January 19, 2010

"Papoulakos": Venerable Christophoros Panagiotopoulos

By Archimandrite Nektarios N. Pettas


If someone searches Modern Greek history for a revolutionary figure comparable to that of the world-renowned Che Guevara then they would find such a person in Greece in the Peloponnese and Cyclades. This person was an Orthodox monk who lived there in the nineteenth century.

Of significance is that history is written each time by a few. It is those who take leaps and bounds who are uncompromising, courageous and daring. It is those who prefer motion to immobility and action to passivity, even if this approach leads to traps, danger and persecution. Amongst these few revolutionary figures is the holy monk Christophoros Panagiotopoulos or as he is widely known as Papoulakos. He was from the village of Arbouna located near the town of Klitoria in the Kalavryta district of the Peloponnese. He was a great national and religious figure during the mid-nineteenth century in Greece, existing in a period that echoed a movement started by the ascetics who were known as Kollyvades from Mount Athos.

Papoulakos was active in this period of great historical interest. During this time it was in the process of completing the formation of the New Greek State. In other words, he appeared when the foundation stone of State and Orthodoxy were being set, a period which was very important politically and ecclesiastically. The Greek nation after the triumph of the Revolution of 1821 attempted to take a stand as an independent state.

Furthermore, during this time 500 out of the 600 existing monasteries which collectively made up the citadel of Orthodoxy in Byzantium (324 -1453) and during the Turkish occupation, were closed by Maurer under King Otto’s command.[1] This involved the driving out of the living and the burning of our cultural heritage; such an outrage had not even dared to be undertaken during the period of Turkish rule (1456-1821). The least that one could do was raise his voice in protest, whatever the cost. So this period was of particular interest not only for historical research but also for every thinking citizen who searches for answers on today’s social, political and ecclesiastical problems.

Within a decade Papoulakos managed to shake up the sociological make up of the newborn Greek state. His actions and preaching are a continuation of those carried out by two other brave men in our history, that of St. Cosmas Aitolos (Died, 24th August 1779) and the unknown St. Sofianou, (Died, 26th November 1711) Bishop of Argirokastro, who was active in Epirus 70 years before St. Cosma, thus becoming his antecedent.

Papoulakos was perhaps not as educated as St. Cosma and the Holy Sofianou however; he had the strength and daring to support the same things as them. For the same reasons, St Cosmas sacrificed himself and St Sofianos renounced the throne to guide those back to Christianity who had been converted to Muslims by force. In other words, these men devoted their preaching and work so as their land's Orthodox tradition stayed free from any kind of dangerous internal and external attacks.

As a start we will look at this great personality called ‘Papoulakos’, by referring to his biographical record.

1) Papoulakos’ Name

According to people, Christophoros’ secular name was Christos Panagiotopoulos; however, the people gave him the name Papoulako or Papoulaki. There are many differing opinions as to how he got this nickname. Some support the most convincing story that the people called him Papoulako because of his small stature. It is also said that the people called him Papoulako to his face as he started his preaching at an old age after having a vision he experienced in his abandoned house in Arbouna. Even up until today the elderly monks in Greece are called by the title of ‘Papouli’.

‘Papoulakos’ is the diminutive of ‘Papouli’. As the Spartans held him in high esteem and respected him even more so, they changed Papouli to Papoulakos. He himself signed off as ‘Christophoros the Monk’ or ‘Christophoros the Greek Preacher’. Documents in the public registry and in the circulars issued then by the Holy Synod of Greece, as well as official reports refer to him with the prevailing name given to him by the people, ‘Papoulakos’.

2) Place of Origin

He was born in 1770, in the mountain village of Arbouna. This village is situated northeast of the town with the twofold name of Klitoria / Mazeika and south-east of the historical city of Kalavrita in the Prefecture of Achaia. 900 meters above sea level, Arbouna spreads out amphitheatrically between two angular shaped masses. The houses are divided over these two slopes, the latter of which lie at the foothills of the large Aroanian mountain range. It is here that Greek mythology refers to the hero Achilles and his mother, the sea goddess Thetis, who attempted to make her son immortal by washing his hair in the river Styx.

