Theophilos Kairis bigraphy, stories - Priest, revolutionary

Theophilos Kairis : biography

00 1784 - 13 January 1853

Theophilos Kairis (or Kaires; 19 October 1784 – 13 January 1853, Greek: Θεόφιλος Καΐρης; baptismal name Θωμᾶς, Thomas) was a Greek priest, philosopher and revolutionary. He was born in Andros, Cyclades, Ottoman Greece, as a son of a distinguished family.


Kairis studied in the theological school of Smyrna and was ordained a Greek Orthodox priest. He spoke many languages ranging from Ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, French, German, and English, that would allow him to participate in organizing the Greek War of Independence and to one day build the "Orphanotropheio" (Ὀρφανοτροφεῖο; Greek for "Orphanage"), a progressive school that embraced the modern university system. Kairis studied with Benjamin of Lesbos at the school of Kydonies, Asia Minor, and was introduced to contemporary science and Greek interpretations of natural science.

Kairis studied in Pisa and Paris, and shared to the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. He studied mathematics, natural sciences and philosophy. Kairis also had an interest in archaeology, making some major findings upon his native island of Andros. He also had an interest in botany and cataloged many of the plants of his local area, as well as documenting pharmacologic properties of various plants.

Orphanotropheio of Theophilos Kairis

Theophilos Kairis, founded with a few disciples, a pietistic revivalist movement, known as Theosebism, inspired by the French revolutionary cults, radical Protestantism and deism. This movement was anathematised by the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Beginning with 1826, Kairis dedicated himself to an institute for orphans of the Greek revolution on Andros. The "Orphantropheio", or orphan school, presented Kairis with the opportunity to introduce to the Greek education system a wide range of subjects ranging from comparative religion, astrology, ship navigation, agriculture, applied mathematics, accounting, natural science, advanced mathematics, and Theosebism.

Members of the Orphanotripheio represented children from all sides of the Balkan conflict, with individuals from Bulgaria, Muslim Turks displaced by the Revolution, and Catholics who had inhabited the Greek island since the Middle Ages.

In fact, Kairis had a very different vision for an independent Greece, one that was based upon the concept of separation of church and state as proposed by Thomas Jefferson. Kairis advocated for a pan-Balkan state similar to the United States, that would be a multicultural state that preserved the cosmopolitan nature of the post-Byzantine Empire era, where all creeds were equally free of tyranny from the oppressive "Ottomans".

This was the prelude of the so-called Eastern Question, the gradual dismemberment of the decaying Ottoman Empire by the Great powers.

The Kairis Library

The library is housed in a wonderful neoclassical building, in Hora (or Andros Town) and contains about 3,000 tomes from the collection of Theophilos Kairis. In the library are also exposed a large number of rare publications, manuscripts, historical records, works of art and a small archaeological collection. Within the records, extensive letters demonstrating a network of intellectuals would update Kairis about the trends in European science and philosophy.

Also the mathematical treatises of Kairis are present, representing a very active and original intellect, who had written on complex themes, including on mathematical extensions of Pierre-Simon Laplace's Celestial Mechanics. Artifacts that demonstrate Kairis philosophic approach to understanding the energies (energiki ousia phiseos) of nature remain in the library, and highlight Kairis knowledge of Joseph Fourier's work on energy. Through various letters and correspondence, Kairis's approach to communicating with the various philhellenes demonstrates a network of intellectuals that were involved with the French revolution. Kairis has been referred to as the "new Socrates" and was very active in didactic education. The island of Andros has a series of water fountains, and horizontal windmills constructed at the time the students from the orphanotropio were active on the Island, and represent applications from the Kairiki lessons.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine