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Emmanouel Papas

The statue of Em. Papas in the Liberty Square
mmanouel Papas was born in Dovista in 1773, a village which is near Serres and is named now after him. His father Dimitrios, a wealthy notable of the area, was ordained a priest at a very young age and was soon honoured with a high church dignity. That is where the family name 'Papas' (= priest) came from. After having received his basic education in his village, Emmanuel Papas moved to Serres in order to finish off his studies in the famous school of Serres. When he graduated from the School he moved back to Dovista where he got married. However, his business acumen brought him back to Serres when trade was really blooming. Soon he became a great Banker and a wholesale merchant, a respectable person even for the Turkish Beys.

Papas was soon initiated in the 'Society of Friends' (or 'Filiki Etaireia' as it is well-known) by John Pharmakis and didn't have any trouble introducing his four brothers into the Holy war of Independence as well as some of the most notable men of Dovista, who saw to arming the nearby villages.

However, he had to leave Serres because of a severe dispute he had with the Serres' Bey, and moved to Constantinople, where he had the chance to co-operate better with the members of the 'Society of Friends'. Meanwhile, his fame concerning his patriotic actions had spread throughout every part of Greece. He had also planned an attempt on the Sultan's life which finally failed because of betrayal.

When the revolution was proclaimed, Emmanuel Papas left Constantinople and went to Agion Oros where he was welcomed with enthusiasm by the monks and was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Macedonia. As soon as he set up his headquarters in Agion Oros, he took action with his 2,500 men. Meanwhile, a revolutionary movement had broken out in Serres under the direction of the Arch Bishop, soon to be quelled. The city had narrowly escaped devastation and slaughter. That happened on 8th May 1821, the feast-day of John Theologos the Evangelist, who is considered to be the protector and saviour of Serres. So, 14 years later, in 1835, the inhabitants of Serres built the homonymous church in the area of Ano Kamenikia, in his honour. But although the city devastation was avoided, the avenging fury of the Turks broke out in Emmanouel Papas' family. His wife and children were sent to prison. His property was confiscated and his house was burnt to the ground.

But Papas himself continued the struggle in Halkidiki despite lack of help. While the Turks had started a general attack against the Greeks, Papas kept on appealing to Ypsilantis but nothing happened in the end. His achievements in Kassandra and the disposal of his property didn't save the revolutionary movement. So after the expedition of Abdul Aboud, the destruction of Kassandra and the subordination of the monks of Agion Oros forced Papas to leave while the Turks were hounding him. He sailed for Hydra but because he was exhausted by the severities and the emotions of his tragic adventure, he died after a heart attack on the boat at exactly the moment that it was sailing round Kafirea. The hero's body was taken to Hydra where he was buried with the trimmings of a general. In 1843, his name was hung up in the Greek Parliament as one of the protagonists of the Revolution of 1821.

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