The Christian communities of Cappadocia
The project of study of the Christian communities of Cappadocia focuses on the historical development of those communities from the mid-18th century
Project Director: Christos Hadziiossif, Professor of Contemporary History, University of Crete
The Christian populations of the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire, and especially of Asia Minor, have rarely been studied as a separate entity. The project of study of the Christian communities of Cappadocia focuses on the historical development of those communities from the mid-18th century, the period when the interior of the Ottoman Empire opens up to the influences of the world market. The process of ethnogenesis in the Balkans with the creation of the new Greek state and the ethnic movements of the other Balkan countries threatens the unity of the empire and undermines the compliance with law of its subjects, and the regime attempts to meet the challenges of the new era with radical internal reforms.
The research focuses on communities of the central areas of Ottoman Asia Minor whose borders coincide with or include the Cappadocia of the Hellenistic and Roman period. The selection was dictated by the socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the specific communities. Their distance form the independent Greek state helps towards transcending the traditional ethnocentric approach. At the same time, the great mobility of the members of the communities in the interior of the Empire in the context of seasonal or permanent emigration to large urban centres and neighbouring provinces helps the study of the influences exerted on the subject populations by the opening of the market and the reforms of the state machine during the era of Tanzimat. The fact that Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking communities were neighbours permits the observation of interesting aspects of the process of ethnogenesis in the Ottoman Empire.
A special characteristic of the research is the parallel utilization of Ottoman state archives and the data yielded by the rich community archives of the region brought by refugees to Greece after 1922. Private archives and interviews complete the wide spectrum of sources used by the research.