A Timeline for the Village of Efkere

Last updated December 30, 2017

A Timeline for the Village of Efkere

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has put together a concise timeline for the major events in this villages history before.

This is a work in progress.  Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions for additions that you might have.

Efkere changed forever in 1915.  It seemed reasonable to first post a history of the village up until that year, before tackling later events.

1st Century–according to an Armenian legend, the monastery that would become Efkere’s Surp Garabed Vank was founded by St Thaddeus

Beginning of fourth century–according to an Armenian legend, the monastery that would become Surp Garabed Vank was founded by St Gregory the Illuminator, who was traveling from Caesarea to Armenia with the relics of Saint John the Baptist.  St Gregory is said to have rested here, and left some of the relics on the hillside that would become the monastery.

1206– A colophon includes the first definitive reference to Surp Garabed monastery.

1417–The first definitive recorded evidence of Efkere, an inscription in the Temple of the Holy Resurrection in Jerusalem names Bishop Toros, “Bishop of Hevgara and Cesaria”, suggesting that the village is heavily populated by Armenians.

1530–Census records reveal Efkere to be registered as a village in the jurisdiction of Koramaz township.

1560–A manuscript (Aristotle’s Signature) mentions “Cesarea and the village of Evkara under the protection of the monastery of the great St Garabed of Amlordi”

1584–There were 265 non-Muslim men in the village subject to taxes, and one Muslim man subject to taxes.

1618–Simeon Lehatsi notes that there were 300  Armenian households in the “big village in front of St. Garabed’s”, along with 3 churches.

1683–Perhaps the first mention of Surp Stepanos church, which was the principle church in the  village.   A manuscript by the priest Hovsep Yerets from 1683 indicates that it was written for “the village-city known as Hyuraka, at the doors of St Stephen the Protomartyr, and St Sergius and George, the Generals.”  Yerets likely served the village as priest.

1693-1718. Numerous manuscripts written in Efkere by Haroutiun, who would go on to become a priest in the village

1718–Surp Kevork Church is noted in an almanac from this year.  Also noted in the same almanac are the churches of St. Merecherios and St Theodore, of which no further information is known.

1819–Nahabed Rusinian, Armenian physician, poet, writer, orator born in Efkere.

1820s–The first school in Efkere, with the exception of the religious training at the monastery, is established under the direction of Bavghabt Rousinian.  Its first teacher was Deacon Asdvadzadour, a student at the monastery who went on to later become a priest in the village

1831–According to the Ottoman census, Efkere was comprised of five separate neighborhoods: Cavdarli (Armenian residents), Demirci (Armenian residents), Han (Armenian residents), Kuzey (Armenian residents), and Cesme (Turkish residents).

1834–Charles Texier, a Frenchman, visits the region, including Efkere.

August 13, 1835–Major earthquake strikes the Kayseri region, two hours before sunrise, with several aftershocks.  Extensive damage throughout region, with some nearby villages almost completely destroyed.  Loss of life.  Reports from Efkere lacking, but the monastery is definitely damaged.  Aftershocks  recurred regularly up until September, and continued intermittently for up to a year.

1840–Census records reveal 200 Armenian households, with 565 males.  The Armenian population was 4 times greater than the Muslim population.

1853–“Anadol–The Last Home of the Faithful”, by John Henry Skene, is published, with a brief description of Efkere and the monastery.

1860–Ottoman census carried out.  Small portions of this census pertaining to Efkere have been published.

1871– Surp,Stepanos church is at least partially rebuilt.

1872–A postal station is present in Efkere.

1872-1873.  120 male students are enrolled in the village school, now referred to as Haygian

1875–Census reveals 321 Armenian households and 60 Turkish households.

1879–Rev H F Tozer visits the monastery, and later includes a description of it in a travelogue that he publishes.

1886- A girls school is present in the village since at least this date

1880s–Small Armenian Catholic community forms.

1886–Life of Armenians in Efkere is described in Vdaranti (The Exile).  Describes the Armenian villagers as belonging to any one of five different political parties.  Quarreling.

1888–Catholic church is built.

1895–Three men from Efkere leave for America, including Garabed (Jeknavorenk) Sahagian and Vahan Minasian

1901 — The village school, now called Torkomian-Akabian, has 170 students (130 boys, 40 girls)

April, 1905.  In “Manzoume”, Krikor Eorjian described the girls school as being “in a very pitiful state.. . .Girls aged 7-12 generally attend it.”

1910s–The village priest, Der Mesrob Sahagian, travels to America, visit numerous cities where there were Armenians, and gives sermons.  Returns to Efkere, encouraging the youth to also travel to America, earn money, and then return home.

There are at least two other village priests at this time:  Father Madtheos Donigian, and Father Boghos Kesigbashian.

Late summer, 1912.  Cholera epidemic in Efkere.  Approximately 30 deaths in the village.  50-60 households deserted the village during the epidemic.  Village blockaded for 30 days by the government, with nobody allowed to enter or leave.

1913–“The Educational Society for the Girls School of Hefkara” formed in New York by diasporan Efkeretzis to raise money for the girls school.  Base was at 321 E. 29th St, 11th Floor.

Early 1914 (?January).  Typhus epidemic hits Efkere.  5-10 deaths.

1914–Bishop Drtad Balian notes that there were 500 Armenian households and 50 Turkish households in the village.

1914–Village priest Der Mesrob Sahagian again in America.  Conducts the first Armenian vesper service in Racine, Wisconsin.