This story on this page was going to be different. It is not completed, and it won’t be. This is about Nikos Manginas, who was a journalist and a photographer at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. We lost Nikos on 10th April 2021.
Nikos was a generous, helpful person with a great sense of humour. I am grateful to him for his time and support. He always hosted me with a warm welcome and generously gave gifts, such as books that are relevant to my research. Although he told me a lot about himself, we did not manage to conclude our discussions about the Patriarchate, Fener and Beyoğlu, about himself and his family. Here I’ll write what I know, based on the time I spent with him.
Nikos was ‘a child of Beyoğlu’ as he put it. That’s where he began taking photographs. He was a graduate of the Zografyon Greek High School and studied in Athens afterwards.
When I first met him at the Patriarchate, I was wating for permission to film in a church. We started chatting. He listened to me talk about what I was doing and told me his story. He told me about his mother, Anastasia Nikolaidou Mangina, who was a teacher and a headmaster at the Greek orphanage in Büyükada; he showed me a picture of her. We agreed that he would tell me more details about his mother and family another time, and we planned to meet again.
He also briefly mentioned his grandfather, who died in the Gallipoli Campaign as an Ottoman soldier when Nikos’s mother was 3. His grandfather, Nikola Nikolaidis, was born in the historical Greek ‘Rum’ settlement in Trilye, in the Mudanya District of Bursa, a city in the north west of Turkey. He told me that his mother was proud of her father because of the sacrifice that he made for his country, although she only ever saw him in photographs. Nikos gave me a copy of a newspaper article in which he talked about his grandfather. He was disappointed that although his grandfather was a şehit [martyr], the contribution of ‘non-Muslims’ (a term he disliked because he felt it implied discrimination) in the wars went unrecognised. Nikos was given the name of his martyred grandfather’s.
He showed me that he had a vast archive of photographs of the Patriarch Bartholomew that he himself had taken. Nikos was very close to the Patriarch and had followed and took photographs of him since 1991, in his all national and international visits, in his services, and sometimes in his daily life. Once I was talking to Nikos at the Patriarchate and he wanted to go to the church immediately when he heard that the Patriarch was going to attend the evening prayer. This was just a normal routine prayer, and not otherwise a special occasion. The presence of the Patriarch was the main focus for him. We went to St George’s Church at the Patriarchate and he took many photographs of him.