April 11, 2019
I have long studied history, but it was not until after my undergraduate days that I, as a second-generation member of the Greek Orthodox diaspora in the United States, stumbled upon a historical bombshell, one that had been crucial in affecting so many Greeks and yet was not widely discussed here in the US, even among the more recent generations of the diaspora families that were impacted. I refer to the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1922.
You might now be thinking, just what was the Asia Minor Catastrophe?
I will start with some basics, knowing that this essay might be read by some who are of Greek ancestry and many who are not. Perhaps we can start with everyone’s knowledge of the first century AD, and the spread of Christianity in the eastern Mediterranean. You perhaps know of the large Asia Minor land mass which was crucial in much of the early Christian missionary activity described in the Acts of the Apostles. Further, the seven early churches mentioned in Revelation (Smyrna and others) were all in Asia Minor. It was a Greek-populated area of the Roman Empire. There were no Turks there at all.
And yet now the entirety of Asia Minor is coterminous with the nation of Turkey, where the population is Turkish and the religion is Muslim. The city and town names are all different. What happened?
...Read the rest at Monomakhos.