IF YOU REFER BACK to my post ‘Travels in Crete 3’ (July 11) you will recall I visited the the Toplou (Akrotiriani) Monastery. I made mention of this trip to my good Cretan friend of 7 years from Mochlos. He told me that the Abbot from the monastery, Gennadios Silignaki, helped aid the Cretan National Resistance during the Second World War (along with many other monasteries who helped the Cretan and British resistance fighters). My friend further informed me that, sadly, the Abbot Siliginaki had been shot for his involvement in the resistance. He thought others had lost their lives as well.
After further investigation, I discovered that the monastery was housing a wireless radio and the Germans found out about it. Abbot Silignaki and certainly two monks, Kallinikos Papathanasakis and Evemenios Stamatakis, were taken prisoner at Toplou in June 1944, along with an 18 yr old female wireless operator, Terpsichori Chryssoulaki-Vlachou. They were transported to a prison at Agia in Chania and interrogated. Stamatakis died in prison having been tortured, and both Papathanasakis and the girl, Chryssoulaki-Vlachou, were shot along with the Abbot Silignaki.
Returning to my conversation with my Cretan friend, he said that Abbot Siliginaki was from Sfaka along the road from Mochlos. Then he reminded me that he too originated from Sfaka and, downing the remains of his raki, he added that his family name is also Siliginaki.
‘Modern’ Monument at Toplou by Manolis Tzompanakis dedicated to the many monks killed during both the 1821 and 1940-44 resistances
And this post is dedicated to Abbot Gennadios Silignaki, Kallinikos Papathanasakis, Evemenios Stamatakis and Terpsichori Chryssoulaki-Vlachou