The persecutions of the Greek Orthodox populations in Asia Minor
through the eyes of Chrysostom of Smyrna.
The victory of the Young Turks Movement, the Balkan wars and the beginning of the First world war triggered a series of political changes in the Ottoman Empire that caused widespread persecutions, population exterminations and exchanges, which, in the historical context of the transition of the Empire to the Turkish Republic, led finally to the genocide of the Christian populations of the Empire.
Chrysostom Kalafatis, Metropolitan of Smyrna, a personality actively implicated in the National Question since the time he was Metropolitan of Drama, tried to forewarn the political and religious authorities of the Greek-orthodox populations both in Athens and Constantinople, that the National Schism could be fateful for the Greek-Orthodox population, promoting the idea that Greece should line up with the Entente against the Ottoman Empire. In his correspondences both with Venizelos and the King Constantinos, Chrysostom described explicitly the persecutions of the Orthodox population.
In order to fully understand the nature of the role played by Chrysostom, we propose a study of a series of both Chrysostom’s of Smyrna unpublished archives and his published study “The persecution of Christians of the Ottoman Empire”. Through the interpretation of these original documents, we aim to thoroughly investigate the data and facts, which, according to Chrysostom, led to the upcoming genocide of the Christian populations of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, my paper attempts to broaden the field of research in two ways: on one hand by bringing to light unpublished archival material, which could contribute to further interpretation of this critical period and, on the other hand, by adding to the contemporary academic and public discussion around the genocide question, through the analysis of protagonists’ perception of the concept of genocide.