Teacher of the Greek Nation (1714 – 1779)
One of the greatest spiritual figures of the 18th century and the greatest Teacher of the Greek nation during the Turkish rule. He was born approximately 100 years before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in Aetolia and became a monk in Mount Athos after studying theology and philosophy close to monks. There he delved into the spiritual teachings of Christianity and completed his studies next to prominent Teachers of the Greek nation, namely Eugenios Vulgaris. From that point onward, Cosmas walked the lands of his subjugated country in an effort to combat illiteracy and imbue his people with freedom to rise against the Turks.
His work can be summarized as following: He travelled to villages and preached with great passion. His preaches had either religious or ethnic theme. He spoke the language of the people, which was simple but also powerful, inspiring and patriotic. He preached about love, solidarity, against speculation, the rich, the merchants and mainly against islamization. Huge crowds of Greeks and even Turks gathered in awe to listen to his words.
He founded churches and 247 Greek schools in 30 municipalities that he passed from in just 16 years. Cosmas had said that “It is better to have schools in your country rather than rivers and fountains, because rivers water the body, schools water the soul”. He encouraged the Greeks to study the Greek language and to baptize their children. For this reason he founded 4000 baptismal fonts. In addition, he freed 1500 Christian midwives from the harems of the Pasha.
Cosmas was more than a teacher and revolutionary. He was a prophet and a thaumaturgist. He prophesized events about the future of the Greek race, most of which occurred and are still occurring today. He predicted the automobiles, the telephone and the airplane. It is believed that Cosmas cured the deaf and the paralyzed, according to descriptions in his two books Teachings and Prophecies.
A poor and humble monk, Cosmas managed with his own efforts to plant the seeds of liberty in the souls of the Greeks. His preaches caused the hatred of the Jewish and the Turks, who arrested him and subsequently hanged him in public view. His body was then thrown into a river and was found and buried by a monk in Kolikontasi, where every year he is celebrated as a saint after his canonization by the Orthodox Church on the day of his death. His tremendous impact on his fellow Greeks renders him a prodrome of the Greek War of Independence.
- ΑΓΙΟΣ ΚΟΣΜΑΣ Ο ΑΙΤΩΛΟΣ. Agrino.org. August 21, 2016. Web.
- Father Maxim Varvaris. Ο ΒΙΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΕΡΟΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΙΣΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΥ ΚΟΣΜΑ ΤΟΥ ΑΙΤΩΛΟΥ. Agioskosmas.gr. August 21, 2016. Web.
- “Kosmas o Aetolos”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.