BYZANTINE GREEK ICONS

Panagia Soumela icon without the external case of the donors.

Saint Barnavas and Saint Sofronios was the Athenians monks and the builders of this ancient Monastery in Pondos.


Orthodox Christians all over the world use to build Churches and Monasteries and establishe Associations abroad in the name of Panagia Soumela ,wherever they have immigrated and honour, venerate and pray in front of Her holy icon .Millions of visitors and believers of Panagia Soumela  have her icon as a timeless symbol and shrine in which our blessed ancestors submitted their tears their thanks and innermost desires in fron of her icon.Panagia Soumela miraculous icon is the Symbol of  Hellenism of Pondus and Pontic Greeks.Millions

of believer's seeking Her grace...

PANAGIA SOUMELA  ICON  ,ΙΕΡΑ ΕΙΚΟΝΑ "ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑ ΣΟΥΜΕΛΑ "  Domna depicted this icon and  althought had made a rendition  in different dimension according to the church icon- stand , although succeed and kept the traditional byzantine style and initial  prototype. This icon today belongs

 in the Orthodox Church of St. Eygenios ¨Trapezountios" in new Hortokopi Kavalas Greece ,were blessed "Pondee"  built in 1960  the  first Church  in Greece ,in the name of the Great Trapezountine Martyr  St.  Eygenios Trapezountios which is the Patron  and the safe guard of the Byzantine Empire of Trebizond (Trapezounta Pondus) . (The immigrants came from Hortokopi village in Matzuka (Masca) near Panagia Soumela Monastery  from Trapezounta (Trabzon curent  in Turkey) during Genocide in 1923 and exchange of populations in which most of  Greek Orthodox of Pondus ,Asia Minor were exiled to Greece. The original church of St. Eugenios  in Trebizond Pondus (curent day Turkey ) was the first church that converted in djami  with the name Yeni Djuma or new Friday mosque were all the fresco paintings of the church covered by  thick plaster .This church-monument  still exists... .in Trabzon. 

The old Panagia Soumela Monastery in Pontos located at an altitude of 1200 meters high above green forests and a mountain stream ,in the mount Mela Pontus.It is a magnificent structure .It clings to sheer basalt wall high above green forests and a mountain stream.In this amazing location the icon initially found from the Greek monks that follow her ...Near the entrance of the Monastery is the cave where the icon of Panagia Soumela found and enthroned that formed the nucleous of the Monastery and is fully covered with frescoes.The pilgrim Monastery was the most prestigious in the empire of Trebizond.The miraculous icon painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist attracted devotion ,imperial support and attention.Above, on the photos,after the Greek flag you can see photos from the new home of the miraculous icon in new

Panagia Soumela Monastery in Kastanies Veroia -Macedonia,Greece

         THE MODERN  BYZANTINE  RENDITION OF THE  PANAGIA SOUMELA  ICON

                                                                                                                                       By Domna , 1999 

PANAGIA SOUMELA MIRACULOUS ICON  OF SAINT LUKE, A REFUGEE  ICON OF THEOTOKOS, A HISTORICAL OBJECT.

THE DIRECTRESS AND PROTECTRESS OF THE HELLENISM OF PONTOS & A NEW RENDITION OF THE ICON.

 El Greco's  Icon  is signed in the area of the stool under the easel . This  Icon  is a transitional work of the artist  and is an Icon within an Icon.

PANAGIA SOUMELA (ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑ ΣΟΥΜΕΛΑ)  1999. The design and decoration is according to the prototype Icon.

(According to the Panagia Soumela icon  history the miraculous Icon transferred by Angels from Greece to Mount Mela in ..Pondus...)

PANAGIA SOUMELA ICON / ΙΕΡΑ ΕΙΚΟΝΑ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑ ΣΟΥΜΕΛΑ :
Τhe original Icon  by  St. Luke the Evangelist (left).The New byzantine rendition of the same icon by Domna's hand (right).

 PANAGIA SOUMELA ICON   /  ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑ ΣΟΥΜΕΛΑ : 

Modern " unique " rendition of  " Panagia Soumela Icon".

