Notable persons

zoi fytoussi

Zoe Fitousi

Zoe Fitousi was the most famous Pityan artist of the 20th century, even though very few people know her place of origin. Yet, the great Greek singer, actress and writer, was born in Athens on September 4, 1933, by a Pityan father, named Polychronis Fitousis, a veteran of the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922.

Polychronis Fytousis moved to Athens in the 20’s working as an employee for the Ministry of Interior. There, he married Aggeliki, a refugee woman from Asia Minor and together they settled down at the refugee neighbourhood of Saint Antonios in Peristeri, Athens. They had four children, three girls – one of them little Zoe – and one boy. Polychronis preserved a nostalgia for his place of origin and from time to time he kept on visiting Pityos, till the 50’s when he passed away. It seems that Zoe Fytousi never did this trip on her own. She lived instead with the hard and poor childhood memories, from the side of her mother’s refugee family. As she had mentioned in one of her last interviews just before she died:

«…My life is a permanent struggle. I was born in this refugee shanty. All seven people in my family used to live in this shanty in Peristeri. As a very poor refugee’s child, I managed to reach somewhere, walking step by step, with a very hard struggle. Every winter, when this shantie’s cold and dump made us shiver, the priests were giving us the army’s coats and blankets. There were many times when our shanties were flooded and our parents had to rush and get the water out with buckets otherwise we would drown! We had very hard times. But that’s ok, this is life after all. We learn how to survive.’….»

Her life was fascinating! Her relationship with arts was experiential. As she was saying:

«….For me, who started writing in my childhood, art was like breathing! When you’re 11 years old, of course you cannot imagine what comes next, although, in the bottom of my heart, I believe we know it since the day we are born….»

She studied at the Greek Conservatory and at the Drama School of Michalis Kounelakis. Her first role at the theatre was at her 20s in 1953, at the play of «The Marquesas of the poor neighbourhood» (Samartzi theatre). She acted in all styles from dramatic to comedian roles, working with major actors and directors.

Her first movie was, 1952’s “Zaira” of Filippas Fillipou. She appeared in many movies of the so-called golden era of the mainstream and commercial Greek cinema of the 60's. At the same time, she appeared in TV and Radio programmes.

As a singer, she performed songs of the most prominent composers, such as Manos Hatzidakis (songs like «O Tachidromos pethane» - The mailman passed away and «Ferte mou ena mantolino» - Get me a Mandolin, are the most famous songs), Stavros Xarchakos, Giorgo Katsaros, Apostolos Kaldaras and Manos Loizos.

Her most famous song, Hatzidakis’ «Ferte mou ena mantolino», was performed by her for the first time in the Pirandello’s play «Tonight we improvise» in 1961 at «Theatre of Athens», by Dimitris Myrat and Voula Zoumboulaki. As she was saying:

« day I heard that Myrat was doing Pirandello’s “Tonight we improvise” and there was tension between the director and the composer. One wanted a drama actress while the other wanted a lyrical voice. I thought I might fit this role. I knew Myrat, as he was my teacher, and I phoned him immediately. He asked me to go and meet Hatzidaki at Finos Films’ studio, on Chios str. where he was doing all his auditions. But that was impossible since I was working at “Vembo’s theatre”.

So Myrat, arranged an appointment for me, at Hatzidakis house, at 2 o clock in the afternoon. I must have been there four times before I got to see him! Four times! Hatzidakis didn’t want to see me as that was his siesta hour! When he finally came out, on my 4th attempt, I almost passed out! He seemed to be very tall, very overweight and very handsome. How could I sing before him? I asked him which song he would like me to perform. To avoid comparIng me with Nana Moushouri, I suggested a Greek popular song and a foreign folk song. 

“I’d rather prefer the foreign one” he replied. 

Therefore I chose an Italian one, which was a very big hit in Greece by that time.

“Goodness me!” he shouted, and sat at his piano trying to get my tone. He afterwards phoned immediately to the newspapers and said to them: “I have found a warm voice”!

The next day I was called on his rehearsal»

Zoe Fytousi had also a career as a writer, writing even from her young age. She published her works: «The magic book», «Besides», «Ain’t no grave», «A bullet», «Help, I want to live», «Book of students: Hellenic treatment», «Greek and Italian modern poets», «Menandros: Gnomae Monostichou» etc. Her poem «None, but none» was awarded and selected to a collection of the Italian anthology of Greek-Italian poetry «Anthologia di poeti Italiani e Greci», Accademia Internazionale di Propaganda Culturale, 1996.

She was also an active member of the Union of Greek Actors (Σ.Ε.Η.) and a leading figure together with Anna Fonsou and others, in creating the «House of the Actor», a well-known institution giving shelter to dozens of homeless or retired poor actors.

She passed away on July 23, 2017, in Athens at the age of 83. In the last years of her life, she was facing serious health issues.

