|St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna and Those With Him |
(Feast Day - Sunday Before the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross)
Chrysostomos surrendered his soul with his fellow initiates,
Offering himself to the people and soldiers as a sacrifice.
Protomartyr Chrysostomos was wickedly sacrificed,
Followed by the evil death of the multitude of fellow contestants.
According to encyclical number 2556/5-7-1993 of the Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, this feast of Saint Chrysostomos of Smyrna, Saint Ambrose of Moschonisia, Saint Prokopios of Iconium, Saint Gregory of Kydonia, Saint Euthymios of Zilon, and the Holy Clergy and Laity Massacred During the Asia Minor Catastrophe, will be celebrated every year on the Sunday before the Exaltation of the Honorable and Life-Giving Cross.
Saint Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Smyrna (1910 - 1922)
The ethnomartyr Chrysostomos Kalaphatis was born in Triglia along the Marmara Sea in 1867. The parents of Chrysostomos were Nikolaos Kalaphatis and Kalliopi Lemonidos. The couple had eight children, four boys and four girls. There survived from the boys the firstborn Evgenios (born in 1865) and Chrysostomos. Evgenios stood by his younger brother throughout the duration of his turbulent life and eventually followed him in martyrdom. Nikolaos Kalaphatis had knowledge of Ottoman law and represented his fellow citizens in the Turkish courts. He even loved ecclesiastical music and was familiar with the common, which is why he was chosen for eldership of the municipality. His wife Kalliopi was a pious woman. She dedicated Chrysostomos to the Panagia on the day of Theophany in 1868, when the Metropolitan of Prousas visited Triglia. The Kalaphatis couple, despite their moderate income situation, carefully raised their children. The first teachers of Chrysostomos in Triglia were Archimandrite and later Metropolitan Ioannikios for ecclesiastical matters, Gazis for Greek, Christophoros Moumouzis for Turkish, Nikolaos Hatzichrysafis for French and Papa-Theodosis for ecclesiastical music.
Chrysostomos studied at Halki Theological School (1884 - 1891) and served as Archdeacon to Metropolitan Constantine Valiadis of Mytilene, who became Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine V (1897). He served then as chancellor of the Great Church and in 1902 he was ordained by Patriarch Joachim III as the Metropolitan of Drama (1902 - 1910). His struggles against Bulgarian propaganda and his stimulation of national feelings annoyed the Sublime Porte, who demanded of the Patriarchate his immediate withdrawal (1907). It was a bitter separation from his flock and he retired to Triglia in the hopes of returning to the Metropolis of Drama, which was made possible in 1908 with the adoption of the new Turkish constitution. The enthusiastic reception accorded to him by the people of Drama was associated with the exacerbation of the national struggle, which is why the Sublime Porte saw him as a threat to public order. He was withdrawn again from the Metropolis of Drama (January 20, 1909) and retired again to Triglia until he was transferred to the Metropolis of Smyrna (March 11, 1910).
At the Metropolis of Smyrna he continued his national struggle, organizing a multi-municipal rally denouncing the violence of the Bulgarians in Macedonia against the Greeks, the support of Turkish authorities to Bulgarian propaganda, and the general oppression of the Sublime Porte against the Greeks of the Ottoman state. The Turkish authorities of the area were alarmed and succeeded in removing him from the Metropolis of Smyrna (1914), to which he returned after the Armistice of Mudros (1918). During the Greek administration of Smyrna (1919 - 1922), he served as an undeniable ethnarch of the Greeks of Asia Minor and the inspired leader of the "Asia Minor Defense" for the creation of an autonomous state in the event of losing the Greek army. But the collapse of the Asia Minor front (August 1922) disappointed the ambitious Metropolitan, who denounced the plans of the Great Powers to remove the Greek element from Asia Minor. The Turkish invasion of Smyrna was the test of his national vision. He refused to abandon his people, despite the pressure of the consuls of England and France. On August 27, 1922 he was arrested by the Turkish commandant of the city, Nureddin Pasha, following the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Saint Photini, and surrendered to an angry Turkish mob. After being horrifically tortured he achieved martyrdom. The exponent of national aspirations was the most tragic symbol of the activities of the Nation. His two volume work On the Church and his articles in the periodicals Ekklesiastiki Aletheia and Ieros Polykarpos and all his preaching activities highlight the ethnomartyr Hierarch as a sublime spiritual figure.
