The Greek Teachers Association "Prometheus", the Federation of Hellenic-American Educators & Cultural Associations of America and the Pan Pontian Federation of the United States and Canada held their First Symposium on Sunday, February 17th, in the Library of St. Demetrios School of the St. Demetrios Cathedral of Astoria. The Symposium celebrated the Three Hierarchs Greek Letters Day, the World Day of Greek Language and commemoration of the 100 Year Anniversary of the Pontian and Asia Minor Genocide.
Related: The Assyrian Genocide
The Keynote speaker, Dr. Panos Stavrianidis spoke on "The Hellenic Genocide of Asia Minor." Professor Stavrianidis described the contribution of the Fathers of Greek Letters, the Three Hierarchs, who came from the Greek Christian Centers of Asia Minor. "The elimination of all Greek communities in Asia Minor and the Pontus (Black Sea coast) from 1915-1923 was the greatest catastrophe after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453," he explained. "The genocide was instigated by the national movement of Kemal Ataturk, backed by the Germans, who eliminated the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek population through massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, execution and destruction of the Eastern Orthodox cultural, historical and religious monuments." Demetris Molohides, President of the Pan-Pontian Federation of America & Canada, added "the Greek genocide began in 1913 with Thrace persecution. No one objected. Turkish aggression has continued during the past 100 years. Genocides must be written in History books. Consul General of Cyprus Alexis Phedonos-Vadet remarked: "that better days are coming to Cyprus." Dr. John Nathenas displayed and discussed a copy of the "Panagia Sumela" miraculous icon from the Sumela Monastery in the Pontus.