Her artistic imprint, will remain in the Greek arts panorama (music, theatre, cimena, books). At the same time, she will live forever in our memories as an example of a vanguard activist of feminism. Her place of origin,  always remembers her as one of its most brilliant and unique personalities!

Selected Discography:

Selected filmography:

George Heilas

Born to one of the most well-known families of Pityos - whose house, in fact, located in the old inner square of Aplada, was commandeered by the Ottoman army of occupation as the residence of the last military commander of Chios, Zichni Bey, during the events of 1912 - the teacher Giorgos Heilas, linked his name forever with the history of his village, recording it and at the same time becoming a part of it, with his overall research project.

He was the author of numerous texts and articles, a scholar of the local history of Pityos and Chios in general, a tireless researcher of scattered and unclassified historical sources and a pioneer of recording personal narratives of the villagers since the 50s. The heritage he left behind includes two valuable books for the history of Pityos:

The first is hard to find as it has been long out of print, is entitled, Pityos: The Story of my Village, and was privately published in Athens 1989. It is a unique source of information about Pityos, gathering in a single volume of 200 pages a lot of information, historical facts, narratives, myths, study of archival sources, photos, etc.

The second, may be called his “swan Song”, it is his autobiography entitled: The Image of a Life, what I Learned, what I Taught, what I Did (Chios 2010, ed. Alfa-Pi) in which one can read his life and work.

He worked as a teacher from 1949 to 1958, in Pityos. At the same time, he was a prominent member of the Commission for the restoration and promotion of the Holy Monastery of Mundon-Diechon and member of the Chian Union: Friends of the Forest (Filodasiki).

During the 80s he fought to solve the housing problem of the 1st Primary School of Chios where he served during the last years of his educational tenure as director.

Even later, as a retiree, he continued to deal with social issues. It is with his own intervention to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2004, and to the Deputy Minister mrs. Rodoula Zisi, in particular, that the inhabitants of the villages of Chios were freed from a series of bureaucratic procedures and costs for small-scale work permits for maintenance of their farms.

He was honoured by various organisations: the National Foundation, the Holy Metropolis of Chios, Directorate of Primary Education of Chios, the Municipality of Kardamyla, Cultural and Educational Associations of Chios and Athens, etc.

He was married to the later Alexandra Sarri Heila, also a teacher from Crete, with whom they met during the difficult years of the war when the latter was appointed in Pityos and served there on the eve of World War II, a few days before October 28th, 1940, as she was forced to stay here for the rest of the war.

metropolitan isidoros

Prominent bishops and priests of Pityos

New Martyrs, deacon George Psyrikoulis and deacon Kanaris of Pityos

Apart from their end, very little is known about these two deacons, serving at Pityos during the events of the Chios massacre of 1822.

According to the Chios researcher and hagiographer, Markos Tsaplakos who created the frescoes in the Holy Church of Agios Georgios - among them the frescoes of the two Newmartyrs, standing near the emerging Theotokos - Deacon Georgios Psyrikoulis, was chased by Vahit Pasha's soldiers in the mountain pastures, being a shepherd himself. At some point, he entered a low stone corral to hide but was spotted by the soldiers. When the soldiers tried to enter the corral, he stood up and like Samson, shook up the stone roof which was a dry-stone infrastructure, and as it fell it crushed them all. When Psyrikoulis managed to free himself from the rubble and tried to escape, he was shot by other soldiers lurking outside.

Daecon Kanaris, of Psara origin, as his surname testifies, was caught together with the villagers trapped in the tower during the siege of Pityos. He was ordered to make his own gallows and hanged himself at Makelos’ tree. That's why his mural shows him carrying a loop.

The Permanent Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church recognized and canonised the two Pityan priests as New-Martyrs and with special circulars classified them in the Hagiological Bulletins together with dozens more newly martyred priests who were exterminated during the massacre of Chios. (see Circular of the Holy Synod No. 3047, July 19, 2021)

Bishop of Nazareth Kleopas by name Konstantinos Koikilides

He was born in Pityos in 1866. He was ordained a deacon at the Monastery of Mundon. He studied Theology in Athens and Jerusalem and became an archdeacon in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

He was put as librarian at the Holy Sepulcher and studied ancient manuscripts, compiling a catalogue of Syriac ones. He translated the study of the French monk Vaillet: The Monasteries of Palestine. In collaboration with Ioannis Fokylides, he wrote the work Journeys in the Holy Land.

In September 1921 he was ordained Bishop of the Diocesaria of Palestine, which is the ancient Greek city of Sapphoris, (i.e. today's Zapori in Hebrew or Saforiyia in Arabic), located a few kilometres north of Nazareth.

