Bishop Chrysostom of Smyrna

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Bishop Chrysostom of Smyrna was the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox community of Smyrna at the time of the Asia Minor Disaster (August 1922).

He was born in the town of Triglia, Asia Minor - not far from Moudania - in 1867, the son of Nikolaos Kalafatis and Kalliope Lemonidou. The couple had a total of 8 children but only two of them survived.

At an early age Chrysostom decided to become a clergyman and entered the Theological School of Chalki. He finished with excellent grades and was ordained a deacon by Bishop Constantine of Mytilene. The latter took Chrysostom under his wing first in Mytilene and later in Ephesus where he was transferred.

In 1897, Bishop Constantine was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. Chrysostom followed his mentor to Constantinople and was ordained a priest. There he wrote a two-volume thesis entitled "Concerning the Church" relating to the doctrines of the Orthodox Church.

On May 23, 1902, Chrysostom was appointed Bishop of Drama, a post that he retained until 1909. Finally, on May 10, 1910, Chrysostom arrived in Smyrna as Bishop. During his tenure there, the First Balkan War and World War I broke out. The Greeks of Asia Minor were subjected to persecution and many of them left. Eventually, in 1919, the Greek army arrived in Smyrna in the aftermath of the First World War and the Treaty of Sevres. The Turks, under Mustafa Kemal Pasa, resisted the terms of the treaty and war broke out.

On September 9 (August 27 OS) of 1922, the Turks under Nur-ed Din pasha entered Smyrna. The city's Christian quarters were burned to the ground the local Greeks were subjected to atrocities. Bishop Chrysostom refused to leave his parishoners and on September 10, 1922 (August 28 OS) was brutally mutilated and killed by an angry mob.

His statue adorns the central square of Nea Smyrni, Athens, where many of the Smyrna survivors settled.