Katsaniotis: 15,000 COVID-19 rapid tests were sent to the Greeks of Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos

Andreas Katsaniotis

In the context of his recent visit to Imvros and in collaboration with the Health Minister Thanos Plevris, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Hellenes Abroad, Andreas Katsaniotis, announced on social media new assistance to the Greeks of Turkey.

"In the context of my recent visit to Imvros and in collaboration with the Minister of Health Thanos Plevris, we sent 15,000 Rapid Tests to the Greeks of Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos," the Deputy Foreign Minister wrote on Twitter.

The Greek Orthodox chapels on Imvros, in today’s Turkey, are gradually being restored according to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew after many decades of neglect by the Turkish state.

The old chapel of St. Tryphon, located in the village of Schinoudi, reopened earlier this week following renovations.

“For us Imvrians, every renovation of a chapel is a source of gratitude to the God of love,” the Ecumenical Patriarch, who was born on Imvros, said in his speech.

“Our small homeland had about three hundred chapels, located in the mountains, on the slopes, on the plains, and on our beaches.

"Few of them escaped the catastrophe caused by the relentless 'Dissolution Plan' of 1964.

"Most were demolished, desecrated, turned into stables, disappeared from the face of the earth.

"Few survived, mainly those near or inside the settlements.”

READ MORE: Intense incident between Greek Coast Guard and Turkish fisherman off Imvros (VIDEO)

The Patriarch was referring to the “Eritme Program” or “Dissolution Program”, whose main goal was the de-Hellenization of the two Greek-populated islands of Imvros and Tenedos.

The Patriarch noted that in the last two decades, several dilapidated chapels have been renovated and rebuilt at Imvros.

He also referred to the life of St. Tryphon, who is especially honored by the Imvrians, as for centuries their main professions, as he said, were “agriculture and stock raising.”

READ MORE: PM and FM express support for the Greek minority on Imvros.

There are more than 800 Greek people living in Imvros today, while on Tenedos they do not exceed 30.

In 2013, 39 years after the abolition of the Greek language, the Turkish state approved the operation of a minority school on Imbros. Two years later, a Greek high school was established.

The Aghios Theodoros Greek school is located in the village of Zeytinli the birthplace of  Bartholomew, which was once home to a large Greek community.

READ MORE: Expatriate from Australia brings Greek life back to Imvros after decades of Turkish persecution.