A year later, in August 1922, he became the Archbishop of Nazareth. He died in 1929. He was the first of a series of priests who were born in Pityos and climbed high in the bosom of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. (For his writings, see the database of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki:

Bishop Gregorios, by name Gregorios Spanoudis

He was born in Pityos in 1867. He was ordained in 1898 and served for two years as Archdeacon under Bishop Konstantinos of Chios. He studied Theology in Athens at EKPA University and in 1904 he was awarded a doctorate.

Bishop Deligiannis invited him to Constantinople, where he was ordained a priest and appointed Head of the Holy Church of “Agios Ioannis of Chios”, a church dedicated to the Chian community of Constantinople. Later he served as vicar at the Patriarchal Temple of Fener. At the same time, he will assume the duties of a Religious Studies teacher at the Greek Orthodox School of Galata.

In 1926 the Metropolitan Bishop of Chios Ieronymos Gorgias asked him to return to Chios and serve as his assistant. Thus, he will be ordained Bishop of the Metropolis of Chios, a position he will maintain until his death in June 1937.

During his service in Chios, he visited Pityos several times and made a large donation for the building of the school, financing the stone staircase with its characteristic black and red marble. Besides, the very plot of land on which the school building was erected in 1925 was a donation of the Spanoudis family. (Heilas, p. 183)

The first Archbishop of Ioannoupolis (Johannesburg) Isidoros by name Isidoros Georgiadis or Georgos

He was born in Pityos in the year of the great earthquake in 1881. His parents were called Michalis Georgiadis/Georgos and Marigo and they were farmers.

The Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Throne, George K. Liadis, connects the Georgiadis or Georgos family of Pityos, with its great ancestor, Saint Nikiforos of Chios, from Kardamyla (1750-1821). Besides, the name Georgiadis or Georgos has now disappeared from Kardamyla but still survives in Pityos. (see Georgiou K. Liadi, O Osios Nikiforos o Chios, pp. 12-13, Chios 1999).

With the help of his fellow villager, bishop Kleopas, he joined the Theological School of the Cross in Jerusalem and then the Holy Sepulcher brotherhood initially as a deacon in 1903. He became successively Archimandrite, Director of the Urban School of Jerusalem and General Supervisor of the Schools of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. In Alexandria he was appointed by the Patriarch vicar of the Church of Saint Savvas and presiding judge of Ecclesiastical law.

The Patriarchate of Alexandria entrusted him with some of the most difficult missions, first as Exarch of Abyssinia in 1923, then as vicar in South Africa.

In 1928 he took over as Bishop of the newly founded Diocese of Ioannoupolis (Johannesburg) where he remained until his untimely death from illness in 1938 at the age of 57.

During his tenure there, he was particularly distinguished for the organization of the new church among the Greek immigrants of the country, while also giving lessons in the Greek language and trying to deal with the much more organized and rich missions of the Catholics and the Protestants (see Metropolitan Bishop of Zimbabwe Makarios, The Foundation of the Holy Metropolis of Ioannoupolis/Johannesburg and the first Metropolitan Bishop Isidoros 1928-1938, The Episcopal Issue 17, Athens 1998, pp 260-262).

According to Heilas, he visited Pityos twice, in 1922 and 1936 - the second time already being a Metropolitan Bishop - and seeing the prevailing poverty, in his will, he donated the sum of 1,000 golden liras, as an endowment for the village school and to be given as a scholarship to Pityan students. (Heilas, p. 182).

The memory of his second visit to Pityos has been preserved in the short stories of Yiannis Giannomoros (1865-1960) in the 1950s as recorded by his grandson, Pityan lawyer Antonis Chloros:

"...I knew Bishop Isidoros from my childhood. I was around 12-15 years older. My parents were relatives to his parents. Isidoros loved reading and was busy with the church's sanctuary and the psaltery since he was a small child. It seemed that one day he will become somebody. He left for the Holy Land, studied, and became a Bishop. 

I remember when he came to Pityos, to see his own people, he was now a great and well-known Bishop. When he arrived in the village, we had laid myrtle leaves on the road and in the inner square and the bell was ringing for his arrival. He reached the Aplada square. The villagers had gathered to welcome him. It was summer, and harvest, had just finished.

With tears in his eyes, he blessed those gathered, kissed his family, and saw among the villagers, old man Fitousis. He approached him, bowed down, repented in front of him and tearfully took the old man's hand and kissed it with great respect. He was his godfather; he had baptised him some fifty-five years ago. The repentance of the great Bishop before the illiterate poor-clothed old man shows his greatness. It can be seen how great he was also from the fact that he left all his savings for children from our village to study.

I remember that all the days he stayed in Pityos, he would go with a book under his arm, to the chapels and more often to Panagia Spiliotina. He would sit there for hours, reading and praying. One day he came to visit the chapels of Saint Markos and Prophet Elias and passed by where I had my bees. He sat down to see and talk to me. I treated him to a piece of honey-pie and gave it to him on a fig-leaf. He took it in his hand and looking at the sky he said: 

...everything in wisdom hath created! 

