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Pontic Greeks, Turkey

Photo Source Anna Diamantopoulou/Flickr Licensed/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Pontic Greeks quite possibly heard the Apostle Paul during his missionary journeys. This people group considers themselves descendants of the Argonauts, who set sail looking for gold and silver. Because of their desire to seek treasure in other lands, this group of Greeks eventually settled in Northeastern Turkey with the majority settling around the Black Sea.

During World War I, when the country underwent an ethnic cleansing, almost 250,000 Pontics were able to flee back to Greece. However, when they arrived, those that lived there could not understand their language. It had evolved into words and sounds that could not be understood because of the influence of the nations that had surrounded them before their dispersal. Today, this dialect of the Greek language is considered endangered as their descendants become more assimilated in the regions in which they live. Yet the Pontics want to keep their language and traditions alive. They try to pass down their traditional poems, songs, dress, and dances to their children. However, their brightly colored traditional dress cannot cover their spiritual darkness.

Though many profess to be Christians, they have no true knowledge of the Gospel. Some practice Greek Orthodox traditions, and others have converted to Islam. Because there is no Scripture in their language, a people who may have once been exposed to the truth are now living in spiritual darkness.