The Significant Legacy of Panajot Kesmeci


People who have heard how each stone hums with the voices of the epochs do not die immediately. They are like stars! The radiance of their soul illuminates the earth for a long time, on which they left a deep, kind, significant mark.

As the pride of their culture and a wonderful contribution to the treasury of universal values, the creative heritage of the writer-historian Panayot Kesmedzhi also entered.

He was a man of honor: an attentive brother, a faithful friend, a reliable and caring family man, purposeful, immersed in himself, thinking, in love with all eras. He was captivated by ancient Greek history and philosophy from an early age, and the collected library – his pride – allows you to find any information about Ancient Greece. His teachers and inspirers were ancient historians, philosophers and his own thought, seeing, hearing, free from extraneous influence. History is his passion, his love. The warmth of this love is filled with all his work. Never did anything to please anyone or anything. Love for history, its people, its spirit is stronger, more sacred, and this could not fail to ensure the success of his search.

Panayot Alekseevich Kesmedzhi was born in 1946 May 9, Victory Day, in the city of Kokand, Uzbek SSR, in a family of Pontic Greeks expelled from the Crimea (Yalta) in 1944. Childhood was difficult. In 1966 he graduated from the Kokand road technical school, having received the specialty of a builder. Since 1968, after serving in the army, he worked as a foreman, head of the section of the Spetselevatormelstroy trust. Work, sports, books – the main thing that occupied him. In 1977 he moved with his family to the Crimea, where he then stood at the origins of the revival and development of Greek culture on the peninsula, published in newspapers and magazines of the Crimea, Russia, Greece.

In 1990, he was invited by the City Hall of Thessaloniki to a festival of Pontic culture. In 1998 he participated in the 4th World Congress of Pontic Hellenism. He is the laureate of the M. Macedonian Prize in 1999 – for social and literary activities, contribution and development of Greek culture in the Crimea. From 1996 to 2018, books written by him in collaboration with his sons George and Alexander were published and republished: “The Greeks of Crimea”, “Mithridates Evpator”, “The Principality of Theodoro”, the play “The Price of Betrayal” in the collection “As if everything happened to me” , “Mercenary”, “Prince Alexander”, “History of the Principality of Theodoro. Greek toponymy of Crimea”, “Bosporets”, “Rebellious Taurica”, “Rebellious Taurica. Asander”, stories in the collection of Nikolai and Sofia Yuryevs “Approach the Horizon”. In recent years, he has collaborated with the Russian Athens online publication. His articles have been read in 170 countries around the world.

In his publications, he called for love, appreciation, and study of the spiritual heritage of the Greek people, who for thousands of years faced fatal trials, but did not lose their humanity, did not dissolve, did not disappear, did not lose their identity, but each time revived their culture, continued its development and carried to other nations. In many ways, this became possible thanks to people like Panayot Alekseevich Kesmedzhi.

You spoke with the eras more than once,

You heard the voice of a stone, seeing the image,

I wrote about it, being proud of my ancestors,

And rushed into battle. And you were chosen by them.

Your pages will outlive us

Creations were made for posterity.

Where is the strength, beauty, freedom spirit

Sung righteously by you and loudly.

My memory is always with you.
Sofia Yuryeva – Kesmedzhi

PANAYOT KESMEDZHI

“I decided to write a historical and popular essay about the Greeks of Crimea after numerous meetings with the Greeks scattered after the Stalinist deportation in 1944 throughout the former USSR and Greece. None of them came across a work that tells about the history of the Greeks of Crimea: from the emergence of Greek colonies to the present day. Without claiming to be scientific, I tried to express my view on the historical fate of a part of my ethnic group, its formation and development over two and a half millennia, to trace relations and connections with other peoples of Crimea.

This is how the first work of Panayot Kesmedji begins, setting the tone for all his subsequent activities. “No one … came across labor”, “without pretending to be scientific”, “the historical fate of part of their ethnic group” – these are not dry scientific phrases. Panayot Kesmeci was one of those who for thousands of years, despite the difficult times, found the strength not to give up, but to take up interesting work that carried other compatriots along with it and led to a new round of revival and development of culture. One of those thanks to whom the Greeks of Crimea did not dissolve, did not disappear and did not forget their name.

He did not have the opportunity to receive a historical education. The time was not right. He became a builder. And a writer…

The Greeks have a tradition of naming their eldest grandson after their grandfather… And both of his sons named their children after Panayot Alekseevich. Two grandchildren – two Panayots. One in Greece, the other in Russia. With mixed feelings, they look at the covers of books on which their names are displayed. There was one Panayot, there were two …

Alexander Kesmedzhi



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