Pontian genocide: Melbourne’s Greeks remember 103 years since the massacre and uprooting of the population

This Thursday 19 May is the official Pontic Greek Genocide Remembrance Day, as ratified by the Greek Parliament in 1994 as a permanent annual day to commemorate the uprooting and massacre of the Greek Pontians.

The genocide of the Pontian Greeks refers to the violent massacres and executions that took place from 1913-1922 during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.

In memory of this national catastrophe, Pontians in Australia have staged many events across the country to commemorate the massacres, forced deportations, death marches, evictions, executions and the attempt to destroy their Orthodox cultural, historical and religious monuments. The events are also a symbol of strength that, despite the tragedies that took place on the coasts of Asia Minor, Pontians can never be enslaved or wiped out of history.

Inside the church service for the annual memorial. Photo: Kostas Deves
Community members in traditional Pontian costume at the monument. Photo: Kostas Deves
Melbourne Greek Community President Bill Papastergiadis lays a wreath in memory of the victims of the genocide. Photo: Kostas Deves
Sophia and Roma Siahou lay a wreath. Photo: Kostas Deves
Victoria’s Greek Consul Emmanuel Kakavelakis, center, among distinguished guests and community leaders. Photo: Kostas Deves
A young girl in traditional costume at the monument. Photo: Kostas Deves
A young girl from St John’s College offers flowers at the Pontian Genocide Memorial. Photo: Kostas Deves

On Sunday 15 May, the Melbourne Coordinating Memorial Committee of the Pontian Genocide, under the auspices of the Pontian Federation Associations of Australia, hosted a service at St Euftathios in South Melbourne, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Greco-Australian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

On Thursday 19 May, on the day of remembrance, Neos Cosmos will produce a special feature in its print edition commemorating this dark and world-changing event.

On the same day, the Greek center on Lonsdale Street in the heart of Melbourne will be bathed in red light to honor the victims of the genocide. The gesture was funded by anonymous donors.

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