GEORGE D. FLESSAS OR GREGORIOS PAPAFLESSAS (DIKAIOS, ARMODIOS), 1788-1825

BIOGRAPHY,

 

A GREEK CLERGYMAN, A REVOLUTIONARY, FIGHTER AND ONE OF THE KEY-APOSTOLES OF THE SECRET ORGANIZATION, CALLED “SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, PHILIKI ETAIRIA)”.

PAPAFLESSAS was born in 1788 in the village of POLIANI of MESSENIAS. His father was Demetrious G. Flessas and his mother, the second wife of Demetrious, Constantine Andronaiou from Demetsana. He was given the name George after his grand father who was killed by the Turks in 1777 during the Orlof revolution in Peloponnesus.

In Poliani, at the time there lived two powerful families the “Dikaios” and the “Flessas” families. Both bean against the Turks they had their sheepfolds in the mountainous area of Poliani and continuously they were fighting about grazing grounds in the area. In 1844 two members of the Flessas family Staikos and Lykourgos Flessas they were abused and killed by the Dikaios family because of disputes about grazing grounds.

In 1809 he at­tended school at the renowned SCHOOL OF DEMETSANA where a lot of Greek National heroes graduated from, like Gregarious the V, Anagnostopoulos etc. While in school he published a “satyre” and pinned it in the door of the Demetsana Pashas (The Turk local governor at the time) signed “Gregorius FOS Kalamios”. When his land lord Mr. Anagnostou learn about that he knew the end of young George Flessas and at night he send him in 1815, to became a PRIEST-monk taking the ecclesiastical name GREGORIOS FLESSAS (priest= papas in Greek) PAPAFLESSAS. He served at this capacity in the monastery of VELANIDIAS, situated outside of the city of KALAMATA, MESSENIAS, FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

GREGORIOS, by being argumentative (phileris), due to his anger against the Turks, because his father Demetrious Flessas, his Grand father George Flessas and two more brothers were killed by them, and the nature to argue, was engaged in a series of quarrels with his superiors and he was asked to leave the monastery of VELANIDIAS. He also blessed a marriage of Mr. Zervas with his nease who was engaged to another man. At the time engagement was equal to marriage and it was punished by death if the engagement was broken.

In April 1816 he moved on to the monastery of REGKITSA, located between LEONTARION and MYSTRA. But, even there it did not take him too long before started arguing with his superiors about the system and he was causing much of trouble and term oil for the monastery’s administration. He was followed there by his two brothers NIKITAS AND ELIAS (dreadful to the Turks) and Paul Georgalas, Theodore Paylopoulos, Panagiotis Feretos and Katsimparis all distinguished 1821 fighters from Poliani who stayed with him in the monastery. Finally, he had a serious argument and dis­pute with the local Turkish Authorities Xoursein Certaris (Pashas Certaris) over the monastery’s property. Certaris every year was copenskating more and more property from the monastery and Papaflessas could not stand still in this act. He dreamed up the following, in order to take back the property that belonged to the monastery.

He called the monks in early December when the farms were planted with wheat and told them to dig deep in the property margins and place bondless of bearned coll and cover them up. When Pashas Certaris went to harvest the wheat in August of 1816, Papaflessas was waiting in the farms armed with rifles and having his brother Nikitas, Elias along with the armed man from Poliani, telling Certaris to get off the land because the land belonged to the monastery and not to him and that he knew where the property lines were because the old monastery fathers had told them. He said if you don’t believe me lets take it to the courts in Trompolitsa and let them decide.

Indeed they went to Trompolitsa and the Local Turk Prosecutor assigned a judge to go in place in the disputed fields and verify with witnesses and make a court ruling.

The rooling was in favor of the monastery and Papaflessas was filling very proud of himself but Pashas Certaris was boiling inside from anger. He went back to Trompolitsa and told the authorities that Papaflessas was a revolutionary and he was arming the “ragiades” (Greeks) against the Turks. The Trompolitsa authorities believed him and put Papaflessas in the death list and send soldiers to the monastery to arrest and kill him bringing his head back to Trompolitsa.

When the soldiers were approaching the armed brothers of Papaflessas and his Poliani fighters stopped them giving Papaflessas time to hide and to leave his homeland before the Turks arrested him. Chased by the Turks determined to kill him, PAPAFLESSAS climbing up the mountains of Agrilos stood up in a big rock and angrily said to them: “Vre keratades Turkoi” You rascal Turks go back to your superiors and tell them that it will not be long before I come back either as a BISHOP or a PASHA, and I will then take care of you”.

