Hellenic Society of Constantinople
Ελληνικος Συλλογος Κωνσταντινουπολιτων
Greater Chicago Area
The Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923 by the governments of Greece, Turkey, and the Entente Powers (the UK, France, the US, Italy, Russia and Japan) from World War I, established the borders of modern Turkey, spurred the massive exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey and specified protections for the ethno-religious minority populations in Greece and Turkey. Each country agreed to provide, among other protections, the following:
Protection of life and liberty without regard to place of birth, nationality, language, race, or religion;
Free exercise of religion;
The right to establish and control charitable, religious, and social institutions and schools;
Full protection for religious establishments and charitable institutions
This panel will explore the Lausanne framework and principles, and will assess the behaviors of successive Turkish governments, both secularist and Islamist, as they have affected the Greek Orthodox Christians remaining in Turkey and the sustainability of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
A devastating blaze on August 4, 2022 has all but destroyed one of the last remaining institutions of the city’s once huge Greek community, leaving everyone to grieve.
Balikli Hospital was originally built in 1753 by by the Union of Greek Grocers when the population of Constantinople was still one third Greek. The objective was to treat epidemics and common diseases specifically affecting the ethnic Greek population of Constantinople. Over the years, it has served as a clinic for the treatment of alcohol and substance abuse and most recently as a nursing home for the elderly of Greek descent and a general hospital for all citizens.
It is also a source of pride for the small, remaining Greek community in Constantinople.
Widely considered one of the best hospitals in Istanbul, it is one of the last remaining monuments built by and still administered by the Greeks in Constantinople.
It also provided a much needed community service to the remaining Greek elderly who lost everything in the pogrom of 1955 and would have spent their last years residing in the nursing home.
Grade School, Agioi Theodori, Imbros
Middle School & High School, Agridia, Imbros
re-opened by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Why should we support?
Gökçeada, Turkey's largest island, was primarily inhabited by Greeks and is the birthplace of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. In the 1920's, the Republic of Turkey imposed a set of policies targeting minorities in the country, especially the Greek Orthodox. With their properties confiscated through legal amendments restricting property ownership and an anti-minority sentiment gaining popularity, Greeks were forced to abandon their homes and leave the country. Gökçeada now boasts an unbalanced population of Turkish and Greek-Turkish citizens with Turkish people in the vast majority.
The schools marked the first time a Greek school opened on the island since the 1960s.
The opening of the schools has boosted the Greek presence on the island and has given the residents hope for their children's future in Turkey. With an accredited school for their children to attend, low cost of living and a growing Greek community, school administrators have witnessed families returning from Greece to the island their ancestors once inhabited.
As of 2022. the 3 schools serve 55 Greek Orthodox students, Pre-school - High School grades.
The grade school opened in 2013 and the middle and high schools opened in 2015.
By supporting these institutions, we indirectly support the Greek Orthodox population who reside on the island, encourage others to return to their ancestral homeland and cultivate a Patriarchal constituency.