled throne,
Were left for earthly night,
For wanderings sad and lone.
Yea, all was left for me:
Have I left aught for Thee?
Thou, Lord, has borne for me
More than my tongue can tell
Of bitterest agony,
To rescue me from hell.
Thou sufferedst all for me:
What have I borne for Thee?
And thou has brought to me,
Down from Thy home above,
Salvation full and free,
Thy pardon and Thy love.
Great gifts Thou broughtest me
What have I brought to Thee?
Oh, let my life be given,
My years for Thee be spent,
World-fetters all be riven,
And the joy with suffering bent:
To Thee my all I bring
My Saviour and my King!