September 21, 2015

Saint Platon Aivazidis (+ 1921)

St. Platon Aivazidis (Feast Day - September 21)

Saint Platon Aivazidis was born in Patmos in 1850 to poor and pious parents. At the age of fifteen he became a novice in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and graduated from Patmiada School.

In 1892 he became the Deacon and Chancellor of the Metropolitan of Lemnos and later studied in Constantinople. There he met the Metropolitan of Kastoria, Germanos Karavangelis, and became his Chancellor.

When Germanos became the Metropolitan of Amaseia (Amasya) in Pontus in 1908, Platon followed him. After Germanos was exiled, he served as an assistant to Metropolitan Euthymios. There he was accused by Turks for inciting a rebellion among the Greeks, and was imprisoned with 69 other Greeks.

On the night of September 20th till the morning of the 21st, Platon led the prisoners in an all-night vigil from the prison, chanting various hymns by memory and saying prayers. On Wednesday morning, as they were being led to the scaffold, he chanted "Come let us give each other a last embrace" from the funeral service, and at the gallows the head of the firing squad pinned to his cassock a document that said "Convicted to Death by Hanging." The 69 ethnomartyrs were lined up in two rows, and in the middle of the two rows the soldiers of Kemal separately set up a scaffold for Platon. Thus they were hanged on a bridge over the Iris River (mod. Yeşil River) on September 21, 1921.

Their bodies hung for one hour, and among them were teenagers of 16 and 17 and elders in their 70's, like Platon. They were then taken by cart outside of Amasya and buried collectively, "without incense, candles, priest or chanter." As the carts passed through Pontus, the few Greeks remaining watched with anguish and grief through their windows, making the sign of the Cross and whispering "Eternal Memory".

Metropolitan Germanos with his Chancellor Platon serving a Memorial Service at the grave of Pavlos Melas on the grounds of the Church of the Archangels in Kastoria in 1904.