Then a bee went onto the honey, and as I tried to chase it away with my hand, I finally killed it. Then the Bishop said to me: 

"...John, we took her toil and her work, and this creature of God came to defend her life. We, unjust but strong, killed her. Doesn't that happen in life too? Always the strong grabs, wrongs, and kills...".

Markos Costalas, who had his bees higher up, also came down and sat with us. The Bishop asked us, about all the villagers and seemed to be happy, but also to suffer for what we told him, for the joys and sorrows of fellow villagers. He cared about everyone. He spoke beautifully and sang even more beautifully. You were glad to hear him. He asked us to tell him stories from the past, that is, our pranks and exploits from childhood. Great man I tell you!

His early death was a great loss for Pityos. If he lived, he would become a Patriarch. Our cousin Bishop, Grigorios Spanoudis, also said that, admitted and believed it. Gregory used to say that "...if Isidoros had not died so young, he would definitely have become Patriarch...". Isidoros Georgiadis and Grigorios Spanoudis, both Pityan Bishops, were almost the same age. Perhaps Isidore was a little older than Gregory." (see:

His grave, according to his wish, is in Bulawayo, then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

According to Antonios Chloros:

"In memory of the blessed Hierarch, an elegant cenotaph was built on the southeast side of the Pityos’ School. But after years this was removed, to create the square in front of the school. The carved stones of the cenotaph were used for the construction of the facade of the gyneconite of the Church of Agia Paraskevi, where to this day there is the metope of the cenotaph, above the door of the gyneconite of the Church, with the inscription "Metropolitan Isidoros". (op.p.)

Ibrahim Edhem Pasha

Yiannis Tsilimos

Yannis Tsilimos, the Pasha of Pityos

Yannis Tsilimos holds a special place in the list of well known people from Pityos. He was a young boy when he and his sister were sold as slaves in the slave-bazaar of Izmir, during the Chios massacre in 1822. From then on he followed a unique path.

Yannis Tsilimos in the oral history of the village

His memory was preserved by word of mouth in the popular tradition of Pityos and his story was recorded by Georgios Heilas, as it was told by Giorgis Chloros (1902-1991) who had heard it from his father-in-law, Giannis Giannomoros (1865 -1960). Giannomoros was the owner of the traditional olive mill of Pityos and had met Yiannis Tsilimos during his lifetime.

"The children of the Tsilimos family, a boy called Giannis and his sister, Kyriaki, 5 -6 years old, were taken by the Turks after the massacre and sold as slaves in Asia Minor. There is no information about the fate of their parents but they were surely killed by the Turks.

Kyriaki lived with a Turkish family that bought her. The housewife of this family was Christian and her name was Fotini, Fatme in Turkish, and was a very beautiful woman. When Kyriaki Tsilimos grew up, she got married to Fotini’s son, Soukri, (it means Socrates in Turkish), who was named after Fotini's father.

The father of Soukri, the husband of Fotini, was a partner of her father, Socrates, a Christian as well. Socrates was very fond of Kyriaki (daughter of Tsilimos) who was a beautiful and spirited girl.

Sοukri bought one of the young Greek men captured by the Turks, in order for his wife Kyriaki to have help at the household and other errands. The young slave was in a bad condition, raggedy and tortured. When her husband informed Kyriaki about the young man and brought him to the house, as expected, she asked him about his previous life, where he is from and how he got there. The young man replied that the Turks kidnapped him from Pytios in the island of Chios as a child and that he had a sister, but he knew nothing about his parents.

From his story and all the details Kyriaki realized that the young man was her brother. She was shocked, overwhelmed and became very emotional with emotion as it was likely to happen and revealed all this to her husband. Soukri received this revelation very compassionately and, from then on, they took care of Yiannis Tsilimos and treated him as brother. 

They protected him in every way and educated him and despite Soukri's early death Kyriaki did not stop caring and helping her brother. Yiannis Tsilimos with his abilities, entered the Turkish hierarchy and managed to become “Pasha''. (that is a very important high officer statesman)

When he got retired, he came and settled in Pityos in his house, in the place of 'Tsilimos', which the old men of the past generation remember being decorated with carpets and the special care of his interior." (Heilas, pp. 29-30)

The Pityans of that time remembered that old Tsilimos, as he had remained unmarried, and with no children, he used to buy from poor fellow Christians, properties and fields which he did not intend to use and later he bequeathed them to the community or to other villagers. It was an indirect way of helping his ancestral village that had suffered so much during the massacre. Moreover, in 2001, the new church of Agios Georgios Hiopolitis (St. George Hiopolitis) was built on the piece of land where Yannis' residence was, at the entrance of the village. The ruins of the house were well-kept until the 70s.

Similar famous stories of young Chians at the massacre of Chios

The story of the “Pasha of Pityos” who did helped his village with his donations and contributions is perhaps one of the less-known stories of the young Chians who were captured as slaves in 1822 and converted to Islam.

