By Menios Papadimitriou
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America offered a Trisagion Service for the victims of the Pontic Genocide yesterday following the Alumni Divine Liturgy at Hellenic College Holy Cross’ Memorial Chapel.
May 19th is marked as Pontic Greek Genocide (1916-2923) Remembrance Day. It commemorates the systematic killing of Greeks who lived on the shores of the Black Sea during World War I and the subsequent Greco-Turkish War. The day was officially recognized by the Greek state on February 24, 1994, when Parliament unanimously voted to establish May 19 as the day of remembrance of the genocide of the Greeks of Pontos.
Records kept mainly by priests show a minimum of 350,000 Pontian Greeks were exterminated by paramilitary groups. Other sources including foreign missionaries mention 500,000 deaths, most through deportation and forced marches into the Anatolian desert.
Greek cities including Pafra, Samsous, Kerasous, and Trapezounta endured massacres and deportations that destroyed their populations. The Genocide signaled the end of Pontos in its historic homeland, which held a sizable Greek population and culture that existed for centuries. Entire villages and cities were devastated, while thousands were forced to flee to neighboring countries.
Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America