Sarantis Agapinos (Tellos Agras) - Fighter of the Macedonian Struggle
THE BRAVE MESSINIAN FIGHTER OF THE MACEDONIAN STRUGGLE
Sarantis Agapinos, known by the pseudonym Tellos Agras, was born on February 17th, 1880. Although Gargaliani in Messinia are typically declared as his place of birth, he was born in Nafplio where his father Andreas Antagios served as an appellant who decided to have him registered in the Gargaliani males register office. Sarantis came from a historical family of Gargaliani, the Agapinos family, which played an important role during the Revolution of 1821. His great - grandfather, Antonios Agapinos, was the curator of the Struggle, while his grandfather's brother, Dionysios Agapinos, was one of the chiefs of the Revolution and member of the Filiki Etairia (Friendly Society).
When little Sarantis, who was affectionately called Tellos, (Sarandellos), lost his father, was brought to Athens with his mother and his brothers Antonis and Nikos by relatives. In 1901, he graduated from the Hellenic Military Avademy and was placed in the guard of Athens. His desire to offer more essential services to his homeland pushed him, after a few months, to his voluntary enlistment in the military corps fighting in Macedonia against the Bulgarian ‘komitadjis’. At a very young age he was appointed leader of a guerrilla corps, which was being prepared by Captain Akritas (Konstantinos Mazarakis) in Volos. With the rank of lieutenant, he entered Valtos of Giannitsa as a rebel and led the fights without being bent by the injuries and diseases of Valtos. In particular, he lived in Valtos during the autumn and winter of 1906, but was forced to leave due to malaria and mainly due to a serious hand injury caused by a gunshot. After a short stay in Thessaloniki, he came to Naoussa to recover with the help of Dr. Zafirios Longos.
On June 5th, 1907, the Bulgarian voivode Zlatan took advantage of Captain Agra's ethos and, after calling him unarmed to reconcile, arrested him along with Antonis Migas. The komitadjis of IMARO (Internal Macedonian - Adrianople Revolutionary Organization), deported them as alleged prisoners, tied up and barefoot, in the villages of the area in order to revive the morale of the komitadjis' followers. On the night of June 7th, 1907, they were hanged along the road between the villages of Techovo and Vladovo near Edessa. The Messinian fighter of the Macedonian Struggle was only 27 years old. They were buried and mourned by the Macedonian women, while the folk tradition recorded the death of Tellos Agra with many songs, as well as with the novel of Penelope Delta, "In the secrets of the Swamp". In remembrance of the death of the two fighters, the village of Techovo was renamed to Karydia (the tree where they were hanged), while the village of Vladovo, where they were buried outside the church of Agios Dimitrios, is today's Agras.
Every year, the municipality of Gargaliani organizes commemorative events under the title "Agapinia", while it has erected an honorary statue in the village. Also, the football team of Gargaliani is named in honor of Tellos Agras. Concluding, we should mention that the symbolic poet, Evangelos Ioannou, became known by the literary pseudonym Tellas Agras.