A well-known story is the story of Giorgos Chalkias Stravelakis (1817-1878) from the neighboring village of Kardamyla, who was baptized Mustapha Kazhnadar and became the Grand Vizier and reformer of Ottoman Tunisia, between 1855-1873.

Or the story of Ibrahim Edhem Pasha (1819-1893) which is also known; he was born in a poor Christian family in a village of Chios and went on to become ambassador, minister and, for a short time (1877-1878,) Grand Vizier in Constantinople (a title equivalent to that of a Prime Minister).

There’ s also Hekim Ismail Pasha born in Chios to a Greek family (1807-1880) and, after the massacre, was sold to a distinguished Ottoman doctor in Izmir who trained him and helped him become outstanding surgeon, and, later, Pasha in charge of the Vilayet (Prefecture) of Aydin (1868-1869).

Yiannis Tsilimos did not become so famous. Even his Ottoman name did not survive in order to help us find his status within the Ottoman hierarchy. However, he holds a special and touching part of the Pityos history of the 19th century.

Source: Georgos Heilas, Pityos: the History of my Village, Athens 1989

icon of saint george

Saint George Chiopolitis

Saint George Chiopolitis, George Tsopanis from Pityos

Saint Georgε Chiopolitis was born in 1785 in Pityos. He was the son of Paraskevas and Aggerou and his family name was Giorgos Tsopanis. When he was nine months old his mother passed away. Soon after his father remarried and Georgios was raised by his stepmother.

At the age of nine, his father sent him to a wood carver named Vissetzis, to teach him the art of woodcarving. The craftsman took him along to Psara Island where they undertook the construction of the temple of the church of Saint Nikolas. While in Psara, George met some other young boys and sneaked off the island without notifying his tutor.

Muslim in Kavala

The boys ended up in the city of Kavala where, being hungry, they tried to steal watermelons from a garden, but were spotted and chased by the owner. Most of them escaped by jumping the farmyard of the estate, but little George was not able to so he was caught and handed over to the Kadi, that is the Sharia judge. The fear of being punished and the judge’s pressure, forced him to convert to Islam. He was circumcised and named Ahmed. So, he started working for Ottoman employers.

Visits and return to Chios.

In the meantime, his family lost track of him, until one day a ship arrived in Chios carrying watermelons and George, now an apprentice sailor, was seen by a relative disembarking. The relative who heard that they were referring to him as Ahmed. So, he approached Georgios and asked him about it, but the young man did not respond. He ran and got on board.

After some time, George visited Chios and his father's house, but he did not manage to meet anyone, because no one was home when he arrived.  Later, in a last attempt to meet his family, he returned dressed in clothes that indicated his origin and that he is an Orthodox Christian, and finally met his father. He was regretful for converting to Islam and declared his faith in Jesus Christ. His father received him in tears and led him to the pastor of the parish in order for him to confess and receive spiritual guidance.

Saint George in Kydonies (Ayvalik) of Asia Minor

George stayed at the paternal house in Chios, but his father did not stop fearing that he might be punished if his return to Christianity would be rumoured. So, they travelled to Kydonies in Asia Minor (today's Ayvalik) and George was placed in the service of an orthodox Christian farmer. When the man learned his story, to protect him, he sent him to work far from the city.

Ten years passed, George was working and living in accordance with the rules of the Christian faith, and he felt safe. Despite the time that had passed his father was still worried about the consequences his son's decision might have. For this reason, he prompted him to leave with a Russian ship, but George refused. (It was the time after the treaty of Küçük-Kaynarca of 1774, when the Russians had received navigation privileges from the Ottomans, regarding the travels from the Black Sea to the Aegean and the Mediterranean, and several Chians began to excel as sailors in their merchant fleet).

Arrest and imprisonment of George

George, however, moved to the city of Kydonies and stayed in the house of an old Christian woman who as time passed took her as his mother and told her everything that had happened to him. Two years later, at the age of twenty-two, he was engaged to a local girl.  His fiancée's parents asked the old woman her opinion about the young man and among all the good things she said, she recklessly revealed everything to them. Eventually all family members now knew his story. As a result, one day when George had a quarrel with his fiancée’s brother over some money issues, the brother reported him to the authorities. When George's friends heard this, they urged him to hide and save himself, but he refused.

He was soon arrested and brought before the judge. When the judge asked his name, he replied that his name was George and that he wanted to die under that name. After making various promises, pressuring and threatening him to deny his faith, the judge warned him that if he chose to die he should know that he would have a very cruel death. George replied: “Kill me. I accept my death with joy." He was then taken to prison where he remained from November 8 to 25, 1807. He bravely endured torture and he remained dedicated to his faith, until he was sentenced to death by decapitation.

