Sophianos of Dryinoupolis

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His Grace Bishop Sophianos of Dryinoupolis (16xx - 1711) was a signigicant religious figure and Orthodox missionary in Ottoman Epirus, around the turn of the 18th century.


Icon of Sophianos of Dryinoupolis.

He was probably born in the village of Polytsiani, in the Pogon region of Northern Epirus.

At the time he became bishop of Dryinoupolis (modern southwest Albania)[note 1] the religious composition of the region was changing due to massive conversions to Islam.[1]

In 1672 he founded a Greek school in the local monastery of Saint Athanasios.[2] In recognition of the danger that the Christian religion was shrinking, Sophianos resigned his bishopric and became a wandering missionary, preaching from village to village.

Sophianos' last days were spent in the monastery of Saint Athanasios in his hometown Polytsiani (Polican, Pogon) where he taught religion and letters to the village children. Although uncanonized, he is considered a saint in his village.[3]

Because of his pious character he was respected and honored by both Christians and Muslims. Sophianos is considered the predecessor of Cosmas of Aetolia in the region.

Bishop Sophianos died on November 26, 1711 AD.

See also


  1. From the Roman period there was a fortified settlement named Hadrianoupolis in the region, named after the Roman emperor Hadrian. During the 6th century the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, as part of his fortification plans against barbarian invasions, moved the settlement 4 kilometers southeast in the modern village of Peshkëpi, in order to gain a more secure position. The city is also referred in Byzantine sources as Ioustinianoupolis. During the 11th century the city was named Dryinoupolis, a name possibly deriving from its former name or from the nearby river. It was also, from the 5th century, the see of a bishopric (initially part of the Diocese of Nicopolis, Naupactus and then Ioannina).


  1. Tom Winnifrith. Badlands, Borderlands: A History of Northern Epirus/Southern Albania. Gerald Duckworth, Limited, 2002. ISBN 9780715632017
  2. M. V. Sakellariou. Epirus, 4000 years of Greek history and civilization. Ekdotikē Athēnōn, 1997. ISBN 9789602133712
  3. Pyrrus Ruches. Albania's Captives. Argonaut, Chicago 1965. p.33.

External Links

  • (Greek)
Άγιος Σοφιανός επίσκοπος Δρυϊνουπόλεως καί Αργυροκάστρου. Ορθόδοξος Συναξαριστής. 26/11/2013.
  • (Greek)
ΟΣΙΟΣ ΣΟΦΙΑΝΟΣ Ο ΣΗΜΕΙΟΦΟΡΟΣ (+26-11-1711). YouTube. Uploaded on Dec 8, 2010.