At the martyrdom of the Metropolitan there were twenty French Marines in attendance, whose reaction was described by the French writer René Puaux (La mort de Smyrne , Paris 1922):
"A French patrol numbering twenty men, whom I accompanied, together with another militiaman, started at once for the Metropolis, to ask Mgr. Chrysostomos to seek refuge at the Sacre-Coaur or at the French Consulate-General. Mgr. Chrysostomos declined this offer; being a shepherd he said he had to stay with his flock. The patrol was just going away when a carriage with an officer and two Turkish soldiers with fixed bayonets, stopped in front of the Metropolis. The officer walked up to the Metropolitan and ordered him to go along with him to the Army Commander, Nureddin Pasha. When I saw them taking the Metropolitan away, I advised the patrol to follow the carriage. We came in front of the Great Barracks where Nureddin Pasha was staying. The Metropolitan was taken up into his presence by the accompanying officer. Ten minutes later, he walked down the stairs. At the same moment Nureddin Pasha came on to the balcony of the building and speaking to some ten or fifteen hundred Moslems, assembled in the square, declared that he was 'giving the Metropolitan unto them' and added: 'If he has done good to you, do good to him; if he has done harm to you, do harm to him.' The mob took possession of Mgr. Chrysostomos and carried him away.
A little further on, in front of the shop of an Italian hairdresser, named Ismail, and an Italian protege, they stopped and the Metropolitan was slipped into a white hairdresser's overall. Then they began to beat him with their fists and sticks and to spit on his face. They riddled him with stabs. They tore his beard off, they gouged his eyes out, they cut his nose and ears off.
It is to be noted that the French patrol watched the scene up to that moment. The men were beside themselves and were trembling with indignation and wished to interfere, but, acting in conformity with orders received, the officer forbade them to move at the point of the revolver.
Afterwards we lost sight of the Metropolitan. They dealt him a final blow further on."
Mr. Rene Puaux's narrative was confirmed by a member of the French Chamber of Deputies, Mr. Edouard Soulier, at the sitting of the 27th of October. Mr. Soulier said that "the Greek Metropolitan was taken into the Turkish district, quartered there and thrown to the dogs."
Saint Ambrose, Metropolitan of Moschonisia (? - September 15, 1922)
Saint Ambrose studied at the Theological School of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and at the Theological Academy of Kiev. He was a parish priest in many Greek communities of the Crimea (Feodosia, Simferopol, Sevastopol). In 1913 he was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Metropolis of Smyrna titled Xanthoupolis, replacing the exiled Metropolitan during World War I. In 1919 he was used as the Patriarchal Exarch of Moschonisia (Ayvalık Islands). During the Asia Minor Catastrophe he was buried alive by the Turks together with nine Priests in a pit outside the city of Kydonia (September 15, 1922).
Saint Prokopios Lazarides, Metropolitan of Iconium (1911 - 1923)
He was the former Bishop of Amphipolis (1894 - 1899) and Dyrrachium (1899 - 1906) and Philadelphia (1906 - 1911). He also was among the ethnohieromartyrs of those years.
There were particular conditions for this. The Young Turks were trying to organize a Turkish Orthodox Church independent from the Patriarchate, using only the Turkish language. For this purpose they pressured Priests to join in this effort. They failed. Particularly in Anatolia - the depths of Asia Minor - they trapped the Orthodox and submitted them to terrible injuries until they seceded from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Three Hierarchs, headed by Metropolitan Prokopios of Iconium, were forced to make arbitrary and uncanonical ordinations of bishops, so that their relations would break with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and arbitrarily empower themselves independently in the Turkish Orthodox Synod. Amid this overpowering of the shepherds and their flock, as well as the desperate cries of the people, Metropolitan Prokopios delivered his spirit to the Great High Priest and Savior Christ, fighting and sympathizing with the Greek Christians of Anatolia.