Torture and death

In the meantime, the Christians were praying for George - he was very dear - to get strength to endure until the end. This consoled him and gave him strength. George thanked God and asked a priest to visit him in the prison. To make this possible, the Christians of the city staged a fight in which a priest was also involved. They aimed that the priest would be arrested and temporarily would be kept in jail, together with George. Indeed, George met the priest in the cell, confessed his sins to him and received Holy Communion.

On his way to the execution, George asked for forgiveness from all the Christians he met on his way and to pray for his soul. One of them, who served the Turkish agha, offered George to exchange positions and to die instead of him for Christ. George refused this time, too, saying: "I denied Christ and I am dying for His name".

While his captors continued to ask him to repent, George declared his faith and shouted that he wanted to die a Christian. On hearing this, the executioner shot him in the back and a lot of blood poured out from the wound. He ordered him to bow his head and struck his neck with the sword. George did not die immediately, but after a series of harsh blows. He continued to pray until the last moment. He was only twenty-two years old.

After the martyr's end the people who had gathered around moved towards his warm body with great sorrow.

Fotis Kontoglou, the writer from Ayvalik, describes characteristically:

"Then the whole crowd poured out frantically at the warm body. And another cleaned up the blood, another embraced the holy relic or the stone where he was killed, another tore a piece of his garment, another glorified God. The Turks beat them with sticks and kicked them but in vain. The agha ordered them to beat them, and the Turks shouted and fell upon the Christians with bare swords. The poor Christians scattered shouting "Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy" and one lost his lantern, another his cane, another his shoes, another his cap...".

The faithful Christians buried him on the deserted islet of Nissopoula, near Ayvalik. Years later, his remains were transferred to a church built in his honour above the place of his martyrdom, in Kydonies, and placed to the right of the Holy Altar, as a martyr's relic. A great celebration was held in his honour, until the Asia Minor disaster of 1922. He was and remains the patron saint of Kydonians around the world. In modern times he is especially honoured in Chios, Lesvos, Santorini, and Syros.

His house, the temples and icons in honor of the Saint In Pityos

In one of the alleys of Pityos, the visitor will come across the humble house of Agios Georgios Chiopolitis and a small shrine is built nearby. A larger shrine in his honour is located in the middle square of the village.

At the southern entrance of Pityos there is a large church in honour of the Saint, inaugurated on August 11, 2001.

Outside of Chios

A Holy Church of Agios Georgios Chiopolitis has also been erected in Dionysos, Attica, and in Aktio, Preveza.

Holy relics of the Saint are kept in Panayuda of Lesvos and in the Holy Monastery of the Prophet Elias of Santorini.

An icon of the Saint created in 1847, is kept in the holy cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Ermoupoli, Syros, where the Saint is honoured as the patron saint of bakers.

One of the most famous frescoes depicting the Saint can be found in the holy church of St. Nikolas, Kato Patisia (Acharnon Street) in Athens and is the creation of Fotis Kondoglou.

The silver covering of the Saint's chariot is in the Benaki Museum in Athens.


  • Kondoglou Fotis, The Martyr of Saint George the Chiopolitis, Kivotos publications, Αthens, 1953
  • Sotiriou G. P., The New Martyr Saint George Chiopolitis - patron saint of Kydonies, Mytilene 1955
  • Chalkia-Stefanou Popi, The Saints of Chios, Eptalofos 2nd edition, Athens 2008.

book cover drimakos

Drimakos: The Spartacus of Pityus!

The first successful slave’s revolt in Ancient Greece, led by Messenian Drimakos and the first autonomous republic of freed slaves, seems to be taking place in Pityos!

According to Nymphodorus the Sicilian

During the 3rd century BC, some Chians who left the island and immigrated to Lower Italy, carried the story of a great slave revolt on the island of Chios. The rebellion took place a few decades earlier. According to these testimonies, the slaves were indignant at the miserable conditions of their lives and led by the Messenian Drimakos, they managed to defeat the guards of the lords and settle in Northern Chios, in the natural fortified position defined by the Aipus plateau and Pellinaio with its high peaks. There they created an autonomous community of equal and free citizens with its own political, judicial, economic and military system.

The lords from the plains could no longer subjugate them and for this reason they negotiated with their leader Drimakos, a mundus vivendi of peaceful coexistence, between the two “worlds”, that is, the landlords and their ex-slaves. Based on this agreement, the lords would not send an army against them again and would respect their autonomy, and the freed former slaves would no longer accept new slaves into their ranks and turn back those who broke it, unless they bore obvious signs of abuse by their bosses.

However, the lords continued to have Drimakos himself rewarded. Drimakos, knowing about the proclamation, when he fell seriously ill and was about to die, asked his most faithful companion - according to some versions his lover himself - to take his head and take it to the city to collect the reward of the proclamation and share it with the community.

