Expulsion of the Metropolitan of Serres and Nigrita by the Bulgarians, June 4, 1941

After the collapse of Greece in April 1941 and the invasion of German forces, the country was divided into three zones of occupation: German, Italian and Bulgarian. Eastern Macedonia and Thrace were ceded to Bulgaria, which sought full integration of the region into Bulgarian territory.

The Bulgarian authorities imposed a policy of bulgarianization, which included:

Expulsion of the Greek population: Many Greeks were forced to leave their homes and move to other areas of Greece or to concentration camps.
Confiscation of property: Greek property was confiscated and given to Bulgarian settlers.
Imposition of Bulgarian language and culture: Greek language was banned in schools and public services, and Greeks were forced to adopt Bulgarian culture.

In this context on June 4, 1941, Metropolitan Konstantinos was ordered by the commander of the Bulgarian Security of Serres, Videno Tsarev, to leave the city of Serres. Constantine, however, refused to obey this order, showing courage and determination.

The Metropolitan's insistence on remaining in Serres put him in danger, but also made him a symbol of resistance. Despite the pressure, the Bulgarians were unable to remove him immediately. which I managed to do today, June 4, 1941, since "those who do not comply will be punished by arms" and he was forcefully expelled from Serras.

In addition to the Metropolitan, the Bulgarians forced the voluntary departure of the Greek population to German-occupied Greece with only a small parcel of clothes and 300 leva as their only possessions, they even forced them to sign a relevant declaration. Some Serrai, mainly wealthy ones, left while most remained in the city. Of course, during the separation, whoever was stopped was given material goods, but in many cases rapes and deaths have been recorded.
Konstantinos Mengrelis (or Migrelis) was born in Sinope, Pontus, in 1886. He was ordained a deacon in 1907 by the Metropolitan of Maroneia, Nikolaos, and an elder in 1909. He graduated from the Theological School of Chalkis in 1908, after submitting a thesis entitled "Historical reliability of the Resurrection of the Lord". He served as Protosignal in the Metropolises of Heraklion, Kyzikos and Chalcedon. On March 16, 1914, the titular Bishop of Lefki, Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Chalcedon, was ordained in the Holy Church of the Holy Trinity of Chalcedon. The ordination was performed by Metropolitan Grigorios of Chalkidon, assisted by Metropolitans Polykarpo of Neo-Caesarea and Kyrillo of Mytilene. On October 13, 1922 he was elected Metropolitan of Eleftheroupolis and on February 9, 1924 he was elected Metropolitan of Serres. After the occupation of Serres by the Germans in April 1941 and the surrender of the city to the Bulgarians (May 5, 1941), despite intense pressure, he refused to leave his flock. Finally, on June 4, 1941, he was deported to the German-occupied zone. He initially moved to Athens and from July 15, 1942 he settled in the western part of his province which remained under German occupation with headquarters in Nigrita. He returned to Serres on 2 April 1945. On 11 January 1961 he resigned from active service. He fell asleep in Thessaloniki on October 14, 1963