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Ioannis Varvakis was a distinguished member of the Russian and Greek communities, national hero, member of the Filiki Eteria and benefactor of the places where he lived.

Hero of the war for independence

Varvakis was a Greek Orthodox Christian who became a skilful sailor at the age of 17 and built a ship, the St. Andrew, which he later offered (with his crew) to the Russian forces during the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774. He spent his entire fortune to equip the ship and to arm it with cannons and showed extraordinary courage during the Battle of Chesma (Turkish: Çeşme) in July 1770. His xebec was transformed into a fire ship, packed with combustibles, set on fire and steered into a large Turkish ship. But the war did not give independence to Greece, as the Ottoman sultan signed peace by the Treaty of Kuçuk Kainarji in 1774, which granted Russia the northern part of the Black Sea. On the other hand, this war created a mass exodus of Greeks to Russia.

At service of Catherine the Great

Without any money in his pocket, Ioannis Varvakis decided to seek an audience with Catherine II of Russia ("Catherine the Great"). He went to Saint Petersburg, where he met with Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, Russian general-field marshal, statesman, and favorite of Catherine II the Great, who arranged the audience with the Empress of Russia. Catherine II the Great was particularly generous giving Varvakis 1,000 golden roubles as a gift and an authorisation for unlimited and duty-free fishery in the Caspian Sea and the right to choose a place to settle in Russia. He also received an official patent signed by Catherine the Great, proving that Ivan Andreevich Varvatsi (his new Russian name) was named first lieutenant of the Russian Navy on October 21, 1772.

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Ioannis Varvakis was a distinguished member of the Russian and Greek communities, national hero, member of the Filiki Eteria and benefactor of the places where he lived.

Hero of the war for independence

Varvakis was a Greek Orthodox Christian who became a skilful sailor at the age of 17 and built a ship, the St. Andrew, which he later offered (with his crew) to the Russian forces during the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774. He spent his entire fortune to equip the ship and to arm it with cannons and showed extraordinary courage during the Battle of Chesma (Turkish: Çeşme) in July 1770. His xebec was transformed into a fire ship, packed with combustibles, set on fire and steered into a large Turkish ship. But the war did not give independence to Greece, as the Ottoman sultan signed peace by the Treaty of Kuçuk Kainarji in 1774, which granted Russia the northern part of the Black Sea. On the other hand, this war created a mass exodus of Greeks to Russia.

At service of Catherine the Great

Without any money in his pocket, Ioannis Varvakis decided to seek an audience with Catherine II of Russia ("Catherine the Great"). He went to Saint Petersburg, where he met with Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, Russian general-field marshal, statesman, and favorite of Catherine II the Great, who arranged the audience with the Empress of Russia. Catherine II the Great was particularly generous giving Varvakis 1,000 golden roubles as a gift and an authorisation for unlimited and duty-free fishery in the Caspian Sea and the right to choose a place to settle in Russia. He also received an official patent signed by Catherine the Great, proving that Ivan Andreevich Varvatsi (his new Russian name) was named first lieutenant of the Russian Navy on October 21, 1772. More...

 
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