PAPAFLESSAS visited the island of ZAKYNTHOS and met with Theodore Kolokotronis, who was serving in the English army. Zakynthos was the haven of a lot of Greeks from the mainland who escaped there to avoid the Turkish death roll like Papaflessas. He obtained a reference letter from the Archbishop of Christianoupolis (Arcadia Kyparissia) through his friends in Zakynthos. He was study a lot and Kolokotronis always was sarcastic with him because he did not study the bible but the ancient Greek Philosophers. Finally he hired a small “kaiki” fishing boat to take him to Constantinople where his two brothers from the first wife of Demetrious were, Constantine and Elias Flessas.

When the boat was passing by the Holy Mountain “Athos” a big storm came and overturned the boat. Papaflessas was in the see shipwrecked and he started swimming towards the shoar. As he approached the big rocks a wave thru him out in the see shore almost excosted. He reached in to his poked, where he hand the reference letter from the Archbishop of Christianoupolis. The stamp wax was gone and the letter was almost outside from the envelope. He started reading the letter astonished to see that the Archbishop was telling every one to watch out for Papaflessas because he was not honest, he liked women and money and he is not trustworthy. It did not take Papaflessas long to tear up the letter and through it in the see.

He knocked the door to one of the holy monasteries in Athos Mountain and a monk received him giving him food and blessing him with a gold cross. Fock-loare has it that Papaflessas asked the monk to give him the cross and a “petrachili” a holy stole to take it with him and he will return it later to the monastery. Off course the monk gave the two articles to him and he continued to Constantinople. As we will see later he never returned the cross and the “Petrachili” stole and folk-lore has it that the Flessases all over his world are having an imprecation, because of it, and they will never be able to prosper in life.

He arrived in CONSTANTINOPLE and he was met by his two half brothers Constantine and Elias who were merchants there. His goal was to study ancient Greek and theology and to become an Archbishop in the Agia Sophia Patriarxeio. He found a teacher called Gerasimos and he was teaching him Greek and the Periklis harangue. He also started looking around for prominent “patriotes” countryman and he managed to meet with Gregorios, the Archbishop of Derkon from Zoupani, Patras. The Archbishop asked him a lot of questions about the situation in Greece and Papaflessas told him that the Clergy and the “kotzambasides” local authorities placed in power by the Turks to collect taxes and manage the countryside, had good relations with the Turks and the “ragiades” the Greek peasants were suffering and that thinks had to be changed in order for the Greek Nation to progress ahead.

The Archbishop was emased from Papaflessas answers and asked him about his name and the town of his origin. Papaflessas, he knew that he was in the Turkish death roll and his reputation from Peloponnesus, told him that he was a preacher from Korinth and his name was “Dikaios” and he went to Constantinople to study. Archbishop Gregorios of Derkon was pleased and invited Papaflessas (Dikaios) to dinner next night in the main Trapeza (dinning room) to dine with him. From there Papaflessas was introduced to Skoufas as Gregorios Dikaios an educated monk and an excellent patriot. Been understood that Gregorios did not present his real surname been afraid that his Peloponnesus daring deeds been knowned to them, and soon he joined the secret organization of “PHILIKI ETAIRIA” under strong recommendations of PANAYIOTIS ANAGNOSTOPOULOS also, a key member of the secret organization, with the code name “Armodios” A. M. and the number five (5). Folklore has it that Papflessas forced Anagnostopoulos one night in his house by putting a knife in his throat in order to reveal to him the secret authority and the superior force behind the “PHILIKI ETAIRIA”.

It must be noted that in the statute of Philiki Etairia only Skoufas, Tsakalof, Xanthos and Gazis were registered and the fifth one was Gregorios Dikaios. Gregorios Dikaios read the Statute in frond of the Archbishop and Skoufas, with the allegation to change certain things in it like the neophytes deposit any amounts of money they can and receive a receipt dated October 25, 1817 regardless the date that the neophyte was really registered for security reasons.

