Zois Kaplanis

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Zois Kaplanis (Greek: Ζώης Καπλάνης). (Born 1736 in Grammeno, Epirus - Died 1806 in Moscow, Russia): National Benefactor.

Kaplanis had the misfortune to lose his mother at a very young age. His father re-married and it did not take long for his stepmother to throw him out of the family home. He moved to Ioannina, where he was fortunate to find work and accommodation in the house of the wealthy merchant Panagiotis Hatzinikos.

His intelligence, and thirst for knowledge impressed his boss, and it did not take long for Kaplanis to join the business in Ioannina as a partner and later to lead the business in Bucharest.

After the death of his benefactor, Hatzinikos, he transfered the head office from Bucharest to Nizva and from there to Moscow.

Like the majority of the Greek Phanariotes, Kaplanis was a fur-merchant, involved in the business of buying and selling furs, and he created a fortune from doing just that.

He was in Russia but his mind was in his home country. He constantly supported the less fortunate, helping prisoners, hospitals, the poor, etc. In 1805, a year before his death, he gave 100,000 rubles for the creation of a new school in Ioannina, which was named after his death, in his honor Kaplanios. The school was active until it's destruction in 1820 by Ali Pasha.

Kaplanis died in 1806. In his will he gave even more funds towards the prison of Ioannina, the poor of Grammeno and Zoodochos (his mother's home town), Orthodox seminaries in Mt Athos and hospitals in Greece and Russia.