So it was in Arbouna that Papoulakos quietly spent most of his life following the family profession of a butcher. He lived a tranquil life and as such his character was also calm, just and fair. For this reason he was much loved by the populace of this area.

No one could imagine that this man who was a supplier of meat would after a few years for thousands of people become a supplier of messages for the resistance against the dark powers who had conspired against Orthodoxy and the small newly formed Greek nation.

3) His Transition to a Monastic Life and the Beginning Of His Journey

At approximately 60 years of age, Papoulakos turned to a monastic life. According to some of his biographers this change in his way of life, was attributed to a vision, which he had in his house in Arbouna. It is said that during this event, he lost consciousness for three days, remaining as if he were dead. On seeing his state the parents awaited a miracle. Their prayers were answered after placing his body in the Church of St. Athanasios, found north of his house.

After regaining consciousness this experience for Papoulakos resulted in changing the meaning of his existence. He decided to share his property amongst his three brothers Athanasios, Andreas, Giorgios and one sister. He then vested them with the task of looking after the house in which he saw the holy vision.

After this vision he became a monk in the Monastery of St Athanasios at Filia in the town of Klitoria. He visited the nearby villages collecting different goods and money, which he would share with the poor and orphans. Simultaneously, he spread God’s word. Papoulakos’ charitable nature that was directed to those suffering and those who had been treated unjustly was what made him very well known and loved everywhere. The residents saw, with great surprise, that this previous butcher had renounced the world to wear a monk’s robes and to communicate with God. He asked that his offerings towards the poor remained strictly secret.

For a period he abandoned traveling and returned to his village staying at his house. At this time he built a sacred monastery and dedicated it to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, as his family possessed a miraculous icon of her. He built a monk’s cell (skete) on the lower floor of the family house, which used to be a place to keep the animals. It was here that Papoulakos started living a monastic life.

In 1847 he left his monk’s cell (skete) travelling again to the villages and preaching the word of God. The studying of ecclesiastical books of the time and his deep religiousness made him very dear to the people. Everyone wanted to meet him and receive a blessing from this respected white-bearded 70-year-old elder with his coarsely woven robes.

The people listened very carefully to his teachings of the Gospels on ethics and Christian principles, which he presented in a warm and truthful way. They readily embraced him because in him they saw the word of God and how they could apply it in their daily lives. From the villages of Achaia he moved to the Arcadian mountains where he taught with the same love the word of God. He spoke to the villagers in a simple manner about the Gospels, which taught not to steal, not to tell lies and not to perpetuate family hate but to show good to one another.

With these simple words he suggested to people to literate their children with the ecclesiastical books. The books, which came from the West, needed to be treated cautiously because they doubted ethics, morals and hid atheism. This cautious stance taken towards the West was not because he himself was illiterate, as some had accused him of being; but it was due to the prevalent educational problem of the time.

It is known that the Bavarians wanted to continue to break down Greek society leaving no opposition; their plan was enforced through education. Almost the whole educational program of our small fatherland of that period was in the hands of the Catholics and the Protestants; that is to say in foreign hands. Already from 1821, the West had infiltrated the social life of our country. On the one hand, the Catholics were especially interested in founding schools thereby exploiting in this sector the absence of Greek administration as the independent state had only just been founded. On the other hand, we have the Protestant missionaries who were on different holy missions spreading everywhere and considering themselves as “saviours” of the East. All of this was contradictory to Papoulakos’ teachings that were against both globalization and alienation.

In 1848 Papoulakos went to Athens to ask permission of the Holy Synod of the Greek Church to preach the word of God. The Synod however refused to give him permission. It is possible that the reason for this refusal was owed not so much to the holy monk Christophoros’ lack of formal qualifications as to his connection to the Holy Monastery of Megalo Spilio at Kalavrita. Here many monks belonged to the Society of the Friends of Orthodoxy who were a group of highly educated, philosophical and spiritual monks. Consequently, it was expected from the Church’s administration at that time not to respond in a favorable way to the movements of this spiritual society. In the end in 1851 the permission was granted to Papoulakos to preach in the Peloponnese but within the restricted areas of Arcadia, Lakonia and Messinia.

