Stephan Efendi of Zinjidere
The Unknown Story of
Stephanos I. Sirinides
He Left His Mark on a Remote Corner of Cappadocia
By Thomas Cosmades
“But there was found in it (a little city) a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man” (Ecclesiastes 9:15). Regrettably, there are many forgotten poor wise men. Their wisdom could have benefited whole cities and innumerable individuals, but the contribution that these men could have offered went unrecognized. The elderly preacher, Stephan Efendi, from a distant corner of Anatolia, is the subject of our story. His life both informs and edifies. He faithfully labored for his Master a century ago and left his mark, though little known. The account of his life could have easily been buried in the annals of history. We are convinced that by introducing his exciting story into the pool of resources many young pastors, missionaries and teachers who inconspicuously serve the same Lord will be enriched.
During the past few decades, Turkey (Anatolia) has been in the limelight of activity for the Savior of all people. Hundreds of proclaimers of Good Tidings from many countries have been motivated to spread Christ’s message all the way from the main metropolises to the remotest hamlets in this historic land. Many Christians have read the illustrious stories of mighty followers of Christ, such as Polycarp of Smyrna, John Chrysostom, Cyril Lucaris (Reformed Patriarch of Constantinople), and other luminaries. These people have left their impact on others who wanted to follow in their train. There is also the vivid story of Henry Martyn, whose body awaits the glorious resurrection morn in Tokat. Rev. Charles H. Wheeler of Harput and Miss Myra A. Proctor of Aintab also left their mark on the advance of evangelism in this land. Countless other notables have indelibly imprinted their tracks on our minds.
The brief life story of Stephanos Sirinides will elucidate contemporary laborers in this same land. Although a lesser luminary, he was a hero in the sight of Christ, who is no respecter of persons. Old blessings, trials and temptations are laid bare before us. Some of these are being duplicated in our day. Stephanos was a person who enriched his region with the unexcelled message of Christ. Today Stephan Efendi’s progeny can be found in many lands. During visits and ministry in several countries I had the joy of meeting his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, becoming close friends of some of this extended family. Utilizing the account of one of his sons, my wife and I wrote this story with the hope that it will be of tangible benefit to his own descendents and to many others who have an interest in Turkey.