It has been 100 years since the Pontian Genocide, and Pontic Greeks remember May 19 as a black day each and every year. At the same time, it is a date used to strengthen the bonds between them all across the world.
Pontic Greeks are Diaspora people, spread all over the globe, but they are tied together by their traditions, the associations they have formed in many countries and, more importantly, by their deep Orthodox faith.
The roots of Pontic Greeks
The first recorded Greek colony in the area of the Black Sea (Pontus) was established in Sinope around the year 800 BC. It is known that the first Pontic Greeks to colonize the area were merchants from the Ionian Greek city-state of Miletus.
Before the time of the settlement, the Black Sea had been referred to as “Axeinos Pontos” (“Inhospitable Sea”). After the settlement, the name was changed to the exact opposite, “Euxeinos Pontos” (Hospitable Sea). Soon, the Greek settlers established additional colonies along the entire Black Sea coastline in what are today the nations of Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.
Pontus flourished greatly during the Byzantine era. It was the birthplace of the Komnenos dynasty, which ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1082 to 1185, a time when the empire recovered much of Anatolia from the Seljuk Turks.
In the aftermath of the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the “Empire of Trebizond” was established by Alexios I of Trebizond, a descendant of Alexios I Komnenos, the patriarch of the Komnenos dynasty.
Pontus was in effect the last bastion of the Byzantine Empire. Even though Constantinople and the rest of the empire fell at the hands of the Ottomans, it took them eighteen more years to finally defeat the Greek resistance in Pontus.
During this long period of resistance, many Pontic Greek nobles and aristocrats married foreign emperors and into royal dynasties, most notably those of medieval Russia, medieval Georgia, and the Safavid Persian dynasty. Pontians also migrated to what is now southern Russia and the Caucasus.
more information on this story at Greecegreekreporter.com
and more background for the history buffs at wikapidia