Germanos III of Old Patras

Palaion_Patron_Germanos

Priest, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1771 – 1826)

Orthodox Metropolitan of Patras, member of the Philiki Hetaireia and the figure most closely associated with beginning the Greek War of Independence on March 25th, 1821.

He was born in Dimitsana as Georgios Kontzias or Gozias to a poor family of goldsmiths and farmers. He studied among the most renowned and respected teachers of his time in Dimitsana and then in the city of Argos. While in Argos, he was named deacon Germanos and stayed there as a monk for seven years. He later moved to Smyrna and then in Constantinople, serving as arch-deacon. In 1806 he was appointed Metropolitan of Old Patras, the highest rank of priesthood. With this rank he became a protector of the citizens and an advisor of the Turkish leaders of the local areas.

His significant diplomatic and nationalist work for the Greek War of Independence began in 1818 when he joined the Philiki Hetaireia, a secret society formed for the War. He went on to recruit many chieftains and metropolitans from Central Greece and raise the necessary money for the funding of the War. Despite his active involvement in the society, he believed that Greece was not yet ready for a revolution. He changed his mind when he realized that the Turks were surrounding the Peloponnese.

In March 1821, he traveled to Patras, Peloponnese to unite all priests of the Orthodox Chruch against the Turkish army. With the city under siege, Germanos united the priests and the chieftains, sent a letter to the Great Powers (Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Austria) informing them that they will fight for freedom or die and blessed the Greek flag and armaments. Thanks to Germanos, the revolution had already started in the Peloponnese and on March 25th, 1821, he officially declared the Greek War of Independence in the monastery of Hagia Lavra.

Germanos continued his struggle for the independence of Greece for the remainder of his life. He took place in the First and Third National Assembly and later went to Italy with Georgios Mavromichalis to persuade the Pope to support the revolution. Although he was prevented from doing so, he managed to meet and unite several Greeks living in Italy for the causes of the revolution. His continuous acts of diplomacy and conciliation in the Greek and European field provided important physical and mental support for the success of the revolution.

His contribution to Greek history is also significant due to his memoirs, which chronicle the events from the preparation for the revolution until 1823 and provide detailed insights to the Greek War of Independence. Greek historian Ioannis Philemon described Germanos as “pure in his priesthood, zealous in his struggles and righteous in his politics”.

Bigliography:

  1. “Germanos”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
  2. “Palaion Patron Germanos”. Sansimera. Web. 14 Jul. 2017.

 

Germanos III of Old Patras

Michael Kokkinis

Engineer, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (c. 1785 – 1826)

One of the most obscure heroes of the Greek War of Independence, albeit one of the brilliant minds of modern engineering and important figures of war; he was responsible for the fortification of Missolonghi during the siege.

Kokkinis was born in the island of Chios. He studied engineering in France and then taught mathematics, geography and site planning in the Greek School of Bucharest. He was fluent in Greek, Italian, German, French and Romanian. It was during this time that Kokkinis was initiated into Philiki Hetaireia and fought in the revolution of Wallachia alongside Alexandros Hypsilantis. Following the defeat of the Greeks against the Ottomans in the battle of Dragashani, he went to offer his services in Missolonghi.

In Missolonghi, he was assigned by Alexandros Mavrokordatos to fortify the city for the siege of the Ottoman army. Despite the lack of funding and the difficult living conditions, Kokkinis took on the immense task along with fellow architect Stavros Koutzoukis.

The construction took 7 continuous months to complete. Kokkinis proved a surprisingly competent leader as he directed 400 workers day and night, including men and women. He had divided his workforce according to their profession and published a daily list of duties to be carried out by each unit. He gave inspirational speeches to motivate his workers, who often worked with very little payment. He was responsible for the work shifts and wages of the 400 workers as well as obtaining funding from philhellenes and external loans.

His influence was such that every citizen of Missolongi contributed to the fortification, even children and seniors. They called him “The Fence Engineer”. Later, Kokkinis even brought his wife and children from Wallachia to finish the construction.

