Welcome to the official website of Pontian Society Panagia Soumela Boston Inc.
Pontian Society Panagia Soumela Boston Inc. was founded in Boston, Massachusetts on March 1, 1981 by Pontian Greek residents of Massachusetts. The Society was incorporated on March 11, 1981, under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 180. On November 16, 1981 the Internal Revenue Service determined that the Society is a Non-Profit Organization exempt from Federal Income Tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. On May 3, 1982 the Society bought the building at 587 Albany Street in Boston's South End, next to the city's center. In August of 2022 the society sold its building in Boston and purchased its new property in Braintree, at 120 Bay State Drive.
In these web pages we remember, cherish and honor the over 3,000 years of history and culture of Pontus. Efxinos Pontus (friendly sea) is the body of water known today as the Black Sea. The name Pontus eventually came to identify the north coast of Asia Minor stretching from Sinope in the west, as far as the Georgian border to the east; a land of high mountains, deep valleys and natural harbors. Greek merchants first established trading posts along this shore some 3,000 years ago; outposts that grew into villages, towns and cities.
Pontus produced great philosophers like Diogenes of Sinope, geographers like Strabo, and many other people of learning. Protected by the towering Pontic Alps, the region has a long tradition of independence. The Kingdom of Pontus ruled primarily by the six Mithridates kings (I-VI) was a Greek state which was to last from 291 BC up until the Roman conquest in 63 BC. The Roman period followed, then the Byzantine period during which Pontus experienced periods of great prosperity. Following the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade (1204) the Empire of Trapezous was created as an independent successor state highlighted by the Komninos dynasty. The Empire of Trapezous was the last Greek-ruled territory to fall to the Ottoman Turks, in 1461.
As in Cyprus, Pontus' isolation assisted in the retention of many linguistic elements of Greek. The Pontic dialect is arguably one of the most archaic forms of the Greek language still spoken today. Many Pontic speakers today live in Turkey and are Muslims, whilst the majority live in Greece as well as throughout the world. Pontic folklore is also archaic. The Pyrrhichios (or war dance), was a part of Hellenic culture at least 2,500 years ago, as evidenced by friezes from the 5th century BC. Pontic Greeks will often refer to this dance as Serra, whilst Pontic Muslims refer to it as Horon.
A Pontian Greek spearheaded the meticulous planning, coordination and organization in preparation of the Greek Revolution in 1821. Alexander Ypsilantis was the leader of the Filiki Eteria, a secret organization whose purpose was to plan the overthrow of the Ottomans and establish an independent Greek state. The words Filiki Eteria translate to Society of Friends. Ypsilantis’ family hails from the village of Ypsili, south of Trapezous.
During the period 1914-1923 an estimated 353,000 Greeks of Pontus were massacred at the hand of the Neo-Turk Kemalists. The fate of Pontus and its people was completed following negotiations at Lausanne and the compulsory Exchange of Populations between Greece and Turkey which resulted in all Orthodox Christian Pontic Greeks being uprooted to Greece. Pontic Muslims were allowed to remain. Today these Muslims continue to speak Romeyka (or Rumca), a dialect which descends from ancient Greece.
Here we remember our ancestors, we honor our heroes, we preserve our customs, we play the lyra and we sing our love for our unforgettable motherland, Pontus. Here we raise awareness and offer support for the global recognition of the Genocide of the Greeks.
Enjoy our website and welcome to the warm embrace of Pontus!
Mare Nigrum Seu Pontus Euxinus.
MYLLER, Angelicus Maria, Pubblished: 1732
A map of the proposed Republic of Pontus.
Paris Peace Conference in 1919.