But with the death of Drimakos, the stability in the relations between lords and slaves was disturbed and new rebellions and defections of slaves continued without anyone to stop them. Chios again plunged into social chaos. The lords believed that this was God's punishment upon them, for the execution of Drimakos. In order to propitiate him they built temples and altars in his honor, worshiping him as a semi-god, equal to Hercules. So Drimakos went down in history for many reasons.

This is reported by the historian of Lower Italy, Nymphodorus the Sicilian. The authenticity of the above story is questionable, as apart from Nymphodorus it has not been verified by any other historian of the time.

Drimakos inspires the Deipnosophistae

However, a few years after Nymphodorus, the Deipnosophistae with Athenaeus of Naucratis came to reflect on this case. In his 228 BC records their relevant dialogue in which they compare the up to then, failed slave revolts with the successful model of Drimakos' leadership.

According to Athenaeus, Drimakos' success is endorsed by the fact that he set a model of sober and brave political governance for the rebellious slave community and practiced “realpolitik” against the former masters. On the one hand, that is, he sought to maintain a political vision and the integrity of a small and still weak new community. On the other hand, he faced the real situation in which this community remained surrounded by a hostile environment and tried to turn it in the desired direction.

The Deipnosophistae, in fact, claim that the success of the slave revolt in Chios - until then all others had failed - constitutes a kind of Nemesis of the Gods because the Chians had committed an Hubris, that is an Immoral crime: they were the first in the ancient Greek world, who bought slaves from others, without before they have been subdued in some battle.

Modern scholars

Newer studies, such as that of the Soviet Archaeologist - specializing in Ancient Chios - Irina Alexandrovna Shishova, estimate that the history of Drimakos as presented in the writings of Nymphodorus is full of internal contradictions: the worship of Drimakos by the Chian lords is not consistent with his role as leader of the rebellion. An additional detail in his writings, that Drimakos appeared posthumously in a dream to the Chian slave owners (whom they thought were responsible for his death) and warned them of the slavers' plans, seems completely improbable.

According to the German historian Richard Laqueur, Nymphodorus' text combines two different legends about different slave revolts: one is the Chian legend about the leader of the slave revolt Drimakos, the other about the unnamed "Kalokomos Hero" (Ἥρος ὐμενης). This heterogeneous material was subsequently compiled on the occasion of similar slave revolts in Sicily.

The social context in which the story of Drimakos is born.

In the historical literature there are various dates for the revolt of the slaves of Chios, with a range from the 6th to the 2nd century BC. Irina Alexandrovna Shishova considers the period between the 4th-3rd century BC as the most correct dating, when in Chios a political struggle between the democratic forces and the aristocracy took place. That struggle weakened the united front of the slaves’ owners and therefore most likely that was the era of the story written by Nymphodorus.

Peloponnesian civil war - The alliance between Chios and Sparta

But the most prevailing version of the weakening of the Chios’ landlords seemed to be a slaves’ revolt during the Peloponnesian civil war. That was during a crucial moment of the war, between 412 and 407 BC, when the tide turned in favor of Sparta. Chios, even if it was a distinguished Athens commercial colony of Athens, after the weakening of the metropolitan ally, took the opportunity to change sides and move towards an alliance with Sparta. The Spartans of course accepted the unexpected gift, but were not in position to send enough naval forces so far to secure it.

Athen’s invasion against Chios

The Athenians send an expeditionary force, to punish the Chians renegades and to occupy some strategic ports of the island, such as Fana in the south and Delfini at Lagadas’ bay in the north. From these points manage to stop the so crucial for the survival of the island, sea trade routes.

The landlords escape to the mountains.

The Chians landlords will escape to the mountains, where in order to survive, they will take with them some slaves. They will put them working in the mountainous land and transform it to arable land. Stationed in Fana and Delfini the Athenians will call the slaves to revolt and join them. This will indeed happen to some extent.

Athenians losing the war and retreat.

In the end the Athenians were defeated, and they were forced to break the siege, withdraw from the island, and leave the slaves on their own. The Chian landlords restore order, but they cannot totally control the slaves’ population, who have gained confidence and learned to live free.

In our days there are still visible the signs of the big, fortified places of Athenians’ siege, in the port of Delfini and in 3 important sites with ruins of fortifications in the northeast border of Pityos community, at Koila, at Paleopyrgos of Skafi and at Rimokastro.

Drimakos’ Related toponyms

At the forest of Pityos towards the west border of the community’s land with the neighboring one of Katavasi, a dry stream that connects the ancient farming village of “Fardy Pigadi” with the ancient village of “Aria” – two of the villages that formed the modern era Pityos when its residents moved to it – carries the name “Drimakos’ river”.

Near Pityos, there are two locations carrying the names “Sklavos” (Slave) and “Sklavospita” (Slaves’ houses). On the west and just a few kilometres away, between Katavasi and Volissos, a smaller dry stream, is called “Tou Drimi to nero” (Drimakos’ water). At 14th kilometer  of the road Chios-Pityos, on Aipos, a passable dirt road leads to the excavation of Rimokastro. This place is being considered  by many historians as an ancient temple in which Drimakos was worshiped  as semi-God, by the Chians.

