Another important figure to make history on the island of Rhodes was a man by the name of Apostolos Trifonos (also sometimes spelled as Tryphonos and seen as Απόστολος Τρύφωνος in Greek). He was the elected Archbishop of Rhodes from 1913 until 1947.
As I have mentioned in other areas of this website, I do not intend to make the material here religious or political. This section on important figures in Rhodes is for your information and enjoyment. I have no intentions of pushing my religious opinions or political views. So that being said, let’s move on and talk more about the actions of Apostolos Trifonos.
Christianity In Rhodes
Greece, as most of you may be aware is quite a religious country. Personally, I like this side of the Greek culture and it is a really beautiful thing to see people going to church in peace, enjoying the festivities and praying for what they believe in.
Over the years though, religion on the island has been as issue. Over generations of different occupying armies, naturally not all of them have had the same beliefs.
It was said that Christianity was first introduced on the island by St Paul The Apostle when he arrived here in 51 AD after being shipwrecked.
Rhodes though, as you may or may know, has suffered turbulent times in the past. So what has it been like as time has moved on?
The Knights Of Saint John for example occupied the island from 1309 until 1522, and they had appointed a Latin Archbishop. After they were defeated by The Ottoman Empire and forced to leave, Rhodes then was under Turkish Rule and the island fell under the control of the Orthodox Church.
The Italian Forces then went on to control the island after taking possession of the Dodecanese, and they forced their cultural and ethical beliefs and had in place a bishop that had no higher authority to report to within the Catholic Church.
The Germans then arrived on the island in 1943 and then in 1947 the Dodecanese and Greece were unified.
All of this activity has left a massive history when it comes to peoples beliefs. So where does Apostolos Trifonos fit into all of this?
Well, during the period of this Archbishops term, the Italians were in control of the Dodecanese Islands.
At first, the Italians were seen as knights in shining armour. They made promises such as delivering a self rule and an independent government and they even promised unification with Greece. Mario Lago, The Governor at the time was instrumental in bringing communties together.
This was not to be maintained though, and after Cesare De Vecchi superceded Lago as Governor, they went on to push their language and culture thus stamping authority with their presence. The Orthodox Church was also a target for hostility and they revoked what was built by The Ottoman Empire before them.
Between 1915 and 1921, Apostolos Trifonos was very active and wanted to make improvements to the education system on the island and to the church too. On a fortnightly basis, he published a religious magazine which was titled ‘Orthodox Teachings’. He was also responsible for the organization and rally of The Bloody Easter in Rhodes which took place on April 7th 1919.
Later in 1921, and for his constant unwanted activities, he was arrested by the Italians and banished to the island of Patmos (a small island north of the Dodecanese). From there he went to Constantinople (now modern day Istanbul) and he returned to Rhodes once more in 1924.
As the years passed, the Italians continued to tease, torment and tantalize. In particular, the self-reliant church deeply upset him and other inhabitants. Apostolos Trifonos always stood strong though, and fought for what he believed in. This, among other things, angered the Italians and there was even an attempt on his life while he was making a visit in the South of Rhodes.
World War 2
The German Military took control of Rhodes from the Italians in January 1943. During this period of World War 2, Apostolos Trifonos was very active with his efforts.
He organized schools for education in music and priesthood.
He was also able to stand strong and prevent many executions taking place by the Germans, and he also prevented them from destroying the New Town Market Of Rhodes (a focal point even today on the island) which they had planned to do with an organized blast.
Later, after his term ended on June 4th 1946, he was replaced by Greek Orthodox Bishop Timotheos Evangelinidis.
Apostolos Trifonos died on the island of Rhodes on the 29th Novermber 1957.
Regardless of what happened after his term ended, during his time as Archbishop, he really made a difference. He stood up for what he believed in and he helped as many others as possible. Even despite an assassination attempt and having to face the hazards of war, Apostolos Trifonos always tried to make a difference.
Maybe you have heard of this man before? Maybe you know something I don’t? I would really love to hear your thoughts and opinions and even your input with extra information. It is always nice to hear from all of you.
Just leave me a comment blow and I will get back to you
Click From Below To Learn More About Some Important Historical Figures In Rhodes
I have to say, I really enjoyed this throwback to history class and learned a lot of new and exciting things today, thanks a lot!