The fortification consisted of 23 external bastions which covered a total distance of 2 km. Each bastion was named after an influential figure of the revolution as a tribute and token of respect. The wall was built out of stone and asbestos and was covered by wooden barriers between the gaps. It was 3,5 meters tall and 7-18 meters wide. Outside the wall, he dug two 2 meter ditches, a small road and a bank. Finally, the fortress was armed with 48 cannons, placed throughout the 2 km wall. It was completed in June 16, 1824 and was blessed by Joseph, Bishop of Rogon. It was named “Hellenic Heptagon No.1”. The people of Missolonghi declared him honorary citizen and the government appointed him the rank of tribune.

Moreover, Kokkinis fortified the nearby lakes surrounding Missolongi in order to block the Ottoman fleet from entering. He called the fortifications “Fortress Byron”, in honor of Lord Byron who funded them. Finally, he created bridges that would be used when the time came to evacuate the city.

The fortress posed impregnable for the Ottoman and Egyptian army. It sustained all of the attacks during the two sieges. Every night, the people of Missolonghi would re-build the fortress from the ruins of their demolished houses. Kokkinis would step outside the wall to oversee its construction. Tunnelers would pass under the fortress and blow up the Ottoman camps.

On April 11, 1826, the heroic Exodus of Missolonghi took place. Using the bridges he had constructed, the people of Missolonghi charged towards the enemy. Kokkinis died fighting during the Exodus, alongside the many unsung heroes of the Greek War of Independence.

Bibliography:

  1. “Kokkinis, Michael”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
  2. Philistor, Ioannis. “Ο μηχανικός Μιχαήλ Κοκκίνης και η οχύρωση του τείχους του Μεσολογγίου (1823-1824)”. Istorikathemata. Web. 31 Dec. 2016.
  3. Retsina, Dimitra. “Μιχαήλ Πέτρου Κοκκίνης – Μηχανικός Επιστήμων και Ήρωας Εξόδου Μεσολογγίου (1826)”. Freepen. Web. 31 Dec. 2016.
  4. Tasios, Theodosios. “Three Modern Greek Heralds of Engineering”. Archaeology and Arts. Jul. 2011: 97. Print.
Michael Kokkinis

Demetrios Galanos

Dimitrios_Galanos

Philosopher, Indologist (1760 – 1833)

Demetrios Galanos was the first and most renowned Greek Indologist and Brahmin, having spent 47 years of his life in India, researching and translating the Hindu culture and religion as well as popularizing their philosophy.

Galanos was born in Athens. He studied Greek philology, theology and music in Athens, Mesolonghi, Patmos and Constantinople before settling in India in 1786 after invitation by a wealthy Greek merchant from Calcutta to work as a teacher for his children. Galanos studied the Hindu religion and philosophy, especially the Vedas, learned Sanskrit, Persian and a number of other Eastern languages.

In 1793 he settled in the holy city of Benares where he became a Brahmin and lived an ascetic life of meditation and virtue alongside the other Brahmins. He was honoured as a sage and a saint by the Brahmins and the peoples alike.

His life-long work consists of translations of the Hindu philosophy, including the Vedas from Sanskrit to Greek. He compiled dictionaries of Greek-English-Sanscrit language, lexicons and books on their mythology. His books were donated to the Academy of Athens, which created the Library of the University of Athens, 4 years prior to the University’s foundation using his collection. In return to the knowledge he acquired from the Indians, Galanos, being a Greek philologist and philosopher, disseminated the Greek philosophy to them to the point where he was called the “Plato of his time”. The Greek mythology and the Greek philosophers, such as Pythagoras and Isocrates, became known to the Indians thanks to Galanos.

Galanos became the first European Indologist ever recorded in history; his works introduced the Hindu studies in Europe, which were unfamiliar prior to his contribution. Although he never returned to Greece after his departure to India, he kept contact with his family and friend in Greece, who kept him updated on the events of the Greek War of Independence. He died in Benares, where he is buried, 3 years after learning of the independence of Greece.

