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Ioannis Stavrianos

THE GREEK REVOLUTION OF 1821 - IOANNIS STAVRIANOS

It is historical that many Greek Cypriots became members of Filiki Eteria (Society of Friends). A considerable number of Cypriots fighters moved to Greece during the Revolution. From relevant sources that have survived, it is witnessed that about 500 Cypriots participated in the Greek Revolution either individually or as members of organized groups. Typical is the flag of a Cypriot revolutionary group, which is now exhibited in the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Athens, on which it is written in misspellings "Flag of the Greek Mother of Cyprus". These reports allow some researchers to calculate the Cypriot participation in about 1000 fighters. If we also take into account that the population in Cyprus at that time was estimated from 80,000 to 100,000 people, then the number of Cypriots taking part in the Revolution is quite impressive.

Ioannis Stavrianos from Lofou was an exemplary case of a Cypriot who took part in the Revolution of 1821 as he is the only Cypriot fighter who left us memoirs. In his autobiography which is entitled "Treatise of the adventures of my life and a collection of various unknown facts concerning the history of Greece", released in 1982 by the Research Centre of Mainland Greece, Stavrianos describes in detail the battles of Athens in1826-1927 and the siege of Acropolis. He even specifies clearly in the death of Karaiskakis: "Karaiskakis was fighting near where I was and my co-fighters… we had assaulted their unit almost twenty times… nobody came out of the unit. All the Greek revolts were quite near the unit and so was Karaiskakis. Suddenly a Turk attacked Karaiskakis unexpectedly and shot him, his shot was precise. The Arab that Karaiskakis had always with him benefited from the situation and defected to the Turks".

Ioannis Stavrianos was a wealthy merchant from Lofou. He was born in 1804 and he received a basic form of education in Limassol. Later on, he developed a rich Egypt as owner of a merchant ship. On the eve of the Greek Revolution started he became a member of Filiki Eteria. When the Greek Revolution began in the Peloponnese, he sailed to Greece as a group leader of Cypriot fighters. Stavrianos has funding himself the expenses of the whole group. In 1825, since he had no other financial resources, he was forced along with his co-fighters to join the regular army. His relatively high education contributed to his advancement from petty officer to officer. He took part in all the battles led by the legendary Karaiskakis in the area of Athens in the years 1826-27. He was captured as hostage during a battle, but he was saved from execution by Choussein Ntoulla, the chief bodyguard of Kioutachis. After release he settled in Athens and advanced in his carrer in the ranks of the Greek Gendarmerie. In 1862, he was serving in Argolida where he played a decisive role in the Revolution of Nafplio, which was the beginning of the expulsion of King Otto. Shortly afterwards he retired and he got engaged successfully in trade. He died at the age of 83, on March 2, 1887 and he was buried in the First Cemetery of Athens. In 1998, Lofou Association took the initiative to request the translation of the bones of Ioannis Stavrianos from Athens to Lofou, his birth place, in Lofou, which are now placed in an ossuary. His last descendants have in their possession some important heirlooms of Ioannis Stavrianos such as weapons, military uniforms and various documents and manuscripts concerning the Revolution and his memoirs.

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