MICHAIL KONSTANTINIDIS (1892-1958)

Jews in Corinth
According to the 1928 population census, there were no Jews in Corinth. In 1940, 15 Jewish families with Greek citizenship were expelled from Italy and settled in Corinth. During the Italian occupation, these refugees Jews worked as interpreters because of their knowledge of Italian. Testimony by a member of the diocesan staff suggests Corinth’s Jews fled when the persecutions began.

The prelate
Michail Konstantinidis served as Metropolitan of Corinth from 1939 to 1949, succeeding Damaskinos upon his election archbishop. Michail had studied at Halki seminary in Istanbul and in Kiev. He was a patriarchal exarch and locum tenens at the Maroneia see, where he was involved with refugee resettlement. In Corinth, he became known for his guidance and social work. He was later elected Archbishop of America.

Support and solace
The Metropolis of Corinth housed the Jewish refugees from Italy at various institutions and provided them with food in cooperation with the Jewish Community of Athens.

Testimony
“Throughout the duration of the Occupation and despite the various needs that the Holy Metropolis was called upon to handle, it did not omit to follow the fortunes of these families, for which the Jewish Community of Athens also expressed its gratitude. When the Germans demanded that [they] wear armbands [sic], most disappeared, fleeing to safety in large urban centres and rural villages.”

Testimony of an employee of Corinth diocese in 1966. As a letter from the Holy Metropolis of Corinth noted, “there is nothing in the archive”.

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