Religion and education are the two factors that have helped the survival of Pontian Hellenism from antiquity to the present. In the year 35 A.D., the Apostle Saint Andrew was the first preacher of Christianity in the Pontus region and by the 2nd century A.D., Christianity quickly spread to the coastal Black sea area and the inner region of Pontos.
Throughout the centuries, Pontos produced well known scholars such as Bessarion (theologian, philosospher), Georgios Amiroutzis, Georgios Chrysokokkis (physician, astronomer), Genadios of Trebizond, Saint Eugenius of Trebizond and many others.
During the Comnenus dynasty (1204-1461), the cultural and educational activities of the Pontos reached their highest peaks.
According to Diamantis Lazaridies, Vice–Chairman of the Committee of Pontic Studies in his essay “The Pontos of the Hellenes” published by Ephesus Publishing:
“….…the religious belief of the Pontians ran very deep, was purely Orthodox and was cultivated by the Church, the school and the family. The product of this faith was the large number of places of worship –churches, monasteries, chapels and country churches-which one could see in cities, tons, and villages, in the forests and on the hills.
”Sophronis Hatzisavvides, Professor of Linguistics, Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in his essay “Greek Education in Pontos”, published by Ephesus Publishing, observed the significance of religion and education to the Pontian Greeks:
“.. ….one might conclude that by saying that the high educational and cultural level of Trebizond and of Pontos as a whole, which was based on the Greek language, Orthodox tradition and engagement with scholarly pursuits, made it possible for refugees from Pontos to overcome the problems they faced and to integrate easily into Greek society” after they were expelled from their homeland.
In the centuries following the Ottoman Turk conquest in 1461, religious practice and education was held hostage to the attitudes of the various Ottoman rulers: but even during these difficult years, the Pontian Greeks managed to preserve their religion, culture, tradition and dialect until their expulsion.