Bibliography

  1. “Galanos, Demetrios”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
  2. Kargakos, S.Ι., 1994, Δημήτριος Γαλανός ο Αθηναίος (1760-1833)-ο Πρώτος Ευρωπαίος Ινδολόγος, Gutenberg. Athens. Print.
Demetrios Galanos

Emmanouel Pappas

Emmanouil_Pappas

Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1772 – 1821)

Emmanouel Pappas was one of the greatest leading figures of the Greek War of Independence. He was a member of the Society of Friends (Philiki Hetaereia) and the one responsible for lighting the flame of the Greek War of Independence in Macedonia.

In spite of his poor education, Pappas became a prominent merchant and banker, with stores in Vienna and Constantinople. He would lend money to Turkish officials, thus exerting a powerful influence over the administration of Macedonia. After an event that nearly cost him his life, Pappas went to Constantinople where he was initiated to the Society of Friends and offered large amounts of money in its support.

In 1821, two days before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence, Pappas gathered arms and set sail for Hagion Oros, where he would prepare the peoples of Macedonia for the revolt. By June of the same year, the revolution had begun spreading rapidly throughout Macedonia. Pappas, in spite of the lack of food, arms and manpower exerted extraordinary efforts to awaken the subjugated Greeks of West and Central Macedonia, giving all of his fortune to support the war. In the Battle of Cassanda the Greeks lost the battle against the Ottomans. This marked the endpoint of Pappas’ struggles. Having barely survived the battle, he retreated to Hagion Oros, where the priests had made contract with the Ottoman forces to arrest him. Pappas fled from Hagion Oros on a boat, thanks to a monk named Cyrill, and arrived in Hydra, but dead, having suffered a heart attack.

Emmanouel Pappas was named “Leader and Protector of Macedonia”. He stood as one of the most virtuous heroes of the Greek War of Independence who sacrificed everything in the name of freedom of the Greek nation. Three of his eight sons fell in battle, one of them next to Papaflessas in the heroic Battle of Maniaki. He held the War of Independence alive in Chalkidiki for 6 months, inspiring the Greeks to rise against the oppressor and fight for their freedom.

Bibliography

  1. D-Mak. Eμμανουήλ Παπάς, ο Σερραίος αρχιστράτηγος των Mακεδονικών δυνάμεων της Eλληνική Eπανάστασης του 1821. History of Macedonia. History-of-macedonia.com. Web. April 15, 2010.
  2. Εμμανουήλ Παππάς. Σαν Σήμερα. Sansimera.gr. Web.
Emmanouel Pappas

Manto Mavrogenous

manto_mavrogenous

Heroine of the Greek War of Independence (1796 – 1848)

Manto Mavrogenous was one of the few women who distinguished in the Greek War of Independence. She descended from the wealthy Phanariot family Mavrogenis (meaning Blackbeard), who was involved with commerce. She spent her entire family’s fortune to support the Greeks in the war, ending up poor and forgotten.

She was born in Trieste. When the Greek War of Independence began, her family moved to Paros and Manto was initiated into the Society of Friends (Philiki Hetaereia). She actively joined the war and contributed initially by clearing the Aegean archipelago from Turkish and Algerian pirates with her fleet. Afterwards, she funded the equipment of Mykonian ships, with which she participated in battles in Karystos, Pylion, Leivadia and Phthiotis. In 1822 she led the Mykonians into battle against the Algerian invasion in Mykonos. The same year, as captain of her own private navy, Manto descended to Peloponessus where she fought in battles dressed as a man. For a woman, this was very radical, at the time. She was recognized as the spirit of the Greek War of Independence of Mykonos.

As a result of her huge economic support to the Greek War of Independence, her governing skills in the navy and her epistles to French and English women for their support in the War, Manto’s name became very popular in Europe. Her contribution in the battles has been written extensively by foreign historians. Shortly after the nation’s independence, she was appointed leutenant general by John Kapodistrias as well as inspector of the orphanage of Aegina.

In the end, Manto had given everything she owned for the freedom of the nation. She had even given all her jewlery so that 2000 people from Messolonghi would be nursed and sheltered. In her own words, she said “It is not important what I will become, as long as my country is free. After I give everything I can provide for the holy cause of freedom, I will go to the battlefield of the Greeks to die if it is needed”. She died of typhus in Nauplion, in a house she had been granted by the government in utter poverty.

