Translated by Elizabeth Tenny-Babouri
1) His name
2) Place of Origin
3) His Transition to a Monastic Life and the Beginning of His Journey
4) The Nature Of His Journey
5) His Preaching
6) His First Grand Entrance to the City of Kalamata
7) The Measures Taken by the Government and the People’s Reaction
8) His Arrest
9) Papoulakos’ Incarceration in the Patras Prison
10) His Imprisonment in Andros and his Sanctified Death
11) Papoulakos’ Honoured Memory in our Time
12) The Christoforos Papoulakos Foundation
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 Christoforos Panagiotopoulos or as he is widely known as
Papoulakos. He was from the village of Arbouna located near the town of Klitoria
in the Kalavrita 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 Kollevadon from
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
command1. 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 socio-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 of Aetolou
(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
As a start we will look at this great personality called ‘Papoulakos’, by referring to
his biographical record.
1) Papoulakos’ Name
According to the 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
King Otto was the first Modern King of Greece protected by the Great Powers (United Kingdom,
France, Russian Empire). During his reign (1832-1862) his government was initially run by a
three-man regency council from the Bavarian court. Maurer, one of the three regents was
appointed the position concerning the church and its faith. He tried to change the nature of
religion during the period of Greece’s newly gained freedom. Additionally, Maurer managed to
make strict laws enforcing the subordination of the church to the state.
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 ‘Christoforos the Monk’ or ‘Christoforos 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
north east 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
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
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
Assumption 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
In 1847 he left his monk’s cell (skete) travelling again to the villages and
preaching the Word of God. The studying of ecclesiastic 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 with 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
ecclesiastic 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 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 Christoforos’ 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, philosophic and spiritual beings. 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. On his sermon finishing he would stay
overnight at a monastery if there were one close by or else with a poor and
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 Christoforos 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 in that period, 1845 from the 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
Christoforos 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. Christoforos’ 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 Spetai. 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 to 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 Profitis
Ilias 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
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 Assumption 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
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 Christoforos, the monk of small
8) His Arrest
His arrest was impossible in the 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
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 Makario 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 Christoforos 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
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
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, 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 Akhaia.
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
10) His Imprisonment in Andros and His Sanctified Death
The Government could leave him free but the churches 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 earth-
bound 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 of 18th
going towards the 19th January 1861 on the same day as St Athanasios’ name
day. This day is celebrated in 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 Christoforos’ burial in Andros at the cemetery of the Monastery
Panokhraton 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
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 Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which he had built himself in
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 thaumaturgical.
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
Christoforos many of which contain pieces of his robes.
Churches have been built in his memory in different areas over 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.
Christoforos 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 days of Papoulakos’. It is awaited for Christoforos to be officially canonized
by the Eucumenical Patriarchate as an event, which the Greek Orthodox 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
What is worthy of attention is some further information from the Archimandrite
and Superior of the Monastery Panokhraton 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, Christoforos 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 for over
centuries to do, 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 Christoforos 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
The aim of Archimandrate Nectarios N. Petta is to create a foundation from the
Papoulakos’ house. It will show the work of Christoforos and other important
Greek and Orthodoxy figures. Simultaneously, it will operate as a centre for
studies on the 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 Christoforos Papoulakos Foundation.
My gratitude and sincere thanks is expressed to Elizabeth Tenny-Babouri for her
translation, thus, bringing Papoulakos to the English-speaking world.
Copyright © 2008 by Archimandrite Nectarios N. Pettas