December 5, 2019

The Birthplace of Saint Savvas the Sanctified

About ten kilometers southeast from Caesarea in Cappadocia was the village of Moutalaski, today known as Talas. This is the village where Saint Savvas the Sanctified was born and raised. It had a majority Orthodox Christian population until the population exchange of 1923.

Saint Savvas lived with his father in this village until he was five years old, at which time his father had to go to Alexandria because he served as an officer in the army. He was left with his uncle Hermias and his aunt, but his aunt treated him terribly so he went to live with his uncle Gregory. This produced a violent clash between the two brothers over the care of their nephew and his estate, so Saint Savvas, being a devout Christian, entered the nearby Flavian Monastery (the Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner in Zintzintere) approximately three miles away when he was around eight years old. When he was eighteen his uncles resolved their differences and wanted to have their nephew married, but Saint Savvas fled his homeland for good and went to Jerusalem.

Probably the most notable figure of recent times to be born and raised in Moutalaski was Socrates Onassis, the father of Aristotle Onassis. Aristotle Onassis himself was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna. Socrates went on to become a successful shipping entrepreneur, which Aristotle later became famous for. In Talas today one can visit a restaurant named Onassis.

Flavian Monastery, now occupied by the Turkish army