Archon Dr. Tom Papademetriou, Professor of Greek History and Director of the Dean and Zoe Pappas Center for Hellenic Studies at Stockton College in Galloway, New Jersey presented a most interesting and informative lecture at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church after Liturgy on Sunday, March 5. Titled “The Ecumenical Patriarchate and The Great Catastrophe of 1922: History and Legacy”, Professor Papademetriou, who is also the President of the Modern Greek Studies Association, offered an extensive look at events in the early 20th Century involving Greece and the Ottoman Empire, with special emphasis on impacts to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The event was sponsored by the members of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, from St. Demetrios, Paul Plumis, John John, Theo Angelis, and Cliff Argue to highlight and make known the research and analysis of fellow Archon Papademetriou.
His presentation was broken into four main areas:
- Part 1: The Ecumenical Patriarchate in a Decade of Wars: 1912-1922
- Part 2: From the “Byzantine Solution” to the Burning of Smyrna: 1919-1922
- Part 3: The Ecumenical Patriarchate & the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923
- Part 4: In the Wake of Lausanne: Internationalization of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from 1923 to the present
Prof. Papademetriou illustrated his talk with numerous maps, photos, newspapers and drawings from that era. He also covered the Young Turks Revolution, the Balkan Wars, World War I, the genocides of the Pontian Greeks and Armenians, and the ongoing friction between Greek Prime Minister Venizelos and King Constantine I.
The lecture offered perspective on the history and legacy of these traumatic events, and how they affected the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the next century.
In his closing summary, Dr. Papademetriou noted, “One hundred years ago, the Ecumenical Patriarchate faced its greatest existential crisis since 1453 triggered by political and military world events. The loss of Ottoman territory accelerated by the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, the Great Catastrophe of Smyrna and the dramatic events of 1922, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the Greek-Turkish population exchange resulted in major demographic losses directly impacting the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In an instance, the majority of Greek Orthodox church faithful in Asia Minor under the direct jurisdiction of the Patriarchate had disappeared.”