Exactly ninety-eight years ago today, the Turks killed Metropolitan Chrysostomos Kalafatis in a horrendous way in Smyrna on August 27, 1922. His martyrdom by the Turkish mob is inextricably linked to the last moments of Greek Smyrna and the Greek community in Asia Minor. Although he had many opportunities to leave Smyrna, he preferred to stay and meet his doom as his flock did.
On August 19, 1922, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Smyrna addressed his last words to the people of Smyrna in the crowded Church of Saint Fotini: “My brothers, the situation is critical, but God is great. Have faith in Him. We are being tested, but let us not abandon our faith…”
On August 25, the mass evacuation was completed and the refugees made desperate efforts to board ships. On August 26, the last day of the Greek community of Smyrna, all the avenues, streets and alleys of the city were flooded with thousands of Greek Orthodox refugees, who arrived by any means of transport and with all the things they could carry with them, decimated and uprooted from their home.
On Saturday, August 27, the Turks started attacking individuals while a cavalry detachment invaded the city, the first Çetes.
In the evening, Nureddin Pasha, a sworn enemy of Chrysostomos, arrived in the city and exercised command over Smyrna.
Although he had the possibility of safe escape from the city all these days with the help of the Great Powers, Metropolitan Chrysostomos stubbornly refused to abandon his flock.
Nureddin Pasha arrested him along with two elders in the seat of metropolis and led him to the garrison. Chrysostomos’s message to his brother in those critical hours is the following: “Dear brother, tonight we were detained as president of the Asia Minor Defense, the others as members. Don’t worry.”
Unfortunately, the Metropolitan of Smyrna was about to meet his end in the most horrendous way. According to eyewitness accounts, he was taken to a barbershop on the outskirts of European neighborhoods. The Metropolitan was slipped into a white shirt and then they tore his beard off, gouged his eyes out, and cut off his nose and ears.
The Turks dragged the hierarch around the Turkish districts, where they dismembered him.
In 1992, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece canonized Chrysostomos of Smyrna and the hierarchs Gregory of Kydonies, Ambrosios of Moschonisia, Procopius of Iconium, Euthymius of Zela and the clergy and laity, who were slaughtered during the Asia Minor disaster.