By Domna , Greece 1999.(1.00 x 70 cm ). Egg-tempera in

wood with raised border surface , engraved designs

on the gold leaf area craft  gilding technique in genuine 23 1/2 carat gems ,rubies emeralds and pearls  according the prototype design of the icon. 

 Icon with St.  Luke painting the Virgin  Mary and Christ.( before 1567 ). Painted by El Greco.

Tempera and gold on canvas attached to panel  (41,6X33cm).

Benaki Museum, Athens Greece.


Domenikos Theotokopoulos  early career Icon ,painted while was a master in Greece .Later on left Greece first for Italy and then to Spain ,were he acquired the nick name  "El Greco" .St Luke both a physician and  painter in the act of painting the icon of the Virgin Hodigitria  patron  and

protector of  Constantinople. ( The Hodigitria icon  type is  same as the Panagia  Soumela icon ! )

"PANAGIA SOUMELA , ΠΑΝΑΓΙΑ ΣΟΥΜΕΛΑ "   Holy icon

 painted according to the tradition by the Evangelist St. Luke.

  The wonderworking original Icon of the "Panagia Soumela Monastery from Trepizond Pondus " located currently in the  homonymous Monastery of the same name in Vermion Veria in Northern Greece.Τhe icon is separated in 2 pieces.The dimension is 0.30 x 0.25m and covered by a bigger  silver gold plated case with engraved designs of  4 prophets, a crown hold  by 2 angels and incised floral decorations. Also the holy icon was decorated by many blue ,red and green gems and 7 pearls in the crown and numerous pearls around the Icon.  (Pontus Archive 1933.)

The Ηoly Monastery of  "Panagia  Soumela "  is dedicated  to  the famous and sacred Icon of  " Panagia  Soumela"  which was  painted by the Holy Evangelist St. Luke and survives until today.Panagia in Greek means all holly above all Saint's ,it refers to Theotokos ,Mother of God .

St. Luke was of Greek origin and was born in Hellenistic city of  Antioch ,Syria and was extremely educated.He is the one of the four  Evangelists. He studied Greek philosophy,art ,medicine and was trained as a professional Physician in

his youth. He is the first Iconographer  and he became the Patron Saint of  Iconographers and considered  the founder of  Christian Iconography.He painted icons of the Most Holy Theotokos not just one as well as icons of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.The legend grew that  St. Luke had painted  the Virgin Mary and her child by life. Panagia when show her images painted by St. Luke was very pleased and blessed his Icons.It is said that "Panagia Soumela "was one of the 3 miraculous images of Mother of God  Icons ,(St. Luke painted ) and always carried with him in his travels. The icon type is the  "Hodegitria " type (Directress) .This type honoured and was  the protector of Constantinople  especially in the Monastery of 'Odigon" /Directors in which the" Directress" type Icon  ,made numerous healing . Images associated with Saint Luke had enormous authority.​ St. Luke's first icon of the Most Holy Theotokos Directress or

 Hodegetria, mentioned in the Paraklesis to the Theotokos:


Speechless be the lips of impious ones,

those who do not reverence

Your great icon,the sacred one

which is called Directress.

And was depicted  for us

By one of the Apostles,

Luke the Evangelist.


The  name of holy Icon of Panagia Soumela  was initially " Athiniotissa " means from Athens,Greece. Later on  called "Panagia Soumela" as it  moved by itself miraculously  (transferred by angels) from Greece to Mount Mela ,in the region of Macka in Trabzon (Trapezounta ) Province in Pontus Asia Minor, a region in current date Turkey. The History of the Panagia Soumela Monastery and it's Icon is both fascinating and dramatic.. . According to tradition of the Orthodox Church ,the miraculous icon of Panagia Soumela that is curently located in the homonymous Holy Monastery in Vermio,Northern Greece.Etymological the name of the icon and the monastery derives from the name of the mountain,where it is built on which is called Mela  means black  from the black color of the forest in Greek stou Mela means at Mela and in the Pontic dialect it is pronounced sou Mela.Therefore means Panagia at mountain Mela.In 386 AD. two Athenians monks,Barnabas and his acolyte Sofronios,founded the Monastery on Mount Mela ,Pontos of Asia Minor,a region in current day Turkey,after they were called by the Virgin to do so.At Mount Mela the icons was found at the end of the fourth century A.D. in a cave and the monastery was built at this place for the glory of God! The icon was renamed Panagia Soumela.According to tradition this miraculous holy icon is the Panagia Athiniotissa (means from Athens Greece) icon which was depicted by Saint Luke the Apostle and Evangelist.The icon transfered miraculously by angels from Greece to a cave in Masca ,Trebizond,

