Romans of Micra Asia

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The history of Romans in Micra Asia  

The 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.

Dikefalos - The symbol of Roman Empire 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. Ο ΠΥΡΓΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΛΕΑΝΔΡΟΥ

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 were 200.000.  


The Romans (Rum) of Turkey have an old and important church history. The Patriarchate in Constantinoupolis  (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 (Iznik).

Dikefalos After Constantinople 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

Patriarch Genadios & Sultan Mehmet the II

Mehmet the 2nd and Patriarch Gennadios (the first patriarch of Constantinople after the conquest)


Patriarch Genadios & Sultan Mehmet the II

A mosaic symbolizing Mehmet II representing the firman(imperial edict) about his rights and authorities to the patriarch Gennadios.




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Last modified: ΦΕΒΡΟΥΑΡΙΟΣ 22,  2021