4) The Nature Of His Journey

Attention to detail was given to Papoulakos’ visits to the villages. His movement from one place to another followed a specific procedure. Before his setting out on a journey, wherever he went he sent out his group of followers to announce his arrival. Then the bells started ringing out merrily. The inhabitants of the village would then come out and welcome him. The welcoming party as such was made up of priests wearing their robes and teachers with their students officially assembled in lines. The women brought their babies and Papoulakos the elder would bless them. After this initial brief welcome they would all celebrate in the village. When Papoulakos had relaxed a little he would go out on the balcony of a house and speak to the people. If there was no balcony they would make a platform for him to stand on or he would even climb up a tree. In front of himself he would place an icon of the Virgin Mary. Upon his the ending of his sermon he would stayovernight at a monastery if there were one close by, or else with a poor and struggling family.

5) His Preaching

With his sincere and meaningful sermons, Papoulakos touched the people and raised their morale. Even if his voice was naturally soft and weak when he preached it acquired an intensity and youthful vigor. His sermon did not have a deep religious meaning but simple religious truths and deeds taken from the law of the Gospels. This resulted in everyone understanding him because he spoke the language of the villagers. Perhaps some words used were beneath those employed by educated people at the time, but one way or another those people had become disconnected resulting in forming a separate class. Nevertheless, those who were eager to understand Papoulakos’ sacred word would comprehend his teachings easily. The others had separated from the orthodox preaching of Christophoros as they were more absorbed by the western spiritual teachings, which they both accepted and supported.

Papoulakos’ words didn’t only have theological content but also a moral and social meaning that was something which very valuable for the period in which he lived. He was strictly against injustice directed towards the weak, and caused by thieves, sorcery and other sinful ways. Additionally, he was against the British, Turks and Jews who secretly were trying to direct the new government that was in the hands of the Great Powers and King Otto. For example, he openly condemned the bad actions of the English referring to the Ionian Islands, which were then ruled by them.

The effort of his labors quickly bore fruit. From wherever he passed the inhabitants from their mountain villages were not only listening to his preaching but inexplicably they responded to the ethical demands by behaving better. Eventually, it arrived at the point where thefts and robberies had almost disappeared. His preaching had so much impact that love grew among people and within families where there existed deep hatred and even murder.

Of significance is the information found about that period, 1845, from a French traveler about the Peloponnese. He was of Greek origin and known as Eugene Yemieniz who refers in his work “Voyage dans le Royaume de Grece”, to Christophoros Papoulakos’ contribution. There is a known vendetta that Papoulakos was able to solve temporarily which rules up until today as an unwritten law in the Mani area. The authorities of the Peloponnese wrote to the central government in Athens that the inhabitants of the Peloponnese became proper citizens due to Papoulakos.

His opponents were forced to acknowledge this who in hundreds of reports would curse and swear at him in the worst language. Of course the people whose criteria was right and fair had formed an opinion about Papoulakos’ character. His life and work was quickly judged as saintly and of pure spirit. From day to day despite the efforts of a few poisoned minds his reputation increased as a saintly man. It reached the point where they were cutting pieces from his hard and coarsely woven robes to have as an amulet to ward away every evil from both body and soul.

The women who made up the largest and most devout group of his followers kept these pieces as icons in their houses treasuring them as something very holy. Others hung them round their children’s necks, as amulets, whilst others still would add pieces in the dough whilst preparing bread. Christophoros’ robe was valued so highly that the fishermen in the Cyclades had pieces woven into their nets. This would ensure them of big catches just as Christ’s blessing had performed miracles for the apostles on the Sea of Galilee. Additionally, from the view point of ecological awareness Papoulakos would encourage the people’s faith in the healing power of plants and herbs of which there was abundance in the areas where he preached.