In 1819 finally GREGORIOS was ordained to the highest priesthood position, called ARCHIMANDRIDIS, a rank next to the BISHOP, by PATRIARCH GREGORIOS the V of CONSTANTINOPLE and he was given the ecclesiastical “officio of Dikaios” meaning the Patriarch’s representative, in order to be able to move freely in the Moldovlachia area and not to be bothered by the Turks. GREGORIOS was assigned to a mission of visit­ing the land in the northern part of OTTOMAN EMPIRE, located along the river of DOUNAVIS, in order to inspire and spread hope among his country men, for the nation’s INDEPENDENCE from the TURKS. He met Alexander Ypsilantis and John Kapodistrias and he was very successful in his mission. The people were enthusiastic about the idea of getting their freedom from the Turks. The mission was financed by “Philiki Etairia and Papaflessas prosper a lot living a plush life and having two Turkish servants with him.

Coming back to CONSTANTINOPLE from his successful mission, he liked to wash every morning his plush beard with reach lather that the servants prepared for him. One morning the servant spieled the soapsands over Papaflessas’s dress and he became very angry with the servant slapping him several times in the face. The servant thru the coffee cup to the floor, run away to the “Mpostantsimpasi” the town Sheriff telling him that he is a Turkish citizen and that his master Flessas prepares a revolution against the Sultan (he was watching close Flessas during the mission) and he rouse the “giaourides”, the Christians as the Turks called the Greeks, to take up arms against the Turks. The Turkish Sheriff called Flessas in the polish station, been very angry with him and asked him “what kind of man are you to have Moslems servants and to move around the country side and rouse the peasants against my rooler the Sultan;”

“Master I am a Monk and a Christian preacher of God, I am moving around speading the truth and the gospel and people pay my expenses for that.” Then he reached in his packet and took out the “petrachili” the holy stole and the gold cross he received from the Athos monastery and sowed them to the Sheriff telling him “ these are my arms that he blames me of using. Master do not lesson to him. He is ungrateful, and he is not telling the truth, I found him in the streets almost naked and very hungry, when I was returning from “Vlachia” on the request of our Patriarch to give him a count of my holy mission there, and he beg me to help him out.

According to our bible I am obliged to help any man in need, I took him with out asking his greed or religion and he didn’t tell me either. I received decony from our Patriarch and I was giving him half of it feeding and dressing him for my sol, this is what our “Xasret Isas” (the Turkish name for Jesus Christ) our prophet commands us to do.

The Sheriff was lessening very carefully and at the end he became very much angry with the servant and with fists and kicks from the back he throws him out of the office. The servant, as he was going out from the office he was muttering that in Flessas’s house the ware coming a lot of famous people and that he is a Meletmpasis (leader). The Sheriff heard then murmurs and he ordered the officers to go to his house and bring in the Office everything they find there. Word got out in the Greek community that Papaflessas was arrested and soldiers were going to search his place.

A messenger runes to the Archbishop of Derkon and told him all what was happening. The Archbishop told the messenger to take 700 grosia and give them to the soldiers and hide all of Papaflessases thinks in a nearby house. Like this Flessas was freed but the Turks were watching his moves in Constantinople.

After this dangerous situation for the freedom move, Archbishop Gregorious of Derkon, the other brothers of “Philiki Etairia” the trustees of Constantinople among themselves Panagiotis Sekeris, by the order of Alexander Ypsilanti gave Gregorious Dikaios 90,000 grosia and a man from Sekeris’s store called Demetrios Dragonas from the town of Selitsa Avias and like this they facilitated his escape from Constantinople.

Gregorious Flessas before his escape, chased by the Turks, he wrote a letter to the brothers in Kisnïvi explaining the situation and the spirit of he organization.

Escaping from CONSTANTINOPLE and carrying with him messages, letters and documents, at the end of 1820,he sailed to Kydonia of Asia Minor and catechizes all scholars of the Big School (as it was called there) waiting the arrival of war supplies from his brother Constantine from Smyrna.

He send a man called Ipatros to Smyrna and both man load the boat of Christodoulos Mexi with 400 barrels of gun powder, 30,000 silicon dioxide stones and bullets with a letter to him telling him that if he needs more ammunition they will send it to him. From the island of Mytilini, Flessas sailed to Almyros Kalamata and send a letter to his brother Nikitas Flessas to wait for him there. He went through the islands of Hydra and Spetses where he met with the local Greek leaders of the island. Then he sailed to Argos and in Trikala Corinthians he met with Panoutsos Notaras, from the family of his diseased stepmother Theodora Notaras, and other prominent citizens of Achaiargolida.