Even if we still don’t have enough scientific proof  that could take Drimakos’ story from the sphere of mythology and place it definitely in the historical context, later on writings, toponyms and more recent historical research, shows that the first successful revolutionary slave leader must  have passed  through this land. What would be  his real story?


Russian: Shishova I. A. Ancient tradition on Drimakos, Antique Society – Proceedıngs of Conference on the study of Antiquinty, Μoscow, 1967, pp. 85-91.

Russian: Shishova I. A. Slavery on Chios, Kallistov D. P. et al, Slavery at the whereabouts of the Ancinet world, Leningrand, 1968, pp. 149-192.

English: Langerwerf, Lydia (2009), Sparta: Comparative Approaches: Chapter 9 «ARISTOMENES AND DRIMAKOS: THE MESSENIAN REVOLT IN PAUSANIAS’ PERIEGESIS IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE», pp 331-360, a study upon the original ancient Greek texts of Νυμφόδωρος ο Συρακούσιος, Ένα Ταξίδι στις Ακτές της Ασίας & Αθήναιος ο Ναυκρατής, Δειπνοσοφιστές.

English: Theresa Urbainczyk . Slave’s revolt in Antiquety, Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2008, p. 30.

Greek: Δέσποινα Τσαρδάκα, Η Αρχαία Οχυρωματική Εγκατάσταση στον «Παλαιόπυργο» του Πιτυός, Περιοδικό Πελλιναίο, τεύχος 48, Χίος 2009, σελ. 38-42.

homer bust


The first "famous” man of Pityos: a humble shepherd named Glaukos (8th century BC)

The reference of the historian Pseudo-Herodotus in the 2nd century BC to Pitios introduces us to the first "famous Pityan" in history, the shepherd Glaukos. Homer's journey to Chios is analyzed by Pseudo-Herodotus and in particular in chapters 20-27 in the work, which has survived with various titles, the most widespread being "About Homer's Genesis and Life".

Adventures of Homer in Chios

The prevailing version says that Homer, disembarking from Erythraea in Chios with a company of fishermen, reached a coast, perhaps in the present-day area of Daskalopetra, in Vrontados. Some Homeric scholars, however, place the authentic stone of his teaching in Koila, in the so-called "Scholiopetra". This area is located about 6 kilometers northeast of Pityos, on the border of its vast pastures and neighboring Kydianta, above the ancient port of Delfini.

There, in his future teaching location, that is, one night he stayed on the beach and the next day,  he climbed the mountain (he probably means Aipos, even if it is not specified), and wandered around until he reached a village called Pityos. ("As he was marching and wandering he reached a village called Pitys." Pseudo-Herodotus).

There, as he was sleeping at night under a pine tree, a pine cone fell on him and woke him up. It is even said that, startled and astonished, he exclaimed: "Oh beloved mountains, are you stalking me, too?" **

Meeting with Glaukos

Afterwards Homer walked in the woods and reached the stall of a local shepherd, Glaukos, who saved him from the fury of his dogs. Glaukos was amazed and impressed at how this blind man managed to get there and asked him to tell him about his wanderings. After hearing his sufferings, he took pity on him and hosted him in his stable.

The next day Glaukos went to Volissos and informed his master, whose name was Chios, about the blind man who amazed him enormously. Even though Lord Chios considered Glaukos a fool to collect and feed the crippled, he agreed to see the stranger. However when he met Homer he was impressed by his way of speaking and his knowledge, he found him skilled and experienced and convinced him to become the tutor of his children. In this way, Glaukos contributed to Homer’s stay in Chios or spending a long period of his life on the island so that it is connected with the great minstrel.

This is what the biographer closest to the epic poet's time describes about Homer's passage through Pityos. Years ago this characteristic description and reference to Pityos was engraved on a marble stele, opposite "Makelos", by the Society of Homeric Studies. Thus Pityos is part of the so-called "Homeric Question".

In addition, George Heilas in his monumental record of Pityan landmarks that he published in 1988 is mentioning some names of places near Pityos, that strengthen the connection of the village with the Homeric issue: Paris kremos, Ari krema, etc. He considers that the area called “Martinos” near the village is the point where Glaukos met Homer.


* Pseudo-Herodotus: author of the 1st or 2nd AD. century (perhaps Hermogenes the Smyrnaean or Cephalion the Gergithius) who used ("borrowed") the name of Herodotus.

* *It is assumed that the toponym Flori at the 17th kilometer of the Chios-Pityus provincial road arose from the paraphrasing of this Homeric phrase, (O beloved mountains are you stalking me too? “Beloved mountains” = “Filia Ori” in Ancient Ionian dialect).