Teacher of the Greek Nation, Philosopher, Scholar, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1784 – 1860)
During the Enlightenment period in Greece, a few years before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, a handful of “enlightened” or educated people, both inside and outside of the borders of subjugated Greece, were struggling to bring about a spiritual revival in Greece so that to educate and prepare the enslaved Greek nation. One of them was Theoklitos Farmakidis.
At the age of 18 he became deacon and later studied in the Patriarchic School of Constantinople, as well as in schools in Iasion, Cydonia and Bucharest. Later he studied in the University of Gottingen with the financial support of Lord Gilford. His work began when he started translating works from Latin to Greek in the temple of St. George of Vienna. For two years worked as a publisher in Λόγιος Ἑρμῆς (Logios Hermes), the major incunabulum published in Europe in Greek language, contributed by many Teachers of the Greek Nation.
With the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, Farmakidis, having been initiated into the Society of Friends, came to Greece and fought alongside Demetrios Hypsilantis. With the prince’s support he published the first Greek newspaper Ἑλληνικὴ Σάλπιγξ (Hellenic Salpingx) which he distributed throughout Greece. He participated in the first two National Assemblies and later became member of the Supreme Court of Greece. He served as professor in the Ionian Academy where he taught for 3 years. He served as chief editor of the very first issues of the Government Gazette in Nauplion.
Following the assassination of Ioannis Kapodistrias, Farmakidis occupied several positions of the church and state. He was appointed ephorus of the schools in Aegina and the orphanage of Aegina, served as general secretary of the Holy Synod and became professor of theology and philosophy in the University of Athens. His radical ideas on political and theological issues concerning the state often made him a target of the government. This resulted to his imprisonment and loss of the positions he held. He was the main proponent of the independence of the Church of Greece from the Oecumenical Patriarchy, which in the end was achieved.
Farmakidis is widely recognized as one of the most significant theologists of the 19th century and one of the most important spiritual figures of the Greek Enlightenment. A brotherly friend of Theophilos Kairis and Adamantios Korais, he was a humble and honest man, a polymath, a fighter and flaming patriot who stood firm to his beliefs on the revival of the Greek nation and its religious autonomy from the Oecumenical Patriarchy. He had been called “truth seeker” and “political theologist”.
While him himself poor, Farmakidis gave most of the money he earned to the impoverished and did not accept any accolades for his work. He had declined the Order of the Redeemer by the king stating that “If I did something good, it was my duty. My reward for this is my consciousness that I have fulfilled it”. Any money that remained in his possession was used to purchase books. Farmakidis died in 1860 in complete poverty.
- “Farmakidis, Theoklitos”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
- Επισημάνσεις στον Πατριωτισμό του Θεόκλητου Φαρμακίδη. Pemptousia.gr. Web. April 24, 2012. Retrieved on October 14, 2016.
- Φαρμακίδης Θεόκλητος (1784 – 1860). Argolikivivliothiki.gr. Web. February 3, 2011. Retrieved on October 15, 2016.