A memorial service was held at the historic Church of All Saints in the center of Moscow in memory of the victims of the Genocide of the Greeks of Pontus and Asia Minor, at the initiative of the priest of the Greek parish, Sergio Zvonariov.
The head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, presided over the service along with many priests. The ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus, Katerina Nasiros and Andreas Zinonos, and supporters of the Hellenic Association of Moscow led by its president Christos Tachtsidis attended the service.
The Metropolitan of Volokolamsk called on those present to pray together “for the victims of the massacre of the peaceful populations of Pontus and Asia Minor, which as a bleeding wound remains in the hearts of those who identify with the Greek people and culture” and reminded that the Christian peoples, who lived in the territory of the Ottoman Empire, suffered terrible trials”.
“First of all, the Greek population of Pontus suffered. The atrocities committed against them are shocking in their extent and brutality. It was a real genocide. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people, old people and children, men and women, indigenous people of the area were killed. ” said the Russian hierarch, who handles, among other things, the Russian Church’s diplomacy.
“The Russian Orthodox Church together with the Greek people keeps the memory of the prayer for the victims of Pontus and Asia Minor. The memory of the unfortunate civilians, those who were expelled from their ancestral homes, will always ring like a bell in our hearts, without allowing, in the futility of life, to forget the tragic pages of the past. We express our solidarity with the Greek people, we maintain the belief that the Lord will wipe away every tear and turn sorrow into joy because Christ has risen and will reunite us with Him”, concluded Metropolitan Hilarion in his speech, while previously they prayed not only for those who martyred in the 20th century, but also for the last emperor of Byzantium, Constantine Palaiologos, and the victims of the Fall of Constantinople.