Bibliography

  1. Konstantaras, Konstantinos. Το Άδοξο Τέλος των Αγωνιστών του 21᾿. Hilektron Publications: Athens, 2016. Print.
  2. Lampsidis, Georgios. Μαντώ Μαυρογένους – Μια μαύρη σελίδα της επανάστασης του 1821. History of Macedonia. History-of-macedonia.com. Web. February 17, 2011.
Manto Mavrogenous

Nikitaras

Nikitaras

General, Statesman, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1787 – 1849)

Nikitas Stamatelopoulos was known by many different names; he was called Tourkophagos (Turk-eater) and Nikitaras, his name meaning “victory”. He was one of the greatest heroes and protagonists of the Greek War of Independence, next to his uncle, Theodore Kolokotronis. He fought in all of the major battles of the Greek War of Independence, proving his decisive role in its outcome.

From a young age he was introduced in the harsh way of life of the harmatoles. After losing his father from the Ottomans, Nikitaras followed Theodore Kolokotronis throughout all his operations. His devotion to his uncle was recorded in the people’s saying “The head was of Kolokotronis, the arm was of Nikitaras”. In 1818, 3 years before the outbreak of the War, Nikitaras was initiated in the Society of Friends, whereupon he became an active member, travelling to Peloponnesus in attempt to initiate others and join the war that was slowly coming.

On March 23, 1821, Nikitaras joined Kolokotronis and entered in Kalamata. On May 12th of the same year, Nikitaras led an army of 800 troops victoriously against the Ottomans in the Battle of Valtetsi, thus granting the Greeks a victory in one of the most important battles during the war. Soon thereafter, he proved his military skills and valour in the Battle of Doliana, where he defeated 6000 Ottomans with an army of 200 Greek men. These two battles rendered him one of the most heroic fighters of the war. He continued in the Battle of Vervena, where he won the battles one after the other. Finally, on September 23rd of the same year, Nikitaras, together with Theodore Kolokotronis, Demetrios Plapoutas, Anagnostaras, Petrobey Mavromichalis and Demetrios Hypsilantis fought in the siege of Tripolitsa, ultimately reclaiming the capitol of Moria and decimating the Turkish and Jewish population. In 1822, along with 700 of his men he fought in the Battles of Stylis and Hagias Marinas, alongside Odysseus Androutsos.

The apex of his heroic virtue was in the Battle of Dervenakia, the most important battle of the Greek War of Independence. The Greeks, led by Theodore Kolokotronis put an end to Dramali’s descent to Peloponnesus by facing 3000 Turks in the small mountain pass of Dervenakia. Nikitaras was also present here, alongside Demetrios Plapoutas, Demetrios Hypsilantis, Papaflessas and Panos Kolokotronis. It was in this battle that Nikitaras earned the nickname “Turk-eater” because during the battle he broke 3 of his sword from the force he was striking.

Nikitaras was never absent from any of the major battles of the war. After the Battle of Dervenakia, Nikitaras continued fighting in a numerous battles, including the second siege of Mesolonghi, the victorious Battle of Arachova, on the side of Georgios Karaiskakis and his 800 men and the Battle of Phaleron, again together with Karaiskakis, who died in battle.

Nikitaras lived long enough to see his homeland free and to live the ingratitude of the nation. He was an avid supporter of John Kapodistrias, who appointed him to various positions of power including President of the Hellenic Parliament. He attempted to open a paper manufacturing company but with the arrival of King Otto, the plans were abandoned. He was sentenced, imprisoned and beaten repeatedly while in jail until he was proven innocent and freed. The government granted him with a permission to “beg” outside the Church of Evangelistria every Friday, where he would go beg, almost blind. One day, when the Russian ambassador came to visit him while he was begging and asked him what he was doing, Nikitaras replied “I am enjoying my free homeland”. “You’re enjoying it here, sitting on the streets?” said the Russian ambassador. Nikitaras then said “My homeland has granted me with a pension, to live well, but I come here to take a glimpse of how the people are doing”. The ambassador realized and let a small pouch of golden coins to fall from his pocket was he was leaving. Nikitaras saw it and told the ambassador: “Your pouch fell down; Take it, so that you don’t lose it and nobody else finds it”. He died in utter poverty at the age of 68 from diabetes.

