On August 31, 1922, Kemal’s army wanted to destroy everything Greek that existed in the capital of Ionia. Smyrna is burning.
The burning of the Ionian capital is one of the many crimes against humankind and civilization committed by the Turks during their history.
The protagonist of the Asia Minor tragedy was a venerable hierarch from Triglia, Bithynia. The Metropolitan emerges from the ashes of Smyrna.
Despite the fact that he knew that he would be the first victim of the vengeful fury of the Turkish Çetes, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna refused to leave his flock. Addressing the Catholic Archbishop of Smyrna, who told him he should flee from the Ionian capital, he replied with these words:
“It is the tradition of the Greek clergy and an obligation of the good shepherd that stipulate to stay with his flock. I cannot follow you.” The end of other hierarchs in Asia Minor was equally tragic: Gregory of Kydonies, whom the Turks buried alive, and Ambrosios of Moschonisia.
On the waterfront, thousands of Smyrnaeans, mostly old men and women, are gathering on the beach of the capital of Hellenism in Asia Minor. Behind them the Turkish soldiers and the flames, in front of them the sea. No help from anyone, from nowhere. The tragedy at its peak.
There are 1.5 million refugees from Asia Minor who sought salvation by taking refuge in Greece, which they loved so much and adored for centuries.
While the dream of the people of Asia Minor was to see Greece coming close to them, they lived to tell the nightmare of refuge in 1922. They were forced to leave the land where they had shed their blood and sweat. They were forced to give up the result of their efforts and toils.
These images are to remind the generations of Greeks that the Greek community until 1922 was located on both shores of the Aegean. On the sandy beaches of Homer epic and lyrical poetry was born. It was on the shores of Asia Minor that man first created philosophy.
There, in the beautiful states of Ionia and Aeolia, the Greek craftsman made the glorious Ionian rhythm. The seven stars of Revelation are placed in the mystical east. Giorgos Seferis, Ilias Venezis, Stratis Myrivilis, Dido Sotiriou and so many others who spread the modern Greek culture come from there.
Asia Minor, Pontus, Eastern Thrace, Constantinople, Smyrna will always be the unforgettable homelands of the Greeks.
Source: Estia Neas Smirnis