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Emmanuel Papas was born in Dovista in 1773, a village which is near Serres and is named now after him. His father Dimitrios, a wealthy notable of the area, was ordained a priest at a very young age and was soon honoured with a high church dignity. That is where the family name â€œPapasâ€ (= priest) came from. After having received his basic education in his village, Emmanuel Papas moved to Serres in order to finish off his studies in the famous school of Serres. When he graduated from the School he moved back to Dovista where he got married. However, his business acumen brought him back to Serres when trade was really blooming. Soon he became a great Banker and a wholesale merchant, a respectable person even for the Turkish Beys. Papas was soon initiated in the â€œSociety of Friendsâ€ (or â€œFiliki Etaireiaâ€ as it is well-known) by John Pharmakis and didn’t have any trouble introducing his four brothers into the Holy war of Independence as well as some of the most notable men of Dovista, who saw to arming the nearby villages.
However, he had to leave Serres because of a severe dispute he had with the Serres’ Bey, and moved to Constantinople, where he had the chance to co-operate better with the members of the ‘Society of Friends’. Meanwhile, his fame concerning his patriotic actions had spread throughout every part of Greece. He had also planned an attempt on the Sultan’s life which finally failed because of betrayal.
When the revolution was proclaimed, Emmanuel Papas left Constantinople and went to Agion Oros where he was welcomed with enthusiasm by the monks and was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Macedonia. As soon as he set up his headquarters in Agion Oros, he took action with his 2,500 men. Meanwhile, a revolutionary movement had broken out in Serres under the direction of the Arch Bishop, soon to be quelled. The city had narrowly escaped devastation and slaughter. That happened on 8th May 1821, the feast-day of John Theologos the Evangelist, who is considered to be the protector and saviour of Serres. So, 14 years later, in 1835, the inhabitants of Serres built the homonymous church in the area of Ano Kamenikia, in his honour. But although the city devastation was avoided, the avenging fury of the Turks broke out in Emmanouel Papas’ family. His wife and children were sent to prison. His property was confiscated and his house was burnt to the ground.
But Papas himself continued the struggle in Halkidiki despite lack of help. While the Turks had started a general attack against the Greeks, Papas kept on appealing to Ypsilantis but nothing happened in the end. His achievements in Kassandra and the disposal of his property didn’t save the revolutionary movement. So after the expedition of Abdul Aboud, the destruction of Kassandra and the subordination of the monks of Agion Oros forced Papas to leave while the Turks were hounding him. He sailed for Hydra but because he was exhausted by the severities and the emotions of his tragic adventure, he died after a heart attack on the boat at exactly the moment that it was sailing round Kafirea. The hero’s body was taken to Hydra where he was buried with the trimmings of a general. In 1843, his name was hung up in the Greek Parliament as one of the protagonists of the Revolution of 1821.
Constantine Karamanlis (1907-1998), president of Greece (1980-85, 1990-95) was born in Serres. A member of parliament in 1935-36, he was reelected in 1946 and held various cabinet posts until Oct., 1955, when he became Greece’s youngest premier. He held that post until June, 1963, except for brief intervals in 1958 and 1961, while his right-wing National Radical Union continued to gain majorities in the general elections. A partisan of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Karamanlis reached (1959) agreement with Great Britain and Turkey over Cyprus. In 1959 he announced a five-year plan (1960-64) for the Greek economy, emphasizing improvement of agricultural and industrial production. After his cabinet fell in 1963, Karamanlis went into exile abroad. He was a vocal opponent of the military junta that seized power in Greece in 1967. In July, 1974, the junta fell, following a disastrous military venture in Cyprus. Karamanlis returned as premier and leader of the New Democratic party, which gained a substantial majority in the elections of Nov., 1974. He began immediately to undo the work of the military government, reestablishing civil liberties and presiding over the restoration of democracy. A plebiscite in Dec., 1975, made Greece a republic and abolished the monarchy. Karamanlis served as prime minister until 1980 and as president from 1980 to 1985. He oversaw Greece’s entry (1981) into the European Community. He held the presidency again in 1990-95, and was succeeded by Kostis Stephanopoulos.
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Vassilis Vafiadis Â was born in Thessaloniki in 1953. His father, Hristos Vafiadis, a famous painter from Serres, influenced him profoundly into his relationship with painting. He has a degree from the Department of Management, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki. He is responsible for the organization of the Cultural Programs of the Prefectural Self-Administration in Serres and he is the Director of the Prefectural Society of Culture, Serres. He is a self-taught painter and a member of the Greek Chamber of Fine Arts. He has founded and operated the Art Gallery “ARMOS” in Serres since 1987, where currently he has his atelier. He has shown his work in ’solo’ exhibitions in private and public places. He has participated in group exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
Glykeria began her career in 1974 working in the Athens Plaka music boites and gave performances with well-known artists, singing songs by M. Hadjidakis, M. Theodorakis, M. Loizos and others. In 1982 she was selected to represent Greece in the Europalia ‘82 festival in Brussels, together with Sotiria Bellou, George Dalaras and Margarita Zorbala. In 1986 she sang â€œEarini Symfoniaâ€ (poem by Yiannis Ritsos, music by Yiannis Markopoulos) for the songâ€™s premier performance, at the opening ceremony of the World Championships held for the first time at the Athens Olympic Stadium, broadcast to 120 countries all over the world. She has sung in concerts in Greece and abroad (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Israel) and Turkey. Due to the successful concerts she gave in Israel she was proclaimed most popular foreign singer; the Mayor of Jerusalem awarded her the golden key of the city (1994). Three albums were released in Israel at the same time, all of them gold in a very short time: Glykeria golden-hits, Far away, Glykeria â€“ 14 classics, and her first album in France: Golden hits â€“ The voice of Greece.
In 1998 her second album was released in France. She took part in two albums for the American label Putumayo and in compilations released in Europe.,She is currently collaborating with world renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis on a two-disc album composed of songs written by the famed composer. Set to release in September 2008, Glykeria has already begun touring to promote the album.
Angelos Charisteas bornÂ in Strymoniko, Serres is a Greek football striker who currently plays for Bayer 04 Leverkusen on loan from 1. FC Nuremberg. He is a member of the Greece national football team and played in the 2004 European Football Championship, in which Greece was triumphant, scoring the winning goal in the final against Portugal.