The founding of the Dimitsana Greek School in 1764 is undoubtedly the defining event of local history. This event is connected to the tendency of establishing educational centres in Greece during the second half of the 18th century; a tendency that reflected the favourable context of the European and the Greek enlightenment and the economic revival. The traders and the scholars of Dimitsana living overseas played a defining role in the School’s progress.
The founding of the school was the work of the Dimitsana-born graduate of the Smyrni school, Gerasimos Gounas, and his compatriot, Agapios Leonardos. They became monks and returned to Dimitsana in 1764. With the consent of the city’s elders and clergy they built the school building in the orchard of the church of Agia Kyriaki. Four years later they achieved a ruling by the community that teachers and students were to be considered exempt from any obligation to pay taxes; an event that strengthened the school’s educational work and raised the number of its students.
Furthermore, in 1769, the school was characterized as a patriarchal and stavropegic via a seal signed by patriarch Theodosios II. The self-governing system of the school was also defined this way, as the election of the curators was set-out by the city’s elders. The Albanian adventure forced teachers and students into a temporary retreat. However, the school’s reopening after 1779 was characterized by an impressive development. Antonios Papadopoulos or Antonopoulos, became the new defining figure of the school. Antonios was the spiritual child of Leonardos, and he also became a monk and was named Agapios. The younger Agapios succeeded Gerasimos Gounas in the running of the school and served the role of personal teacher to his students for 32 years. In addition, thanks to the efforts of Leonardos and the new principal, the school acquired thousands of books, thus creating a rich library for its students and for those from other areas.
The continuous progress of the school was cut short in 1812, due to the death of Agapios Antonopoulos, who was the pillar of the school. The lack of a competent principal immediately endangered the school’s financial soundness and its high-level educational work. The solution was given in 1816 when the school merged with the stavropegic Philosophou Monastery. During that period the lead role in the administration was taken on by Germanos, archbishop of Old Patras, who was actually from Dimitsana. However, evidence seems to point to the fact that during the period of 1812-1821, the school lost its pioneering status within the educational context of the Peloponnese.
With regard to the school’s contribution to recent history we need look no further than Fotis Kontoglou’s reference during his journey through the area: ‘’Many of the young who graduated from the school spread, like the apostles, to all corners of the nation, and transmitted the light of education’’.