6) His First Grand Entrance into the City of Kalamata

In September 1851 he was found in the villages around Olympia. Then a little later he was in the Trifillea district and from there Arcadia and Laconia. Everywhere hundreds of inhabitants left their work to follow him. On 10th October 1851 his entrance into Kalamata had many followers and it was triumphant. Almost all the inhabitants of the city came out to welcome him. The then Prefect had written that thousands of people welcomed him wanting to see, hear and to be healed by him.

As soon as the civil authorities were informed about Papoulakos’ triumphant welcome they over-reacted. The local authorities sent a detailed report of his movements to the central administration in Athens but they did not stop there. The Prefect asked him to leave from his district but Papoulakos didn’t obey because he had Christ as his leader, so he went to Kiparissia the capitol of the district of Trifillia. The local Major tried to prevent him from preaching but he didn’t succeed. All the impediments placed by the authorities weren’t able to stop Papoulakos’ word because the word of the Gospel is a strong weapon, which cannot be restricted.

Furthermore, as this era was noted for its lack of spirituality, the people were even thirstier for God’s word. And for this reason the authorities tried to distance him from the cities, which he travelled to. However, when the seeds of his words started to grow in the thirsty hearts of the people and his reputation was expanding even more, especially amongst the simple people, panic broke out in the government and they decided to take effective measures

7) The Measures Taken By the Government and the People’s Reaction

The government asked the Greek Orthodox Church to take action. So they called Papoulakos to Athens to defend himself. Papoulakos didn’t pay any attention to them but continued more intensively with his journeys. From Corinth he went to Kranidhion in Argolis and from here to Spetsai. In Spetsai he found many
followers. The people’s faith in his sainthood reached its zenith. Even the stones on which he walked were considered blessed and the believers took them for amulets to their houses. There was such devotion from the people towards Papoulakos that in some areas such as Kranidhion, the priests during the church services didn’t refer to the King’s name but instead used that of Papoulakos. At night everyone, both young and old, went out on the streets with candles, censers and holding something belonging to him or an icon of Papoulakos’ image to which they prayed for his health and protection.

In April 1852 he passed from Argolis to Laconia. His preaching provoked a genuine spiritual awakening in all Orthodox people. Because the pressure from the authorities continued to increase against the elder the people foresaw the danger of his murder. So they took in their own hands the protection of their spiritual father. His followers carried guns and accompanied him everywhere. Masses had left their houses following him day and night on his holy journeys. With the people there were many priests as well as the Bishop Assinis Makarios who accepted him officially into the Bishop’s residence in Sparta. The government seeing the religious love from the people and unable to control the masses pressurized the church administration even more to take urgent action. The final decision for Papoulakos pursuit happened in the Monastery of Prophet Elias on Santorini.

In areas where the saint had gone they sent preachers to influence the people against him. To Laconia the Archimandrite Kallinikos Kastorhis was sent (later to become Bishop Fthiotidos). Then to Ermioni and Spetsai Archimandrite Neofitos Konstantinides was sent. These dispatches were unsuccessful. And when the latter spoke against Papoulakos they threw stones at him and he quickly left. In May 1852 the Synod sent a letter to the clergy and people of Laconia saying that he had changed God’s Word. But not even this action brought results. On the contrary the people’s love for Papoulakos increased even more.

The Government on seeing that the church couldn’t stop this spiritual revolution decided to take action by itself. It sent to Laconia 2,000 soldiers under the brave Kolokotronis with orders to enlist others from the area including mobilizing warships. On the other side Papoulakos continued to both travel and speak throughout Sparta. However, the people saw the Government’s activities and started becoming anxious. There was an agitated atmosphere in areas from which he had passed where anti-government demonstrations were still taking place.

A typical example, which was characteristic of these demonstrations, is the episode referred to by Major’s Secretary in Spetsai in the report to the Prefect on 22nd May 1852. Amongst other things there was a reference to the local authorities that had forbidden prayers at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in Spetsai because apparently they were seen as demonstrations in favour of Papoulakos. However, there was a strong reaction from the people and that same evening 3,000 people met encircling the Town Hall. The authorities immediately backed down and gave permission to carry out services as usual in the church.

