Kyprianos of Cyprus

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Archbishop Kyprianos of Cyprus was the primate of Church of Cyprus from 1810 to his death in 1821. During his tenure as archbishop he concentrated his efforts on revitalizing the education for the Orthodox people on Cyprus.

Life

Abp. Kyprianos was born at Strovolos, a suburb of Nicosia. While still a child he entered the Machairas Monastery where he began his education and was tonsured a monastic. In 1783 while traveling in Wallachia, he became a protégé of Prince Michael Soutsos (a scion of the great Phanariote family of Soutsos, Grand Dragoman, and Hospodar of Moldavia). He completed his education in the Greek schools that flourishing there.

In 1802, Kyprianos returned to his monastery and a short time later was engaged as an oikonomos (cf. Clergy awards) of the Archbishopric. In 1810, he was elected Archbishop of Cyprus. He placed his main efforts on revitalizing the island's education. In 1812, Abp. Kyprianos founded the Pancyprian Gymnasium (Παγκύπριο Γυμνάσιο). The school, which became the oldest high school on Cyprus, was originally named the Hellenic School (Ελληνική Σχολή).

As the nineteenth century began Greek partisans became more active in pressing for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 1818, Abp. Kyprianos became involved when he was initiated into the Greek revolutionary Friendly Society (Filiki Eteria) which was preparing the ground for war and liberation. When asked in 1820 by Alexander Ypsilantis, the leader of the Filiki Eteria, to support Cyprus joining the struggle, Abp. Kyprianos pragmatically suggested that support by Cyprus be through money and supplies, as isolated Cyprus would end up a disaster with no defenses itself. The revolt by Filiki Eteria began on March 25, 1821, but failed.

In retaliation, the Pasha of Cyprus, Kucuk Mehmet, began arresting prominent Cypriots. Abp. Kyprianos was advised to leave the island, but refused. On July 9, 1821, Kucuk Mehmet began the execution of almost 500 prominent Cypriot Greeks, including Abp. Kyprianos. On July 9, Abp. Kyprianos was hanged on a tree across from the former palace of the Lusignan Kings of Cyprus.

Source

  • George Tsoulios and Tasos Hadjis. Historical Album of the Greek War of Independence 1821: An Illustrated Chronicle. Vol 1. Transl. Kypros Psyllides and Patroclos Stavrou. Melissa, Athens, [197-].

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