This article sparked my old interest in history which I had back in the day, felt almost like a flashback if You know what I mean! Prior to this article I have heard a little bit about Apostolos Trifonos, although nothing major and significant, so I was really looking forward to expand my knowlegde and discover this historical figure and learn about it!
You article greeted my with great variety and amount of very informative and exciting facts/details, You’ve done a tremendous job with this! Few things that stood out for me the most would be the actions of Trifonos and his ability to ”stand strong and prevent many executions by Germans” during World War 2, while also being able to ”prevent them from destroying The New Town Market Of Rhodes”, not to mention that he was very active in making improvements to the education system, organizing schools for education and music, interesting stuff!
Keep up the good work 😉
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am making a lot of effort to make this site as informative as possible, so it is good that your visit here to Apostolos Trifonos was fulfilled.
He was indeed an amazing man and his actions certainly left their mark on the island. People like him are few, and he stood with great courage for what he believed in.
Thanks for visiting, and please come back again, there is a lot more to come 🙂
Great post and as always, very informative.
You know I’m a history lover, and the Island of Rhodes is a gap in it, because of you I will get the knowledge.
Now, an archbishop is usual important, but it seems for Rhodes he was more than that.
I will look for more information, if it is of history books that I missed, or by your site, because I want to have everything covered.
I’m happy your site is bookmarked, because for me your site is a goldmine.
Who will be the next important person you will speak about?
At the moment I have covered quite a few people from the past of Rhodes.
You can find them all here under the Important Figures Section.
As it stands, I will be preparing some new material, but I will also be focusing on a few important places to see ad experience. More to come do not worry!
Thanks my friend.
What a great way to remember the Archbishop Apostolos Trifonos. Greece is a beautiful country full of culture. I was there many years ago, moslty to explore the caves. We did see the impressive monasteries of Meteora the Cave of the Apocalypse.
I want to go back, now 20 years later, to pay more attention to the religious importance of the area. I would really like to learn more about brave men and women like Archbishop Apostolos Trifonos.
Thanks James. I also hope you manage to get back and have another look.
Religion of course runs deep in Greece, so you have your work cut out for you 🙂 There is a lot to see, learn and appreciate here so I do not think you will be disappointed.
Thanks for reading and for leaving your thoughts.
Priests have a lot of contributions in a country’s history. Rhodes is not the only country I’ve seen that has priests as historical figures. My country is also one of these. I like the way you made your blog. You’re promoting your own place while sharing your place’s history to entertain your readers. I like reading this kind of stories.
Are you a hotel or store owner? You’re doing a great job writing all these information in your site. Places that’s so rich in history are places worth traveling. When I have the chance and money, I’ll visit Rhodes Island.
Rhodes is definitely worth seeing Eli, but I just want to point out that Rhodes itself is not a country. It is a small island in The Dodecanese in Greece.
There is a lot of history here, and a lot of important people have played roles in the island’s past that make it what it is today, Apostolos Trifonos is just one of them 🙂
Thanks for reading.
Oh, and no I am not a hotel or store owner, I am simply sharing information about a place I love!
It’s been almost 30 years since I visited Rhodes on holiday. While I’ve an interest in the history of the places I visit, I have to admit I had never heard of Apostolos Trifonos. It just goes to show how important figures in local history can get overlooked by tourists, especially if that figure was seen as contentious.
How is he regarded these days by the people of Rhodes (and what’s the collective term for people from Rhodes)?
Very true Gary.
People that really made a different in the past can often be overlooked. I felt it was important to mention some of them here as without them, Rhodes would not be what it is today.
People do come and visit, and it is a shame for them to leave again without knowing some important names that shaped the island.
People from Rhodes are known as Rhodians, to answer your question 🙂
I love reading how strong people can get when the odds are against them. If I were Apostolos, I wouldn’t even come back to Rhodes after being banished, especially when I’m a target for death. What kind of attempt on his life was it though, I’m pretty curious 🙂
Awesome read as usual Chris, I seem to know more about Rhodes history than that of my own country’s.
Hey Riaz, great to have you back here my friend. I hope you are doing well.
In answer to your question, it is unsure. Although it is documented that there was an attempt to murder him while he was touring the South of Rhodes, it is not said (or at least I cannot locate the finer details) as to how it was to be carried out. I would love to know though!
Of course if I can dig up any further details, I will add it to the material here.
Hi and thanks for the very interesting article on the history and importance of this historical figure.
You must have a real love for Rhodes and I am hoping you will share more of your knowledge of this amazing island with your site visitors in the future.