Nikitaras remained in history as the most virtuous soul of the Greek War of Independence and one of the greatest heroic figures in Greek history, together with Theodore Kolokotronis, the old man of Morea, his most beloved uncle, whose tomb lies next to Nikitaras’.

Bibliography

  1. “Nikitaras”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
  2. Konstantaras, Konstantinos. The Inglorious End of the Heroes of 21’. Hilektron Publications: Athens, 2016. Print.
Nikitaras

Evgenios Voulgaris

Evgenios_Voulgaris

Philosopher, Theologist, Scholar, Teacher of the Greek Nation (1716 – 1806)

Evgenios Voulgaris was one of the greatest Teachers of the Greek Nation. He was one of the pioneers of the Greek Enlightenment movement, a polyglot and polymath who played a pivotal role in the dissemination of the sciences from the West back to Greece and struggled for the awakening of the subjugated Greek Nation. His actions, together with the rest of the Teachers of the Greek Nation, led to the events of the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

He originated from Corfu. Among his first teachers was Methodios Anthrakites, who influenced him significantly during his life. He continued his studies in Padua where he became acquainted with the works of ancient Greek and modern philosophers, such as John Locke and Gottfried von Leibnitz. In addition, he studied Greek, Latin and theology. By the end of his studies, Voulgaris spoke 10 different languages: Greek, Latin, Italian, German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, Russian and Chaldean.

In 1742 he returned to Greece where he became headmaster of the School of Maroutsis Bros in Ioannina. There, he taught philosophy, mathematics, geometry, logic, physics, cosmology and theology from his own textbooks, influenced by the Western European philosophy. He introduced the works of John Locke and Voltaire to Greece based on his own translations of their work. He continued his pedagogic work as headmaster in the School of Kozani and in the Athonite Ecclesiastical School, where he attracted hundreds of students, some of the most notable ones being St. Cosmas of Aetolia, Sergios Macraios and Josephus Mοisiodax. In 1761, he was called up by the Patriarchy of Constantinople, where he taught philosophy and mathematics in the Patriarchic School and was later appointed palatine.

Later, he settled in Leipzig, Germany for 8 years, where he published his original treatises on theology and philosophy. He befriended Catherine the Great and with her help, they published pamphlets to reawaken the Greeks during the Orlov Revolt. Voulgaris was appointed librarian of the Library of St. Petersburg, member of the Academy of St. Petersburg and Archbishop of Kherson.

Evgenios Voulgaris was a multifarious personality and represented one of the greatest intellectuals of Greece of his era. Philosopher, pedagogue and theologist, with profound knowledge in the natural sciences, he was recognized as a sage both inside and outside of Greece. He combated religious superstition and preached for freedom of religion. His massive bibliography includes valuable books on logic, mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy, ethics, music and Homer. Except these, he translated important works of European philosophers and poets, most notably Vergil’s Aeneid.

Like most representatives of the Greek Enlightenment, Voulgaris faced great opposition from the Church. He was accused of introducing dangerous ideas from the West, which forced him to constantly change schools. Nevertheless, his impact on the subjugated Greeks was enormous. He died at the age of 90, having opened the way to the Greek Enlightenment and the spiritual renaissance of the Greek Nation.

Bibliography

  1. Christodoulou, Alexandros. Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης, ο γενάρχης του νεοελληνικού Διαφωτισμού. ΠΕΜΠΤΟΥΣΙΑ. Pemptousia.gr. Web. June 9, 2016. Retrieved on March 30, 2017.
  2. “Evgenios Voulgaris”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.
  3. Papathanasopoulos, Georgios. Ευγένιος Βούλγαρης: Μέγας Διδάσκαλος του Γένους. Ινφογνώμων Πολιτικά. Infognomonpolitics.blogspot.bg. Web. November 16, 2016. Retrieved on March 30, 2017.
Evgenios Voulgaris