They urged them to listen to what Flessas had to say about starting a revolution against the Ottoman Empire. From there Flessas went to the Saint George monastery and called a meeting with the Greek authorities and High Priests to discuss if there is the time to start the revolution now or latter. After heated arguments the meeting was postponed for a later time in the monastery of Agia Lavra.

Indeed the 17 of January 1821 the Metropolitan of Christianoupolis with his chief overseer Ambrosios Franztis departed from Kyparissia and on the 19 of January 1821 arrived at Palaias Patras and the 23 of January 1821 the Metropolitans of Palaias Patras Germanos with the Metropolitan of Chriastianoupolis, Nicholas Lontos and the chief overseer Ambrosios Franztis went in Vostitzan and they met there with Andreas Zaimis, Sotirios Charalampis, John Papadopoulos or Mourtogiannis, the Episcope of Kernitza Prokopios and Gregorios Dikaios who was the first to arrive before any body else.

On 26 of January 1821 the meeting started in the house of Andreas Londos in the presence of Archimandrite Gregorious Dikaios as the representative of Alexander Hipsilandis. Papaflessas read the instructions from Hipsilandis and reinsured every one that everything is ready and a lot of help is coming from Russia.

The Episcopes Germanos took the stand and stared asking all kinds of questions like:

Where are the war supplies? The necessary amount of money, the trained army, the Navy, Who is the strong leader to go against the strongest nation of the Ottoman Empire, the people they are not only with out any skills for war but they do not have any arms and ammunitions to start one, to overcome 400 years of Turkish occupation and gain their freedom! We all remember the fiasco and the destroying of Peloponnisos in 1769 even you then the Russian Navy was here and took part in the revolution.

What are the proofs that we have now that the Grate Nations of the world are going to help us? We don’t believe what Flessas told us and Hipsilandis is writing to us.

After this flaming speech they all turned toward Flessas and told him “Gregory, Gregory we heard all of your proposals and thinking very seriously we believe that all this about the grate works and the coming help are worthlessness rotted and you owe to us and to the Nation to retreat from your actions and ideas and go back to your home town”. Indeed Flessas was not emotionless from all and after 4 consecutive meetings they proposed secretly to jail Flessas in the monastery of Agia Lavra in order to avoid problems for the nation.

But Papaflessas was armed and had seven armed man including his brother Nikitas outside the meeting room and no one dared to arrest him. After 4 days of meetings the synod decided to get more information from John Kapodistrias and also get the opinion of the neighboring countries before they would agree to start the revolution.

Flessas problem was the UPPER CLASS (LANDOWNERS) in the villages and municipalities, including the top echelon of the clergy, who did not trust PAPAFLESSAS, and his mission was received with a great deal of skepticisms and fear.

They were afraid of a possible failure of the revolution and the hard retributions of the Turks on the Greek Population for disturbing their peace, and most of all the loss of their land and wealth. Consequently, many of them thought to arrest PAPAFLESSAS and either kill him or turn him over to the Turkish Authorities for his revolution­ary activities. But, PAPAFLESSAS was indeed aware of their thinking and intentions and managed not to fall into “their trap. He was very careful selecting and trusting friends. He felt safer to approach first farmers and peasants and the poor class of people who were easily magnetized by his speeches looked upon him as the MESSIAH of their FREEDOM.

After the meeting he went to Kalavryta and met with Nikolaus Souliotis and Asimakis Skaltsas in order for them to write a letter in the first 10 days of March 1821 to Oikonomos Eliopoulos. Then he retreated to Kalyvia Kalamata waiting for news from Souliotis and Skaltsas and the arrival in Almyros, a small port near Kalamata, of the boat with the war supplies.

From Kalyvia secretly he went to Gardikion Amfeias near his hometown Poliani and learned that the small boat of Mexis Poriotis arrived in Almyros. Immediately called his brothers, they gathered about 400 man with mulls and donkeys from the Poliani area, that his brother Nikitas had arranged, and they all started for Almyros Kalamata. In order to unload the boat they had to have the authorization of Petrompeis Mayromichalis who was the area’s harbormaster and for that purpose Nikitas Flessas went to Kitries, the hometown of Petrompeis Mayromichalis but he was not there. He was in Ialos, Manis where Nikitas met with him and he told me that his brother Gregorious Flessas had arrived and asked him to give the proper authorization to unload the boat.

