Thomas Cosmades







by M. Thavoritis

Athens 1985

(Translated into English by Philip Panayiotides-Djaferis)



A martyr of the Greek Asia Minor tragedy




I’ve 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.  

At that 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 Turks.

 After 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.

 All 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.

 Iakovos, 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.

 We 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…

 Whoever 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 consumed.

 As 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.

 The ‘group’2 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.

 So, 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?’

 Iakovos, even though rather surprised, immediately answered affirmatively.  The American introduced himself; ‘My name is Kelsy and I was a friend and co-worker3 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’.

 Really, from the next day, Iakovos became manager of the military YMCA serving British soldiers, offering them tea, other refreshments, foodstuffs etc.

 This 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 Kioupouroglou5 would make sure to stir in extra milk and sugar, products that we were deprived of during the occupation.

 The 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.

 Now 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 was born.

 In 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.

 P.P. 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.

 Today, 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’ (Proverbs 12:3)


M. Thavoritis,

Marousi, 1984





It is 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 Greeks.

 There 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.

 All 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…

 How 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 manner…

 For 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.

 The 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)

 The 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 privileges… 

For all 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 Paperback Library)

*The 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 of Smyrna7.

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 surrounding him.

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 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 Merzifoun (Merzifon)9 from where he graduated on 6 May 1903.




Paul Pavlides


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 land…

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 (Talas)10 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 time.

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 real crime…

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 that…

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 Asia Minor).

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 Christ.

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 Christianity.

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 faith.

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 Turkish language.


His Wedding:

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 Bouldouri15.  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 life.

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 Evangelical teaching.

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 necessities.

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 of Independence.

He was martyred along with another 68 Greeks amongst whom was the Evangelical Dimitris Theocharidis, professor of Greek at the Merzifoun College.

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 reliable informants.  

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 faith.

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. 19

Give me your Spirit Lord
now that I’m praying with a bowed head
Send 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 saved me

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 condemned Armenians.

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 religion.

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 Armenian inhabitants.21,

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, Fatsa25, Oenoe (Ünye or Ounia)26, Ordu27, 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’ 28.  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 Ottomans).

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 29(called 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 her hip. 

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 Amaseia30.  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 United States.


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 captives. 

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 200 years…

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 courageous determination.

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 carin emou). 

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 behind’. 

The answer that the Turks received deserves to be repeated here with all detail.

‘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 brotherhood.

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 Thessaloniki. 

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 the saved.

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 a group.

3  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 (Pontus)

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 my father’

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 for the Greek War of Independence and emergence of a purified form of the Greek language, known as Katharevousa. The 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 philosophy, literacy and 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 those translations.

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 Pericles.

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 canonization.

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 feet/820 meters   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 Marsovan…


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 neighborhoods.  Moutalaski is also the birthplace of St. Savvas the blessed who died in AD532.

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 also going to their schools.

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 209).

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 deaths.

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 stated:

 “I 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 barbarians.”

“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 82-83).

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 port.

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 destruction.

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 Minor.


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!








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