 Pondus ,Minor Asia today Trabzon ,Turkey.In this cave the two Greek monks built initially the cave Church that today fully covered with frescoes in and out.The Monastery became bigger and very rich and famous not only for the Christians pilgrims but also for the Muslims known as "Meryem Ana" monastery.

At various times thives and men of different religion raided the Monastery,

because of its richness and reputation.There are many relevant references on the miraculous intervention of Theotokos for the Monastery's salvation.

In 1923 the monastery abandoned from the monks following the forced exchange and relocation between Greeks and Turks in accordance the Treaty of Lausanne and a transfer of population when Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontos were driven from lands of their ancestors .There was a Genocide against the Pontic Greeks

from the muslim Turks. The monks hid the icon of Panagia Soumela painted by Saint Luke ,the hand written Gospel copied on parchment by Saint Christopher the builder and the Cross with the honorable Wood of Holy Cross donated by the emperor Manuel Comnenos was also in the chapel of Saint Barbara. At the time,the Holy icon was buried for around thirty years in the sacred soils...and with this way remain protected and safe.


In 1931 ,Metropolitan of Xanthe and the Minister Polycarp Psomiadis asked of the intervention of the then Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos in order to liberate the icon of Panagia Soumela after the request of the migrated Pontic Greeks. The request was approved by the then Turkish Prime Minister Ismet Inonu,after Venizelos asked for his permission to send monks to the Mount Mela Monastery to retrieve the icon and the other sacred treasures. Father Amvrosios Soumeliotis ,who was one of the monks of the Soumela Monastery was chosen by the Metropolitan Chrisanthos of Trabzon to undertake this special journey.Father Ambrosios set out to go to Turkey on October 22,1931.Turkish soldiers and Greeks helped that the holy items would be found.Soon the hidden icon was unearth along with the other sacred objects!They were all returned to Athens and deposited at the Byzantine Museum of Athens until 1951,when the Panagia Soumela Foundation in Thessaloniki in 1995 by Philo Ktenidis founded a new Monastery in the slopes of Mount Vermion in Macedonia Greece.

In 1952 the holy icon was officially enthroned in the Holy Church of the new Panagia Soumela Monastery which was built in her honor on a site in 

Macedonian mountains in Northern Greece ,that is Kastania of Vermio.About forty years later in August 1993 the Cross and the Gospel of Saint Christopher the founder were delivered by the Byzantine Museum of Athens.

The icon of Panagia Soumela located today at Kastania in Macedonia Greece this place was chosen because it reminded Dr Ktenidis of rhe wild and natural beauty of the height of Mount Melas in Pondus.The new home of the icon is called Panagia Soumela Monastery and the Church of the Dormition of Teotokos may be visited by pilgrims and tourists.It constitutes a symbol of the Greeks of Pondus the Pontic Greeks,who resort to it in order to relieve them from their pain problems and sufferings. Every year on the 15th of August which is the feast of the Dormition of Holy Theotokos ,thousands of pilgrims from all over the World travel to this Monastery at Mount Vermio in Greece to venerate the holy miracoulous icon.

At the Monastery of Panagia Soumela of Mount Mela in Pondus ,Turkey on August 15th 2010 ,hymns and prayers were heard for the first time after 88 years.Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeu took the lead of the Divine Liturgy It was with  his actions that this unique opportunity for Hellenism was made possible.The event took place again in 2011,2012 and stil continues... !