Petrompeis Mavromichalis called Nikitas in one of the rooms and told him that he knew exactly what the Greeks are planning to do and that he has a lot of expenses to cover and he needs money in order to let the boat be unloaded.

Nikitas went back to his brother Gregorious and transmitted to him the request of Petrompeis Mavromichalis. Papaflessas understood exactly that he wanted “mpaxish” a big gift and gave Nikitas 45,000 grosia for Petrompeis Mavromichalis who gladly received them, but he still did not sign the proper papers. He wanted half of the supplies in the boat to have them as reserves to fight the Greeks when they start the revolution against the Turks.

It must be noted here that Petrompeis Mavromichalis was a paid by the Turks security force and this is why the Turks in return had given him all these privileges. Nikitas did as requested and went to Almyros waiting for the man and the animals to arrive. Indeed the 20th of March 1821 Papaflessas arrived at 2:00 in the morning and received the supplies.

Then in a single line they started for the monastery of Velanidia, the place where Papaflessas served as a monk and fount Anagnostaras, Papatsonis, Kefalas, Petrovas and Nikitaras all prominent “kleftes” chieftains from the area who they were notified via messenger earlier. The men who carried the ammunitions from Almyros to Velanidia passed by an artesian well in the outskirts of fortress of Kalamata and stopped to drink some water.

But there, maybe in purpose or by accident, one gunpowder barrel open and some powder spilled to the surrounding grounds about a couple of pounds. The next day 21 March 1821 the stablemen went there to water the horses of Pashas Arnatoglou from Kalamata. And they noticed some gunpowder in the ground along with step marks of people and horses.

They run back to town and told their “afenti” boss what they found, who called a meeting with all the prominent Greeks and clergy from the Kalamata area and he put them in jail.

Papaflessas learn the happenings in Kalamata when he arrived in Velanidia and he wrote this letter-note to the town Governor of Kalamata Pashas Arnatoglou:

“To the Notables and the Elder man of the community of Kalamata. Today you must send us 10,000 bullet cartridges, 4,000 tsarouchs, food and supplies for 4,000 men; otherwise we are coming there to burn down the city. Signed THE LEADER OF THE REBELS GREGORIOS DIKAIOS FLESSAS”.

Flessas wrote this letter to prove that the prisoners they did not know anything about the revolution and they were innocent. He sends the letter with a messenger named Paisios who gave it to the relatives of John Kyriakos who was the notable there; they in return gave it to him who was in prison. He asked permission to see the Governor of Kalamata and Arnatogloy ordered him to present him self in the Governor’s quarters. Kyriakos told Arnatogloy “My Pasha, I came in the name of all prisoners to beg you to through us all in the see to drown” he was surprised and asked Kyriakos “Why Mr. Giannis” and he replied “ The “Ntouvleti” the state put us in jail and the ”clefts” the rebels they bully us that they are going to burn the town, look at this letter that some one brought to us in the jail” and he gave Papaflessas letter to the translator in order to read to Arnatoglou.

When the Pasha heard all these from his translator he ordered all the prisoners to come in frond of him and around 2:00pm of 21st of March 1821 was decided to have a general alert and every man who had arms to gather in the town square and get ready to fight the rebels from Velanidia and Saint Elias. John Kyriakos told the Pasha Arnaoutoglou “ My Pasha “Mpei mou” it is better first to find out how many there are and if they are few then we must attack them other wise we put in danger all the Turkish security forces, the town itself and the hole “dolveti””.

Arnatoglou accepted the opinion of Kyriakos and send Spyridon Antonakis to Velanidia in order to bring in Kalamata Kyrillos, the abbot of that monastery who confirm that in Velanidia and Saint Elias there are 6000 rebels all armed and ready to attack Kalamata and all of Peloponnisos with their leaders Papatsonis, Kefalas, Nikitaras, Anagnostaras, and Gregorios Dikaios Flessas. Arnaoutoglou said “not this mischievous sprite Papaflessas again”! He then called a general assembly meeting at 4:00 am in the commissioner’s office. In front of prominent Turks the primate notables and the elders, Aranoutogloy told Mr. Giannakis Kyriakos.