On the 26th May 1852 the Holy Synod sent out a circular in which they assured the people that the Orthodox faith wasn’t running into any danger and that the King and the Government were protecting the Orthodox Church.

Whilst this was going on Papoulakos was becoming strongly accepted by everyone in the Sparta area. Several times there were attempts to arrest him, but without any result. As soon as the people understood the movements of the gendarmerie and the army they would gather together and ring the bells alerting a defense while his followers took up fighting positions.

On 23rd May he decided to visit Kalamata for a second time notifying the people to follow him. Two thousand people and 500 more armed people responded immediately to his call. The Prefect of Messinia sent out a circular trying to frighten the inhabitants of Kalamata saying that it was actually the people from Mani who were coming to steal from them. He also urged in the circular to hide their money, take up arms and to march out in order to protect their property. This circular finished with threats saying whoever went to Papoulakos’ sermons would be judged guilty of a major crime and would be dealt with by the army. Naturally, under such conditions Papoulakos couldn’t enter Kalamata for the people to suffer and so he decided that it was better to return to Mani.

During this period the King’s army had arrived in Laconia. The reactions to the army were indifference and maybe, perhaps even opposition. They even refused to give them food so they were forced to bring food from other areas. Teams of soldiers had spread over Sparta to capture Christophoros, the monk of small stature.

8) His Arrest

His arrest was impossible in Mani because the inhabitants didn’t want to come into any conflict with the soldiers, so instead they offered him protection. Even the local gentry kept him in hiding providing him with the necessary food and house to stay in. The order, however, was clear to arrest him without fail. Unfortunately, the solution to the problem of arresting him had a tragic ending in betrayal. They asked for a traitor and unfortunately one was found. He was one of Papoulakos’ most trusted followers, Vasilios the priest from Langadia in the municipality of Lefktrou. The exchange for the traitor was calculated at 6.000 drachmas.

During this period Papoulakos was hiding in the Voivonitsis Monastery close to Kardamala. When his ‘trusted’ priest was asked to prepare a guard for his safe departure to Crete until things had calmed down, the traitor was eager to do this. However, instead of taking a guard from his followers he took 6 gendarmerie disguised as his Spartan followers. The disguised police had fake letters from Bishop Assinis, which falsely invited the elder to his area to speak. Papoulakos did whatever he heard from Makarios and departed on 23rd June 1852. The following day in the morning they hid in the Tsingos Monastery close to Areopolis because during the day there was the supposed danger that they would be discovered and arrested.

In the meantime someone from the gendarmerie alerted the other soldiers that Papoulakos was in the monastery. Immediately the army arrived and caught the elder easily as he himself had nothing to fear. A true spiritual person is ready to be expelled and sacrificed. The noblemen of this world didn’t frighten him. The continuation of the story was done in great secrecy, he embarked on the boat “Matilda” at Pithio after which they transferred him to another boat “Othon” whose destination was Piraeus.

On hearing the news that they had caught Christophoros, the people were both very sad and frustrated. The Prefect of Laconia wrote that his area was in national mourning. However, the big armed forces in Sparta were sent to restrain these reactions.

It is worth mentioning that the traitor had a bad ending. The people’s hate towards him was great. The Spartans couldn’t believe that a follower was found who could also be bribed and betray their just elder, Papoulakos. So continuously they asked for the traitor to be punished. The traitor saw that Sparta didn’t want him so he went to Athens to ask to become a priest in the army. However, the hate against him didn’t come only from the inhabitants of Sparta but everywhere. And in fact in Spetsai when the boat arrived with the priest Vasilios on board they tried to lynch him. He was saved after much effort by the armed forces.

Finally, after a year passed a youth was found at the right moment that killed him. Moreover, the traitor’s father was not only not sorry for his son’s murder, because he had also raped his sister, but on the contrary he was so happy that he gave a reward to the person who had brought the news about the murder.