The original Soumela Monastery in Turkey is also today accessible to the pilgrims and tourists. Many of the sacred murals frescoes of the cave chapel with with biblical scenes  have suffered serious loses as targets from desecrators and graffiti scribblers.The Monastery once upon a time housed 72 cells, guests quarters ,a large aqueduct at the top with many arches , small chapels, icon room library and dormitories. Panagia Soumela  or  Soumeliotissa is the Virgin Mary Icon venerated greatly by the Pontic Greeks all over the World!. Due to the Genocide and the population exchange of 1922 about 1,5 million Greeks came to Greece from Asia Minor a big part of which  came from Pondos..


 PANAGIA SOUMELA THE OLD MONASTERY IN MACKA TREBIZOND,PONTOS (CURENTLY TRABZON ,TURKEY)

AND PANAGIA SOUMELA THE NEW MONASTERY IN KASTANIES VEROIA ,MACEDONIA ,GREECE TODAY. 

1."Souvenir de Trebizond.Place du meydan ." Very important photograph from Trebizond Pondus, Asia Minor.You can see three flags ,the one in the middle of the picture is obviously the Greek flag!

2.The Christian feast of the Epiphanie in Trebizond!

3.Pontic Greeks  in a canoe with music instruments.Ιn τhe canoe is written in front in Greek "ΝΑΥΤΙΚΗ ΕΚΣΤΡΑΤΕΙΑ`` (NAUTICAL EXPEDITION) "and at right is written in Greek also "ΑΡΓΩ " (ARGO).

4,5.The Greek College in Trebizond and the Saint Gregory Church that is not exists anymore...

5.The House of the Pontic Greek rich Family Theofylactos.

6,7 Greek Pontics playing lyra and dansing their National danse Serra.

7.Hospital"Akrition" in Trebizond.!

8.Proffessionals Pontic Greeks educated and businessman from Trebizond.

9.One scene from a Theater in Trebizond!

and more photos...

TREBIZOND: THE LAST GREEK EMPIRE  OF THE BYZANTINE ERA

Here you can see an old and important icon unknown icon painter  with the founders of the Ancient Monastery of Panagia Soumela ,Saint Barnavas and Saint Sofronios with scrolls  on their hands and in the middle a simulacrum of the Cave Chapel and x walls of the Monastery in Mount Mela in Masca ,Pondos that was from initially established by them.Above them 2 Angels on clouds holding an icon of Theotokos with her son Jesus Christ meaning that the icon was transfered  miraculously by them.Above this icon is written in Greek letters "Η ΣΟΥΜΕΛΙΩΤΙΣΑ" (Soumeliotissa) meaning is the Panagia Soumela icon. On the mindle of the upper side we see clouds and a triangle representing the Heaven with the Holy Trinity and the Lord's hands blessing the Angels and the Saints and the whole scene meaning that the trasfer of the icon in Pontos and the founding of the Monastery of Panagia Soumela was not a human invention but was under the direction and the God`s will..

The photos are a document from the procession of Panagia Soumela icon in Greece the day of the historical return (1931) of this hidden icon from the monks in the Saint Barbara Chapel of her ancient Monastery in Masca Pontos (Trabzon Turkey).

Panagia Athiniotissa Church inside the Acropolis Athens, Greece in a design of Manoli Korres.


Also you can read here a  very important research for the Pontic Greeks: 


" The Pontic Greeks from Caucasus ,Greece and the diaspora"  Michael Bruneau 2013.

   Journal of Alpine Research.


                        http://rga.revues.org/2092


                         http://rga.revues.org/2087

​​DOMNAS ICONS

You can see an important video in You Tube for the Pontian Youth Global Forum  in Greece.

Please copy and paste, to your browser the next title in orderto see it:


                GLOBAL PONTIAN YOUTH FORUM REVIEW 

               Honebee Audiovisual. Published on Oct 8, 2015.


You can see also:


ΠΟΝΤΟΣ ΟΙ ΜΕΓΑΛΕΣ ΩΡΕΣ - Ντοκυμαντέρ του LIVEMEDIA για τα γεγονότα έως την Γενοκτονία.