You are right Mr. Giannaki the rebels are ample and we must ask for help from Trimpolitsa or Pylos, but Kyriakos answer “they are far away and until the come to help the rebels will destroy us” and he proposed the following action:

To call Mavromichalis who is a friend of the Government and in charge of the security of the city. Aranoutogloy at once called the swift runner Spyridon Antonakis he gave him a letter for Mavromichalis, (Note Kyriakos was a member of “Philiki Etairia” and he knew that Mavromichalis was also a member).

The evening of the 21st of March 1821 Gregorius Flessas ordered his brother Elias to guard the surrounding towns of Kalamata that they were in the national road from Kalamata to Messini, his other brother Nikitas with 300 men to cover the Eastern part of the fortress and to permit the passage through the road to Mani.

Panagiotis Kefalas, Nikitas Stamatelopoulos and Nikitaras with 200 men to cover the Saint Ann and Saint Thomas heights.

Anagnostaras with Papatsonis with the rest of the man to defending the monastery of Saint Elias.Papaflessas, with the rest of the troops (they draw together approx 2500 man) hang about in Velanidia waiting the night and the results of his earlier dealings.

The next day and at 11:00 pm arrived in Kalamata Elias Mavromichalis leading 200 Lakedemones (men from Mani) no too well armed. He placed his man in the houses of Zarkos and Elias Tzanne and presented himself to the Governor who received him with kindness. After a moment of silence he said to Elias Mavromichalis “ Captain Elias you are in charge of all the man Greeks and Turkish and you are to attack the rebels.” Elias Mavromichalis answered to him “I will go out there to learn what they want and who they are.”

After an hour he returned and presented himself in frond of the Governor saying to him “the shifters are Anagnostaras, Papatsonis, Nikitaras and Gregorios Dikaios Flessas and they demand the freedom of their country witch I can not offend”. The governor answered to him” I understand Captain Elias and I am well disenchanted. He then ordered the hiring of horses and mulls to load his belongings and escape to Trompolitsa when the right opportunity comes. One of his prominent Turkish citizens by the name Mouratis, well known to the Greeks, took his belongings and his family and started going out from the city of Kalamata thinking that the Greeks will not stop him. He came in front of Nikitaras at Saint Thomas who said to him “You rascal Turk letdown your arms and come here” but Mouratis thought he was joking and he continued.

Nikitaras then ordered one of his man to kill him thus they all taste the Turkish blond running in the ground that the Ottoman Empire was torturing for four hundred years. Mouratis was the very first victim of the war of Independence on the 21st of March 1821.His wife moaning with her children returned to Kalamata. The bad news got to Arnaoutogloy who on the 21st of March 1821 disenchanted and he entrenched along with all other Turkish authorities in the fortified house of Kalamata. In the main time, in Mani a gathering of the captains of the rebels decided to start the revolution on the 25 of March 1821 but the 22 of March received the news from Kalamata they all started going towards the city naming Mourtzinos, Theodore Kolokotronis, Anagnostaras, the sons of Petrombeis Mavromichalis along with Katzis, the Papaflessas group that it was around the city earlier and many others about 2000 all together. Between the 22od to the 23 of March they gathered in Kalamata about 5000 man, very poorly armed and making a lot of noise in the city.

The 23rd of March Arnaoutogloy caught a site of all this armed man, ordered Mpelouk Kokkinis, a Turkish bully who tortures the Greeks in the past from Trompolitsa, who went to the local store where most of the captains were, sat down in a “skamni” tambour next to Nikitaras and asked them:

“Pasha Arnaoutogloy salutes you all and he is demanding an answer to what is happening here, what are you doing putting in danger yourselves and all of the Greek Nation, these thinks will have an unpleasant ending for all”. Nikitaras reached to his “selaxi”, leather belt with a pouch for pistols, to shut him but Kolokotronis stopped him calling Kokkinis to sit next to him in order to here better to what he had to say. Mavromichalis started talking first, told the Moslem, “We lesson to what your boss had to say, what you hear and what you see they are not steeling actions, they are solid thinks and not only from us but from all the kings of Europe, and the blessing of God, because the Greeks until now suffer from the Turkish oppression of 400 years and from your tortures.

We are not like you.  We are going to get our freedom and we do not condescend to bather you and your Turkish “sinafi” (social class).  You stay in your houses and your thinks will not be bothered.  You pay 2 “flouria” per family every year and no one is going to bather you in the future.