Tell me, what is the best time to visit Rhodes during the year? Thanks Kenny
Thanks Kenny, and yes I really do love it here.
After many years making the island my home, I felt it was my duty to understand as much as possible and to appreciate what I have around me. It was also important for me to know about the influential people that lived that made a difference on the island which has made it what it is today.
Apostolos Trifonos certainly fitted the bill and his name is rightly on the list of these historical figures 🙂
If you check out the climate of Rhodes section Kenny, it will offer a lot of information on the best time to visit when it comes to temperatures etc. Many people have asked this question, so you will also see a lot of advice in the comments section.
Thanks and let me know if you need more.
If it wasn’t for people like Apostolos Trifonos the world would be a much different place.
When tourists visit Rhodes for holidays, I wonder how many appreciate what efforts and sacrifices were made to shape an island like Rhodes?
I really enjoy visiting this site and learning new pieces of history especially to a place I visit often. I will be visiting the new market next year and I will certainly be looking at the market in a different way now I know some of it’s history.
Thank you Darren.
I know what you mean, and I am sure thousands (upon thousands) of people visit places such as this, with so much history, and leave again without knowing the true history behind it or the people that were involved.
I will admit, many years ago I was equally guilty of this.
I first visited Rhodes in the early 1990’s, I was young, there were girls in bikinis, the beer was cold, the beach was there to be enjoyed, and all of the important facts behind the place were completely overlooked by my friends and myself.
It is easy to do, and I cannot judge anyone for missing out on the finer details. I just hope this site alerts some people to a deeper Rhodes, for those interested of course 🙂
Now, when you sit at The New Market for a coffee, you can understand the efforts, difficulties and fights that took place in the past for you to enjoy your moment.
Thanks for reading.
This is quite an interesting read on the history of Apostolos Trifonos and Christianity in Rhodes. I find it quite motivating how Trifonos took a stand against many executions as a lot of these were unlawful and not needed.
It just goes to show that if you truly have character, like Trifonos, then not even an actual war can stop you from standing for what you believe in. Thank you so much for sharing the history of Apostolos Trifonos and many others with us to let us in on a little bit of where the Island of Rhodes comes from.
Thanks for reading Marchelle.
Yes, some people have a belief, and they will fight for that belief, even if it means putting their own life under threat for it.
Rhodes has had its fair share of heroes in my opinion, and Trifonos is only one of them. I felt the need to dedicate a whole section to these important figures who have shaped the island to what it is today.
Thanks again, I appreciate your interest.
This is the second time that I have visited this website. Wish more people would find out more about the history of the place that they live in. I am sure you find it very interesting, which is why your posts are always so interesting to read.
I admire people like Apostolos Trifonos, who stood up to the Germans during World War 2 and managed to save so many lives. There are many of them, and they all deserve to be remembered.
I wonder if those Italians who didn’t like him appreciated him more during the war.
I would have like to hear more about what happened to him after the war. How did he live out his life until he died in 1957?
Thank you for reading Michel. I agree, there are a lot of people that live in beautiful places such as Rhodes, and many are not aware of the important history that is presented to them. It is always nice to understand the history, whether you live in a place or a just visiting as a tourist.
Apostolos Trifonos was a very important person back in his time, and he left his mark and legacy.
Unfortunately, I do not have any information about how he lived out his life. I have found out as much as I can, but I am always on the search for new details. I promise, if anything crops up regarding Apostolos Trifonos, I will post it here.
Thanks Michel, I appreciate your interest.
It’s really interesting that he was banished to Patmos. The Apostle John was banished there at the end of the first century A.D. It’s where he was supposed to have written the book of Revelation. And, apparently, 1900 years later, authorities are still banishing people to Patmos. Anyway, sounds like an interesting man who lived through a chaotic time in world history. Thanks for sharing.
Hey Shannah, someone that knows their history, I am impressed 🙂
The Apostle John was indeed banished to the island of Patmos by The Romans where it is said he wrote The Book Of Revelation (the final book of The Bible). He is also referred to a John of Patmos.
Although by some it is believed that Patmos was a place of punishment or imprisonment, this has never been proved.
It is interesting that Trifonos suffered the same fate from the Italians as The Apostle John did by Romans centuries before. Although Trifonos returned to Rhodes, whereas The Apostle John reached an old age and died of natural causes in Patmos.
Thank you, I appreciate your input 🙂