9) Papoulakos’ Incarceration in the Patras Prison

The news of Papoulakos’ arrival in Pireaus shook up Athens. Thousands of people went down each day to see him. However, none could get close because he was heavily guarded by hundreds of soldiers and gendarmerie. The adverse conditions in which he was held made him ill. The doctors who examined him said that he must be removed from the boat because he had been adversely affected from the conditions that he was kept in. After a few days he was taken to the damp prison in the fortress at Rio, in Patras. There they locked him up forbidding even the guards to go near him. Regardless of the fact that he was tied up he managed to get out in “a miraculous way” to speak and help the people from his place of birth, in Achaia.

After a year in solitary confinement he was sent for trial on 26th July 1853 to the Criminal Court of Athens where he was accused of being a leader of an organization against the state. Masses of people had gathered in and outside the court. He showed both courage and daring in his trial refusing to appoint a defense saying that he had Christ as his defense. The absence of witnesses resulted in the trial being postponed till 16th September.

The postponement of the trial coincided with events from abroad that had created tension and uneasiness because the Crimea war had already started. In the end his trial never happened. On August 1853 there was a royal decree declaring innocence for Papoulakos and his followers both from within and outside the church.

10) His Imprisonment in Andros and His Sanctified Death

The Government could leave him free but the churchs' administration, pressurized by the government, decided to imprison him in the Panachrantos Monastery in Andros. Many followers visited him there from the length and breadth of the country and from the islands, even Crete and Jerusalem. They heard him speak through the barred windows of his cell. He was truly a free ‘prisoner’. However, this didn’t bother him because even if his body was earthbound his spirit was calmly in Heaven.

His stay in the Panachrantos Monastery didn’t differ very much from his damp cell at the fortress prison at Rio. It had a small window from which a little light entered. It was guarded day and night by the gendarmerie. They had forbidden him to speak with his visitors who had come from afar and in fact they forbade him any communication with the outside world. As such he was found in strict isolation. Certainly, when the Bishop of Andros became Mitrofanis Economides, originally from Kalavrita, the restrictions towards Papoulakos increased. Years later and due to him appearing in a vision to strangers, the cell in which he had been incarcerated was located. In this cell there was found his icon of the Virgin Mary Vrefokratousa. Shortly after this the cell was transformed into a church.

After the feats of such living conditions his spirit was released on the night ofthe 18th going towards the 19th January 1861 on the same day as St Athanasios’ name day. This day is celebrated in the Church of St Athanasios in his village of Arbouna. He was buried in the cemetery at the Panachrantos Monastery. The holy one was mourned by the fathers of the monastery and from the inhabitants of the island and he was honoured as a Saint. His grave up until today is a spiritual source and pride of the Panachrantos Monastery.

11) Papoulakos’ Honoured Memory in our Time

Immediately after Christophoros’ burial in Andros at the cemetery of the Monastery Panochranton there were efforts to officially register him in the Orthodox Church’s catalogue of saints; to exhume his corpse and to recount his life’s story. The latter two things happened, but canonization in Greece has not as yet come about. His revolutionary actions created a widespread problem for official recognition.

Slowly but surely his memory began to be restored not only in the minds of the people who one way or the other always believed in his saintliness, but also in the clergy’s consciousness. There are masses of official accounts from clergymen
supporting not only his work but also his saintliness. The exhumation of his holy bones was done in secret and were to remain in charnel house at the Panachrantos Monastery. After much insistence by the inhabitants of Papoulakos’ village, the Bishop of Kalavrita Georgios on 12th September 1973 arranged for the transfer of Papoulakos’ Skull to the holy cell (skete) in the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, which he had built himself in Arbouna, Klitoria.

After this move, masses of people came to the mountain village to pay homage and kiss his Holy Head, which gives out a fragrance and is also miraculous. The Head is officially encased in a reliquary which was bequeathed by Archbishop Nectarios Moulatsiotis, and it is decorated with valuable jewellery. Wherever else the relics of this holy man are kept they are done so in accordance to Greek Orthodox tradition.

There have been Divine Liturgies dedicated in his honor. Monks during their ordination and people in the Holy Baptism sometimes even accept his modest name for their own. The black and white portrait of Papoulakos, which has been circulating since his time, is placed in many churches and homes up until today. Also, all over Greece contemporary icons have been decorated with the Holy Christophoros, many of which contain pieces of his robes.

