Hundreds of people gathered in Athens’ Syntagma Square on Wednesday to honor the hundreds of thousands of Greeks who died or were displaced from their homes by the Ottomans in the early twentieth century at the annual commemoration of the Pontian Genocide.
People watched the changing of the guard in front of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier with two evzones dressed in traditional Pontic costume in honor of the memory of the 353,000 victims.
The Parliament building will also be lit up using an image symbolic of the Pontic Greeks to honor the memory of those killed in the genocide this evening.
Many high-ranking Greek politicians made statements for the important day and a special plenary session occurred in Parliament to mark the atrocity.
The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, remembered these Greeks in there remarks today.
“Today, we honor the memory of the hundreds of thousands of Pontian Greek victims who were exterminated in an inhuman and heinous way a century ago.
“At the same time, we acknowledge the heroic lives of the Greeks of Pontus who were saved and contributed the most to the recovery and progress of the motherland, and to the economic development and the richness of our cultural identity.”
“The recognition of the Genocide was an obvious step and cost little for our country. The preservation of historical memory does not leave its importance in the past. It works symbolically and deterrently for the future. Today is a vivid and enduring reminder to the entire international community of the great importance of morality, responsibility, and forgiveness for the peaceful coexistence of peoples.”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also tweeted about the important day, saying:
“102 years later we remember, we fight, we rally. Pontian Hellenism does not forget, it moves forward. Their lyre will mourn the uprooting and their musical bow will sing hope. And the day of remembrance of the Genocide will remain important until it turns into a Day of Justice.”