Life Story: Elena Stavrianidis, 84; Native Of Greece, Fled Persecution

Mrs. Stavrianidis passed on peacefully to the Lord on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.

Mrs. Stavrianidis was born in 1925 in the city of the Black Sea Batoumi in the province of Georgia, which was then part of the former Soviet Union. Her parents, Angelo and Xanthippe had fled with their families from the region of Trebzond on the Northern part of Asia Minor to avoid ethnic and religious persecution in the late 1800s.

We should note that the city of Trebzond was part of the ancient Greek world and the Byzantine Empire until it became a province of the Ottoman Empire in 1461.

During the 18th and the 19th centuries waves of Greeks from Pontos (which was the name of the whole region of Northern Turkey) fled to nearby Russia, which was not yet under communist rule, in order to avoid ethnic and religious persecution. There, they created strong and prosperous communities until the collapse of the czar and the take-over by the Bolshevic communists in 1919. The new suppressive communist regime started a cruel and murderous campaign against thousands of Greeks who were a very prosperous and productive community in the coastal cities along the Black Sea of the former Soviet Union. Nearly 30,000 Greeks of Pontian descent were sent to Siberia – most of them without a trial and with no substantial accusation. Nearly all of them vanished in the extremely low temperatures of Siberia.

Elena’s father, Angelo, was one of the victims of this political and ethnic cleansing. He was imprisoned by the KGB and was sent to Siberia never to be seen again by his family. This incident prompted Elena’s family to flee again from communist Russia and seek refuge in Greece in the midst of World War II.

World War II and the civil war in Greece were the next two major tragic events that Elena’s family had to overcome. In 1946 George Stavrianidis met his lovely bride Elena – or Ellie as she is fondly called – and united their lives for the next sixty-one years until George’s passing in 2008.

In the 1960s George, Ellie and their two young children Peter and Dorothy immigrated to the United States – started a new life and through hard work they managed to live the American dream and see their children and grandchildren succeeding in life.

Elena Stavrianidis was a very gentle lady with total dedication to her family and always eager to provide hospitality and shelter to the needy. She was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church of Piscataway, NJ, and a longtime participant of the Philoptochos Society and the Daughters of Penelope.

She was an excellent cook and an avid music lover playing occasionally the piano during family gatherings. She will certainly be missed by all her family and the community.

Elena is survived by her children Peter and Dora and their spouses Maggie and Tasso, a brother Stavros, her grandchildren George, Jason, Constantine, Sophia and Pablo, Elias and Renee, and her great-granddaughter Dorothea – Elaina.

We will always love her and miss her and carry her legacy with honor and pride!

The program for the services is as follows:

Funeral Service is on Friday, Dec. 27 at 10:30am at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Piscataway, followed by: Burial Service at Van Liew Cemetery, 585 Georges Rd, North Brunswick, NJ 08902. Followed by: Repast Luncheon at the Pines Manor.

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