Papaflessas or Gregorius Dikaeos

Papaflessas

Papaflessas or Gregorius Dikaeos was born in Poliani of Arcadia in 1788. He was the 28th child of the Flsessas family. He studied in Dimitsana School and was ordained deacon. From 1816 to 1817 he was a monk in Velanidies, Kalamata and then in the monastery of Rekita in Mystras. The monastic life did not suit his character and thus after a violent episode with a Turk, he made his way first to Zakynthos and from there to Constantinople, where he was initiated into "Philiki Hetaeria" (a nationalist organization aiming at the liberation of Byzantine Empire), by Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos, Alexandros Hypsilantes, the leader of the organization appointed him as General and gave him the mandate to declare the revolution in the Peloponnese (Morias).

So in 1820, he came from Aivali of Mikra Asia to Kitries of the Peloponnese with his brother Nikitas Dikaeos, carrying ammunition. As coverage for his clandestine operations he carried letters of Patriarch Gregorius 5th, who was also a member of Philiki Hetaeria. On 26th September of 1820, all dignitaries of the Peloponnese (Moreas) (Andreas Lontos, Antreas Zaimis, Haralabis, Bishop of Patrai Germanos, Papadiamantopoulos, Roufos, etc), were gathered in Vostitsa (Aegion) to discuss the breaking out of the revolution. Everyone was hesitant, because they knew that if they failed, the greek population would suffer the wrath of Sultan. They all remembered the failure of the revolution of 1770 when Orloff brothers from Russia promised to help, but at the end they abandoned the revolutionaries and terrible massacres followed by Turkoalbanians. Papaflessas tried to convince them to start the war immediatly and even threatened them that he would start the revolution alone with the Maniates, and alas to whom the Turks would find without weapons.

Papaflessas travelled to every single village of the Peloponnese and talked about the revolution. He went to the monastery of Aghios Ilias in Mani, near Kalamata. On 22th March 1821, Papaflessas, Kolokotronis, Mourtzinos, Ilas Mavromichales, Petros Mavromichalis (Leader of Mani), Nikitas Stamatelopoulos entered Kalamata, disarmed the garrison and arrested the commander Arnaoutoglou. The Greek Revolution had just started.

Papaflessas took part in almost all the battles fought in the Peloponnese. In 1825 following Egyptian Ibrahim's invasion of the Peloponnese, he fought with only 300 men against 6000 Turko-Egyptian soldiers in Maniaki near Kalamata, where he was killed on May 20, 1825. His last message was sent to his brother Nikitas, from whom he had asked for reinforcements. "We will fight and we will die like the 300 Spartans of Leonidas", were the last words addressed to the old priest Papagiorgos who fought side by side with him.