Churches have been built in his memory in different areas throughout Greece, especially those places in which he lived and performed miracles. Masses of contemporary evidence have remained. This is either word of mouth or through writings reporting his words and prophecies and miracles as long as he lived, as well as those after his death.

Christophoros the elder had prophesized many of the trials and tribulations that are going on today. In Morea in the Peloponnese it is known and usual to hear “we live in the days of Papoulakos’. It is awaited for Christophoros to be officially canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, an event which the GreekOrthodox Church is praying/awaiting for.

It is important to note that he is referred to in the circular Protocol No. 332,which was published during the presence of the local Bishop of Kalavrita, Agelias k. Ambrosios. It goes under the title of “Collected Facts about the Holy Papoulakos”. Additionally, according to the newspaper: “The Voice of Kalavrita” (August 2004) it writes that the late Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos visited the area and promised that when he would go to Klitoria, “and after he reads the appropriate blessing to rid the curse, he would proclaim Papoulakos’ sainthood.’

What is worthy of attention is some further information from the Archimandrite and Superior of the Monastery Panachranton in Andros, k. Evdokimou Frangoulaki. It refers to when they transferred the skull of St. Panteleimon to Russia. In a dialogue between the Patriarch of Moscow Alexios and the monastery it was said that in his monastery there had lived a saintly monk who was loved in Russia. The Patriarch and his bishops had assured him that the elder, Christophoros Papoulakos, had been acknowledged by the Patriarch of Russia who had already canonized him and that he is often commemorated in the Divine Liturgies.

This information gives us hope even if it comes from far away because it finally justifies this important figure of Greek history whose reputation has spread beyond the narrow boundaries of the Balkans.


In the end the West’s dispute with the Greek powers managed to succeed in less than two decades in Papoulakos’ time, that which it had been fighting over for centuries to do, regarding the spiritual enslavement of the East, by placing internal forces.

The resistance that a Papoulakos People’s Orthodox Movement projected could not stop the plans of the Bavarians. However, it curtailed them for a while and lit up a ray of light like a spiritual fighting consignment for the next generations. This ray of light is a great inheritance for younger Greeks.

Today, the young ‘Bavarians’ in whatever form have infiltrated Greek society and are trying to cut us off from the Greek Orthodox tradition. We are obliged to keep this ray of light shining, which was handed down to us by the first martyrs of the Greek state, so we can withstand the next invasion.

Yet again there are dark international anti-Greek forces not wanting Greek power that do everything to alienate our national Greek identity, and break down our national, social and religious cohesion. These arduous times require a healthy power of Hellenism and for the Orthodox to oppose with strength.

12) The Christophoros Papoulakos Foundation

Papoulakos’ house still exists today in Arbouna but it is in ruins. It originally belonged to his descendants who live in Australia.

However, Archimandrite Nectarios N. Pettas, PhD Candidate for Archaeology from Patras, has recently bought the house. The plan is to reconstruct and restore it urgently before it is totally destroyed thus losing a vital part of early Greek history.

The aim of Archimandrate Nectarios N. Petta is to create a foundation from the Papoulakos’ house. It will show the work of Christophoros and other important Greek and Orthodox figures. Simultaneously, it will operate as a centre for studies on Greek Cultural Heritage. Recently, it was legally passed at the court of the first instance. Accordingly, it is registered under the General No: 14560 / 2008 as a sacred, apostolic-philanthropic, non-profitable centre, which is denominated as The Christophoros Papoulakos Foundation.


My gratitude and sincere thanks is expressed to Elizabeth Tenny-Babouri for her translation, thus, bringing Papoulakos to the English-speaking world.

Source can be found @ http://www.papoulakos.org/

The holy skull of Papoulakos

Papoulakis prison in Rio

Papoulakis' house in Arbouna

Papoulakis' cell at Panachrantos Monastery

Inside of cell

Papoulakos' grave at Panachrantos Monastery