Happy Birthday with health and memories of our ancestors for their Saint and Our Father Gregory the Theologian! Narration by Elisabeth Kaplanoglou of Kaplan (1900-1987) Archive Center for Cappadocian Studies “The Nazianzos” in Nea Karvali. ……… Then they made an agreement to load the relics on camels and let the animals go free. Wherever they stand to rest there are left the relics they said.
The monks knew that the camels did not know any other way, they kept going on the route Karvali – Nazianzos. Eh, what would become of Yavroum? The live ones, wherever they were shot for weeks, dogrou – straight – came to Karvali. They sat in Agiasma to drink water, to rest as always, next to the Church of the Holy Cross built by Gregory the Theologian.
Then everyone said. This is Minasip-must-. This is how it must be done. The relics should be left in Karvali.
Two tombs were opened inside the Church, straight (syriza) with the Sanctuary and they placed them through the fear of the Turks. From above they built the iconostasis with stones. Only the monks and priests knew where they were, but they stayed there for many years, secretly. Then the Church, together with the name of the Holy Cross, became Gregory the Theologian. Difficult years of fear, loneliness.
Since this Church of his Father was like that, he was entitled to name his son after him. Then the monks were in command. They called it an Abbot Council. Do you know what you are? That they decided by fasting, prayer and obedience. It was a law.
So for many years all the relics of Saint Gregory the Theologian, his father, and he Gregory, the mother of Nonna and his brother Caesarea were kept there secretly and the sacred wood was kept again in a pillar that was next to Sanctuary. What did the people pull, you know?
Before I was born, two hundred years ago, things calmed down a bit. The Turks accepted our religion and the Elders said, Our Church is a ruin – it will fall, and they asked permission. They made a repair and increased it a bit and then they removed the thick stones from the iconostasis and put a nice wood carving, colored – The repair of 1835 -. Then they took them out and left them all underneath and put them in a large stone shrine, so naked, all together. As you enter the Church on the left in the second pillar next door. Three heads, four sets together all mixed up. How to separate them. Everything is Holy. So they stayed until one of our patriots Ekizoglou Potos was said to have paid and brought from Istanbul or Mount Athos? I do not remember, wooden frame, strong, nice, fragrant with a painting on the lid. From above Saint Gregory the Patriarch as he slept and from below the Holy Cross.
So, I know I missed them all, piece by piece. These were open again. We touched them for prayer, we arranged them, we made a procession to the Feast of the Saint with the Cares on records in the hands of the Priests, for which a head was dismantled. But it is inside. This is how we went around the whole village, as if to say. Look at you who do not believe. This is our strength. You can not hurt us. Our Saint and his family protect us. They were scared and hid in the holes but most worshiped. They believed. Do you know how many times the Saint protected us from the Chets and the robbers?
When the days came to leave, the girls of the neighborhood, the commissioners, after the August 6 service of the Transfiguration, warned us to go and burn incense, wash the relics and prepare them for the trip. I was one of the girls we prepared. Pope Charalambos made amamia – Holy Communion -. We spread them all down. We cried and said prayers and mourning.
A woman, called Beinoglou Marika, started crying, like a funeral.
Peterim, Azizim kats tefa taha suruklegecekler seni? Panayam sapphire ver beige –
My Lord, how many more times will they drag you (move you)? Our Lady, give us patience.
The Commission wore a red cloth. We cut pieces and two or two, three or more small relics, we sewed them in the cloth. There was also a relic of a foot with dry skin on it. Then we wrapped them all in a Russian (teli) made of wire, Hieratic bag worn by Hatzi Papaz (Ioannis Panteleimonidis). Then we wrapped them in a carpet of the Church and tied them around with a thick rope. We put them back, mourning and incense in the frame. When we closed it, we all sang the troparion of our Saint. The Pastoral Flute of your Theology ……… This is how we sealed the reliquary.
They stayed there for eight days. These days your grandfather Kaplan and the other commissioners, that we could not take with us on the trip, destroyed them, burned them or tore them to pieces and threw them into the well of the Church where we poured water from the baptisms. How many things, images, utensils of the Church all.
When they emptied the Church, they sealed the well from above, so that no one would know anything. Do not let the Turks press them.
On the 15th of August we performed a Divine Liturgy, all of us who had stayed. Maybe we were the last. The Church was empty. All the things and the icons of the iconostasis and others that we chose to take with us were in wooden boxes. The iconostasis, the Holy Table, the Pulpit and the stone shrine of our Saint we stayed there, in their place, like orphans. To be there to see what was happening.
We all knelt down and communed. Everyone was mourning. Where will we go; What fate awaits us? That’s how he became my child.
After one day, August 16, 1924, we loaded all the boxes with numbers in the carts together with our own. We made our cross and left. Where – That was it.
We know from our cradle, from generation to generation – upstairs – that the four Revelations belong to St. Gregory the Theologian, the other to Gregory’s father, the third to Caesar’s brother and the other to Nonna’s mother. They said that inside there is a relic of his sister the Mermaid (Gorgonia).
This is how things are. Everyone can say what they want. This is our truth and our story. Let your children learn this, your root and your seed –
……. Historical and Ethnological Museum of Cappadocian Hellenism in Nea Karvali