The Museum of Refugee Hellenism was inaugurated at the stadium of AEK Athens in Nea Philadelphia in a climate of emotion, nostalgia, and pride.
During the inauguration of the Museum of Refugee Hellenism, the club’s President, Dimitris Melissanidis, who envisioned this museum stressed that in these difficult times, with two ongoing wars in Europe and the Middle East, “it is a great consolation to inaugurate the Museum of Refugee Hellenism, a museum containing priceless relics from Constantinople, Pontus, and Asia Minor. I hope that this museum, constantly enriched in the future, will symbolise centuries of history to future generations.”
Melissanidis added, “What you see here is a tribute to the greatness of the hundreds of thousands of Asia Minor and Pontian people who now live in Greece. They are testimonies of life and dreams; they are the blossoms of joy for all those people who left their unruly and untamed homelands and created the epic of the new Greece. I find it very touching that dozens of anonymous people come every day and leave a piece that is their talisman, the hidden legacy of their ancestors, which they hold tightly in their hearts.”
“It is obvious that there is a connecting link in these pages of history, and that is the glorious orthodoxy,” Melissanidis remarked.
“Because orthodoxy is wealth and the root of immortality, it inspired those who fought to free the homeland and those of us who never want to forget them. I am delighted by the fact of your presence here today; it gives me the redemptive feeling that I, as one of you, when the time came, did my duty. In a moment, you will take a walk in this museum; it is a walk in the history of Greece, Asia Minor, and Pontus.”
From his end, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Yannis Vroutsis, argued that “This initiative is worthy of admiration because it comes to be deposited in the living memory of all of us. The historical years are being revived here today in AEK’s stadium. With feelings of admiration and joy, we are recording an important day of historical memory. The museum should be open to all schools, so that all children can see it. This museum does not belong to AEK; it belongs to all Hellenism. To all Greeks. And it holds in the memory of all what should never be forgotten.”
Finally, Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia, Filadelfia, Heraklion, and Chalkidonos, also commented saying that AEK’s arena “is not just a stadium; it is a place of culture, a place of memory, a place of history. The time is approaching when we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of AEK. The Athletic Union of Constantinople will always remain, not just a team, but an idea that will have the power to pass on these values that it carries within itself and that refugee Hellenism carries throughout time.”