         

INFORMATION LINKS FOR THE PONTIC GREEKS AND THE PONTIC GREEK GENOCIDE:

(Please copy and paste to your browser  the link or the title for more information and videos.)



GREEK GENOCIDE RESOURCE CENTER 

www.greek-genocide.net



Αφιέρωμα στη Γενοκτονία μέσα από τα τραγούδια του Ποντιακού Ελληνισμού.

ΕΝΩΣΗ ΠΟΝΤΙΑΚΗΣ ΝΕΟΛΑΙΑΣ ΑΤΤΙΚΗΣ  (Ιστορικό Αφιέρωμα)

Published on Feb, 18, 213

BEHIND EVERY STONE IN TURKEY TODAY, ARE ALWAYS THE GREEKS, THEIR FAITH AND THEIR CULTURE!

Trebizond, the Greek Empire in Pondos, Minor Asia.

The Pontic Greeks.

Ancient Greek coin from Cinopi (Σινώπη) Pondos,Minor Asia

with the head of a Nymph in one side and with the emblem of

Pontic Greeks the eangle with raised wings. Circa 4 BC

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The Pontic or Pontian Greeks are an ethnically Greek Group who traditionally lived in the in the region of Pondus of the Shores of the Black

Sea and in the Pontic Alps in northeastern Anatolia.Pontic Greeks have Greek ancestry and speak the Pontic Greek dialect.Their emblem is the eagle.The Pontic Greeks had a continuous presence in Pondus (Northeastern Turkey),Georgia and Eastern Anatolia from at least 700 BC untill 1922.Pontian Greek (ποντιακά/pontiaca) is the Pontian Greek dialect ,a distict  form of the standard Greek language which due to the remoteness of Pondus has undergone linguistic evolution distinct from the rest Greek world. Pontic's linquistic lineage stems from Ionic Greek via Koine and Byzantine Greek with many archaisms.This dialect is known in Turkey as "Rumca" meaning romeica that survives today mostly in among older speakers.










THE LARGEST COMMUNITIES OF PONTIC GREEKS OR PEOPLE WΙTH PONTIAN GREEK DESCENT (ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΝΤΟΥ,ΡΩΜΙΟΙ ) AROUND THE WORLD HAS A TOTAL POPULATION  2,000,000  TO  2,500,000 AND ARE IN :



Greece             Population of Pontic or Pontioi Greek Refugees 240,00 (1928) ,estimation 400,000 mainly in Macedonia ,Thrace and Athens. 


Turkey             Population 4,540 (1965) and estimated 30,000 Greek Muslims Crypto Christians curently mainly in Trabzon, Kars, Rize, Sakarya,

                        Giresum,Gumushane and Constantinople (Instabul) .


USA                 Population 200,000 Greek American.


Germany          Population 100,000 Greeks in Germany.


Russia              Population 97,892 (2002) known as Russianized or Soviet Pontic Greeks  or Greeks in Russia, in Stavropol (34,078  populalion)

                         Krasnodar -Krai (26.540 population),Kiev,Moscow,Saint Petersburg..)


Ukraine            Population 91,548 (2001) known as Greeks in Ukraine Tauricus (especially 77,516 in Donetsc,Oblast).


Australia           Greek Australian population 56,000 .


Canada             Greek Canadians population 20,000.


Cyprus             Population 20,000 Greek Cypriots.


Czeh Republic  Greek in the Czech Republic population less than 3,500 ; 12,00 (1949-1974).


Georgia             Population Greeks in Georgia 15,166 (2002) Georgia SSR mainly in Kvemo Kartli (7,415),Tbilisi

                         (3,792) ,Adgara (2,168) .


Kazachstan       Greek population in Kazakhstan 12,703 (2010) with mainly in Karagandy (2,160),Almaty (1,767) ,Zhambyl (1637) ,


Uzbekistan        Population of Greeks in Uzbecistan  10,453 (1989.


Armenia            Greek population in Armenia 900 (2011), estimated 2,000 in Armenia.



(source wikipedia.org)