Από τη Ρόδο στη Μάλτα (1523-1530): οι Ροδίτες πρόσφυγες καί οι βυζαντινές εικόνες τής Παναγίας Δαμασκηνής καί τής Παναγίας Έλεημονήτρας (Journal article)

Τσιρπανλής, Ζαχαρίας Ν.


Unpublished documents from the Cathedral Museum in Mdina, Malta, as well as from the archives of the Knights of the Order of St. John in the National Library of Malta, in conjunction with existing publications, have assisted the author to reach the following conclusions: a. The byzantine icons of Our Lady of Damascus and Our Lady Eleimonitra were the objects of worship in two separate, respectively named, orthodox churches in the city of Rhodes, during the rule of Hospitaller Knights. The first of these churches was built inside the city h ions, near the «posta di Spagna»; the second one, that of the Elein; iiitra, was situated outside the ramparts, near the «Posta d’ Inghilterra». Both had been built by members of the Kalamias family, and to that family they belonged in accordance with the rules governing hereditary ownership (jus patronatus). Shortly before Rhodes was surrendered to the Turks (1 January 1523), the icons were transported to the old cargo ship («caracca») of the Knights and, together with Rhodian refugees, followed the adventures of the Order, until 1530. In Birgu (present day Vittoriosa), of Malta, where the Knights landed and took permanent residence, the icon of Our Lady of Damascus was sheltered in the church of St. Catherine, while that of Eleimonitra in the church of St. Anthony. Towards the end of 1558, the Rhodian Ioannis Kalamias filed a petition with the Order, supported by 19 testimonies by Greeks (men and women from Rhodes, et al.) and requested that the two icons be returned to him, in accordance with «jus patronatus». b. The Rhodians and the other inhabitants of the Dodecanese who followed the Knights and reached Malta, formed the first nucleus of a Greek community, firstly in Birgu and thence (after 1565) in Valletta. This writer believes that it is an exaggeration when one states that 3 or 4 thousand Greeks had abandoned their islands and fled with the Order , to the West. Be that as it may, the Greeks to be found in Malta in 1530, are estimated to have been between 400 and, at the most, 1000 souls. c. The Greek refugees survived thanks to the charitable care extended to them by the Knights, during their wanderings (Crete, Messina, Pozzuoli, Civitavecchia, Viterbo, Corneto, Villafranca, Nice, Syracuse: 1523-1530). Following their settlement in Malta, they devoted themselves to silver-and gold- smithing, while others distinguished themselves as capable seamen, while still others served as military personnel to the Order, some being mentioned as notarii. d. Among the first generation Rhodian refugees in Malta, whose names are known, the following stand out as persons of distinction: Ioannis Kala- mias, a rather successful merchant, on whose expense the church of Our Lady of Damascus was built in Valletta; the priests George and Nikolaos Diasorinos; several members of the Metaxis family (Nikolaos, Isidoros, the seaman, and Isidoros, the lawyer, Stamatis, the priest, and his sons Angelos and Manolis, both priests, as well); members of the Familiomenos family, et al. This writer has collected archival material regarding the historical fate of the Greek community in Malta (16th-19th c.) from the greek catholic church of Our Lady of Damascus in Valletta, from the orthodox church of St. George in Valletta, from the archives of the Latin archbishopric of Malta, and from the archives of the Cathedral of Mdina, and hopes to present in the near future a more complete picture of the activities of the Greeks on this island of the central Mediterranean Sea.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων Σχολή Φιλοσοφική Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Keywords: -
URI: http://olympias.lib.uoi.gr/jspui/handle/123456789/6131
Publisher: Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων Σχολή Φιλοσοφική Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας
Appears in Collections:Τόμος 17 (1988)




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