September 6, 2021

When the Turks Burnt Bishop Gerasimos of Pamphilus Alive During the Septemvriana of 1955

Bishop Gerasimos Kalokairinos of Pamphilus was the abbot of the Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring in Baloukli. In the events of September (Septemvriana) 1955, the Turks dug a pit and lit a fire and burned him alive and, thinking that he was dead, they abandoned him, alone, helpless and defenseless, but with God's help he managed to reach the Greek Hospital of Baloukli where he stayed for more than a month, but he had lost his eye that the Turks had removed from him. Bishop Gerasimos Kalokairinos passed away in 1972, his grave is in the Baloukli Cemetery.

The Istanbul pogrom, also known as the Istanbul riots or September events (Greek: Septemvriana), comprises organized mob attacks directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The pogrom was orchestrated by the governing Democratic Party in Turkey in cooperation with various security organizations. The events were triggered by the fake news that the day before, Greeks had bombed the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki — the house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had been born in 1881. A bomb planted by a Turkish usher at the consulate, who was later arrested and confessed, incited the events. The Turkish press, conveying the news in Turkey, was silent about the arrest and instead insinuated that Greeks had set off the bomb.
Before these events there were 130,000 Greeks in Istanbul, after less than 20,000 remained, the rest fleeing mainly to Greece.