term 'Anatolia' comes from Greek
word "anatoli". It means 'East'.
The region is called east because according to the Roman world, Mikra
Asia was the eastlands that was waiting to be discovered. When Anatolia
was started to be colonized by the Romans, it was populated by little
tribes. Especially, after Alexander the Great,
the region was nearly occupied by Romans or Hellenized tribes.
The Romans (Greeks)
lived in Anatolia since today are the
anchestors of them. Before the first world war, there were at least 1.700.000
Romans living in Anatolia. Today,
this population is less than 2.000.
The Romans (
Rum ) in Constantinoupolis , have a
long and important history of their church. The patriarchate in Constantinoupolis
(Istanbul) had been founded just after the establishment of the city, in 4th
century. The language of the church was ancient Greek. The progress of
the church was depply depentent to the enlargment of the Empire to the East
and conflicts with the Rome government. After the victories of the Muslim
army against the East Roman Empire, the church lost its power at the
east. After the Crusaders captured Constantinople
in 1204, the Patriachate was
invaded by the leaders of the Latin Church.
After the conquest of
the city by Mehmet the 2nd, the Royal Church was given a status of
the Church of the Orthodox People of Ottoman Goverment. The church
was given all the rights to apply the religious acts and rules. The patriarch
has the name Ethnarch, which means the head of a nation. The Romans
(Rumlar) in Ottoman Empire has the position millet
in Turkish which means nation, or ethnos.
The Romans in Ottoman
Empire had an important role in the government. Many Romans gained
important positions. Greek merchants prospered a lot and they had important
positions in the intellectual life. This lasted till the First World War. After
the party Ittihad ve Terakki(which
means Unity and Progress) gained the power, they started to impose nationalist
ideas like panturkism.
The first world war was an excellent medium for the party leaders to get r id of
the non-muslim peoples from Anatolia. During the war, Armenian genocide
and transportation was silently applied to the Armenian people. Nearly 1.500.000
Armenians were either killed or moved
from the coutry. At the same time, the same act was applied to the Romans
living at Pontos or the East Anatolia. By the end of the war,
after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the war, the Greek Army
invaded Izmir(Smyrni) and started
to march deep into Anatolia. The army, ruled by the Greek King. The
destruction lasted till 9 October 1922 when the Greek army fled
away from Izmir.
After the war, there
were 850.000 Romans still living in Turkey (adding the people
living at East Thrace the total number is 1.172.635). They wanted
to stay in their homes. But after the exchange agreement in the Lausanne
Treaty all the Romans were moved to Greece. Some of
them could'nt even speak Greek. Only the community in Constantinoupolis,
Imros and Tenedos
were given permission to stay. The total number of Romans left in Turkey in 1924
Romans (Rum) of Turkey have an old and
important church history. The Patriarchate
(Istanbul) was created just after the establishment of the city in the 4th
century. After the 5th Ecumenical Council in 553, the Patriarchate
was promoted to a degree just after the church in Rome.
The official language of the church was Greek.
The influence area of the church broadened as the empire was grown through east
and victories over Rome was taken. After the conquests of the Muslim
armies, the Empire and the Patriarchate
lost power, and after Constantinople was
invaded by the Crusades(1024), Patriarchate
was governed by Latin Church. At this time, the activities of the Roman
(Greek) Church was carried through at Nicea
was conquerred by Mehmet II,
the status of the church was seriously changed. During the Ottoman rule, the Byzantion
Empirical Church was converted to a public church. The Greek community,
leaded by the Patriarch retained the
status of millet (nation).
The rights of the Patriarch were expanded according to the Romania (Byzantion)
rule. The Patriarch had the title Etnarch,
that means the leader of the nation and he was representing the Orthodox
Community to Ottoman Empire.
Today, except from the Greeks of Constantinople, the Patriarch represents the Orthodox Churches of Agion Oros, Crete, Dodekanese Islands, West and East Europe, Africa, North and South America and Australia. Patriarch, who is also recognized as the head of the Church of Romania is now Bartholomaios I and he lives in Fanarion (Fener), near the Golden Horn.
Mehmet the 2nd and Patriarch Gennadios (the first patriarch of Constantinople after the conquest)
A mosaic symbolizing Mehmet II representing the firman(imperial edict) about his rights and authorities to the patriarch Gennadios.