From a lecture by Prof. G. Mylonas at the Academy at Athens on December 14, 1982. It is his report of the slaughter of Met. Chrysostomos, now recognized as a saint, by the barbarian Turks.
“Allow me to end my lecture with a disclosure of a personal experience, a confession that I make for the first time. During the last days of September of 1922, a group of students from the International College of Smyrna and myself were imprisoned in a horrible cell in the building of the administration headquarters of Smyrna. The prison was packed with Greek Orthodox inmates, who were probably destined to die. At night-time, turkish guards led by a high-ranking officer removed prisoners and executed them.
At 5 pm on the evening of the last day of that tragic September, the same Turkish officer ordered me to follow him to the yard.
- ``Are you a teacher?’’, he asks.
- ``I have had this honour’’, I reply.
- ``And the others who are with you, are they students?’’
- ``Yes’’, I say.
- ``Hurry up, bring them over here’’.
- ``Come with me’’ I tell my comrades.``It looks like our turn to die has come. Come on, and be bold’’.
We were so surprised to hear the Turk say: ``I will not kill you, I will save you. Tonight all the prisoners will be executed because we need to make room for new inmates who have just arrived. I will save you today and I hope this will help me forget a terrible scene which I witnessed and took part in.’’
And he went on: ``I have witnessed the slaying of your Bishop. I was among those who blinded him, uprooted his eyes and dragged him from his beard and hair while he was bleeding through the Turkish neighborhood. We hit him, swore at him and cut off pieces from his skin. I was deeply impressed by his attitude. He neither begged, screamed or cursed while he endured all the tortures. His pale face, covered with the blood of his eyes, was constantly looking up towards the sky and he continuously mumbled something which could not be heard. Do you, teacher, know what he was saying?’’
- ``Yes, I know’’, I replied. - ``He was saying:”Holy Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”.’’
- ``I don’t understand what you are saying, teacher, but it does not matter. Every now and then, whenever he had the strength to do so, he would raise his right arm and bless his persecutors. A Turk realized what the Bishop was doing; he got so furious that he cut off the Bishop’s hands with his sword. He fell on the ground in a lake of blood and sighed. It was more a sigh of relief rather than a sigh of pain. I was so sorry for him at that moment, that I shot him twice in the head and that finished him off. That’s my story. Now that I have said it to you, I hope that I will find my peace of mind. That’s why I am saving your lives.’’
- ``And where did they bury him?’’ I asked with agony.
- ``No one knows where they threw his chopped up body’’.
Powerful story. Thanks for posting it.