Saint Gregory, Metropolitan of Kydonia (22 July 1908 - 3 October 1922)
Formerly he served as Metropolitan of Tiberiopolis and Stromnitsis (12 October 1902 - 22 July 1908). His secular name was Anastasios Antoniadis or Saatsoglou and, according to his own dubbing, Orologas.
He was born in Magnesia of Asia Minor in 1864. As a preacher he was among the first to use the demotic language in his sermons. In the three metropolises he served he zealously worked for the success of Greek national laws, and he especially worked with Metropolitan Chrysostomos Kalaphatis of Drama (1902 - 1910), the later ethnomartyr Metropolitan of Smyrna (1910 - 1922). On October 12, 1902 he was ordained Metropolitan in the great province, according to national interests, of Tiberiopolis and Stromnitsis, where he not only struggled against the Turks, but especially against the Bulgarian revolutionary committee, whose members tried several times to assassinate him (1905). The Turkish government, when informed of the national actions of Gregory, forced the Ecumenical Patriarchate to remove Gregory, transferring him to the newly created Metropolis of Kydonia on June 22, 1908, where Gregory continued his national actions. In 1918 the Turks accused him of treason, he was tried twice in the Military Courts of Smyrna, convicted and imprisoned. After his release (October 16, 1918) and the occupation of Kydonia by the Greek military (May 19, 1919), Gregory did not withdraw from his province, for reasons which often put him in conflict with the High Commissioner in Smyrna Aristides Stergiadis.
After the departure of the Greek political and military authorities from Kydonia, Gregory, in a meeting with the elders of the municipality, suggested the departure of the residents of Kydonia and their transfer to Mytilene in order to escape massacre from the Turks. Unfortunately his suggestions were not accepted. So the plight of the residents of Kydonia began on August 22, 1922 when a wild Turkish army massacred near the town of Franeli on the Adramyttian Coast 4,000 Greek residents of Kydonia. Metropolitan Gregory, despite the humiliation he suffered by the Turkish authorities, visited them and campaigned to save and feed his flock. When he was informed on September 15th of the massacre of Metropolitan Ambrose of Moschonisia and 6,000 residents by the Turks, Gregory struggled in a superhuman fashion and was able to get the consent of the Turks to bring Greek ships from Mytilene with American flags, and with the guarantee of the American Red Cross to receive 20,000 of the 35,000 residents of Kydonia.
Gregory refused to be separated from his flock and on September 30th the Turks arrested him and imprisoned him. He was horribly tortured in prison and on October 3rd, together with other Priests and notables of Kydonia who were also arrested, he was killed.
Saint Euthymios, Metropolitan of Zilon (1912 - 1921)
Euthymios Agritelis, born in 1876, was the Bishop of Zilon from 1912 to 1921. A monk of the Sacred Monastery of Leimonas, he graduated Halki Theological School and then became a teacher and preacher in Lesvos and chancellor in the Metropolis of Mithymnis. On June 12, 1912 he was ordained Metropolitan of Zilon. As Bishop he undertook great religious and national action. When his actions became known to the Kemalist Turks, he was arrested and imprisoned together with other notables of the province of Amaseia on January 21, 1921. By request, he asked the Kemalist government in Ankara to only consider him guilty and release the others who were arrested. Indeed, he apologized in front of the court with a wonderful speech. In prison he was tortured, from which he died on May 29, 1921. Even after his death he was convicted by the Turkish court!
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Great Martyr of the Church, great hero of the universal nation, we sing to Chrysostomos of Smyrna. He bravely endured as an athlete for the country and faith till death. He revealed himself as an exemplary Hierarch, receiving an incorruptible crown.
Another Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The struggles of the chorus of five Hierarchs, were noetic torches noetically illuminating all of Asia Minor, the wise Chrysostomos, Gregory the divine, together with Ambrose, Prokopios and Euthymios, and we the faithful extol you: Rejoice Martyrs, the assembly of five.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.