UPPER DARBY, PA – The Pontian Society of Philadelphia Akritai held its annual commemoration of the Pontian Genocide on May 19 at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Upper Darby.
Community members, including the youth dressed in traditional Pontian costume, gathered according to the current safety protocols to attend the memorial service honoring the 353,000 killed in the Genocide. Rev. Gregory Gilbert, presiding priest of the St. Demetrios community, led the service.
Among those present was AHEPA Supreme President George G. Horiates just one day after releasing a statement from AHEPA calling on President Joseph Biden, Jr. to recognize the Greek Genocide, the systematic extermination of between one million and 1.5 million indigenous Greek minority of the Ottoman Empire.
As Horiates said in his statement, “This year, we commemorate the 102-year Pontian Greek Genocide as part of the larger Greek and Christian Genocide where hundreds of thousands of Pontian Greeks were murdered. More than one million more were forced to seek refuge in Greece as their homes and property were confiscated, not to mention the destruction of Greek Orthodox churches in the area. Ottoman Turkey endeavored to destroy Hellenism – its history, culture, and language. They will never be able to do so because their identity and heritage is ingrained in Pontos.”
More information on the Pontian Society Akritai of Philadelphia and their efforts to gain recognition for the Pontian Genocide is available on their Facebook page.
Photo: Steve Lambrou