The Turks faced in this unpleasant situation decided to surrender; Mavromichalis put a team of people to make a list of all the belongings and their arms and distributed the arms to his man.  Kalamata was liberated and the Greeks started a big celebration in the city looting and burning down the Turkish houses.

 

The Greek War of Independence officially started on the 25th of March 1821 and brought a great change to the Church of the free kingdom. The clergy had taken a leading part in the revolution.  In 1821, at the beginning of the movement, when Alexander Ypsilanti was making his absurd attempt to rouse the Vlachs, Gregory V of Constantinople, forced by the Turkish government, denounced the “Hetairia Philike” and excommunicated the rebels.

 

 

PAPAFLESSAS DURING THE REVOLUTION OF THE YEARS 1821-1825

 

In 1823 PAPAFLESSAS was named the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Chief of Polish. In the government of Alexander Mavrocordatos under the name Gregorios Dikaios, the name he had when was in “Philiki Etairia”. He made a lot of reforms; he put in place the mail system, he build schools in various towns and in his hometown in Poliani. He started for the first time the title of inspector general for the schools and he was the first one to establish the “Koinonika Fronimata” political convictions certificate to be given to the friends of the Government.

He took part in many battles against the Turks and he cited with the government when the civil war started in 1824.He took part in the campaign in Messenia and the rest of Peloponnesus to suppress the rebels against the Government. Many people in order to avoid prosecution wanted to be in Papaflessas side. 

Many members of the Dikaios and the Flessas families several times changed their names either way, and some times back and forth, to be on his side, to get Government approvals for various expenses in the army, or to get National land from the Turkish farms including his own nephew John Nikitas Flessas who, one time called himself John Dikaios in order to get approval to his promotion to an upper Army rank.

Several years later, when Papaflessas was dead, he was complaining, as Flessas, because the Army Department could not find his records.

 

PAPAFLESSAS, during the civil war, between POLITICIANS and LEADERS of the REVOLUTION, was on KOLOKOTRONIS side. But, later on, due to his personal ambitions, sided with the POLITICIANS and went against his former co-fighter, believing sincerely by doing so, that he best served the interest of his country, for which he had great love and devotion.

When HEBRAEM invaded Peloponnesus, PAPAFLESSAS was still minister of the INTERNAL AFFAIRS- That was the year of 1825- Realizing the great danger the nation was with the HEBRAEMs invasion, he asked and insisted that the Government release KOLOKOTRONIS and other POLITI­CAL prisoners for the salvation of the nation, by granting them an amnesty for whatever their crime was.  His appeal was turned down* Then he decided to appear before the Executive Branch and Parliament to tell them he would go to MESSENIA alone to organize a resistance against HEBRAEM, determined to return victorious or die in the battlefield.

GREGORIOS managed to gather manpower composed of 2,000 poorly armed men and went to the province of PYLIAS searching for the best spot to face HEBRAEMs army coming out of the city of PYLOS.  He selected the hills of MANIAKI in order for him to have a better view of Enemy’s movements. There, he built three lines of defense. His nephew, DEMETRIOS FLESSAS the son o Elias Flessas from the first wife of Demetrios who was killed in Trompolitsa in 1821, defended the first one.

The second one was commanded by ‘PIERRON VOIDES and his fighters from MANI, and the third, and most crucial line of defense was kept for HIMSELF.

MAY 20, 1825, HEBRAEM’s forces led by well trained French Officers attacked PAPAFLESSAS defense lines.  Most of his troops lost their nerves and courage to fight, abandoned their positions, and ran away.  PAPAFLESSAS continued fighting the EGYPTIANS with a handful force of 300-600 faithful to him and to his cause. 

When he chose to face HEBRAEM he knew that he would die in the battlefield.  The battle lasted one full day. The day of MAY 20, 1825 came to its end after the lines were broken by the heavy bombardment of HEBRAEMs artillery and the repeated attacks of his infantry and cavalry. 

A fierce hand-to-hand fight followed, a combat to the last defender, including PAPAFLESSAS resistance, soon was all over.

When HEBRAEM was informed of PAPAFLESSAS death he was very sad.  He ordered to have his body set up against an old oak tree.  Admiring his physical stature and bravery, he said to his officers: “If Greece had ten heroes like him, it would not have been possible for him to under take the military campaign against Peloponnesus.”

 

Tim C. Flessas

Nea Penteli

August 2004