The Tragic Lynching of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna: A Haunting Chapter in History

The Tragic Lynching of Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna

On September 10, 1922, a tragic event unfolded in Smyrna.

Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna, Chrysostomos Kalafatis, was apprehended and delivered to Nureddin Pasha, who surrendered him to a Turkish mob with malicious intentions.

The mob proceeded to cruelly and violently assault the bishop, dragging him through the streets, forcefully removing his beard, gouging out his eyes, repeatedly stabbing him, and ultimately dismembering his body. This horrifying incident left a lasting mark on history.

Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna

Early life

Kalafatis was born in Triglia, an important religious centre for Greek Orthodox Christians, during the Byzantine Empire in 1867. He was one of eight children born to Nikolaos and Kalliopi Lemonidos Kalafatis.

He studied at the Theological School of Halki starting at the age of 17 and, after graduating, served as Archdeacon to Konstantinos Valiadis, the then Metropolitan of Mytilene. Kalafatis served as chancellor and, in 1902, became the Metropolitan of Drama, a city in northeastern Greece.

His vocal nationalism caused the Sublime Porte to request his removal in 1907, and he eventually returned to Triglia. In 1910, Kalafatis became the Metropolitan of Smyrna.

His lynching

After the defeat and retreat of the Hellenic Army in August 1922, Chrysostomos denied the offer to leave the city and decided to stay.

On 10 September (Julian style – 27 August) 1922, soon after the Turkish army had moved into Smyrna, a Turkish officer and two soldiers took Chrysostomos from the office of the cathedral and delivered him to the Turkish commander-in-chief, Nureddin Pasha, the general who is said to have decided to hand him over to a Turkish mob who murdered him.

According to French soldiers who witnessed the lynching but were under strict orders from their commanding officer not to intervene: "The mob took possession of Metropolitan Chrysostom and carried him away… a little further on, in front of an Italian hairdresser named Ismail … they stopped, and the Metropolitan was slipped into a white hairdresser's overall. They beat him with their fists and sticks and spit on his face. They riddled him with stabs. They tore his beard off, they gouged his eyes out, they cut off his nose and ears."

Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna

Metropolitan Chrysostomos was survived by his nephews, among whom was Ioannis Elefteriades, who witnessed the arrest and execution of his uncle. He escaped as a refugee to Lebanon, where today his grandson Michel Elefteriades is a well-known Greek-Lebanese artist and producer.

Rare footage of the martyred Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna appeared online on the YouTube channel “Bahriye”. The footage begins with shots of Smyrna and the surrounding area, and the holy Hieromartyr is seen around the 1:25 minute mark.

READ MORE: Light of Byzantium: A Global Art Tradition.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply