During the Franc occupation period (1192-1489) even though there are no historical evidence as to the way life in Treis Elies was organised, it is almost certain that the residents had no opportunity to learn even what we refer to as “common literacy” such as writing, reading and arithmetic’s. After all the primary task of the Franc conquerors was to keep the people illiterate so it would make ruling the country easier. The situation remained the same even during the Venetian (1489-1571) as well as the Turkish (1571-1878) occupation periods. It is known that during the Frank occupation the Greek element of Cyprus faced it’s worst threat and risked losing it’s unity and becoming Franc, the same situation which was also worrying Greece. The Franc conquerors closed down almost all the Greek schools and sent away the teachers. The only form of education available was via the ecclesiastic way of life despite the fact that the priests themselves where not very literate themselves most of the times.
The geographical positioning of the village helped in a major way since it is away from the coastal parts of the island in a location which was inapproachable at those times, so it kept away the conquerors and invaders so it retained its Greek element, the purity of the population and avoided invasions which would have resulted in the adaptation of foreign elements and religions. During these periods, most of the villages on the island where connected with one of the many monasteries spread out in the Cypriot country side. Near the area of the village where the monasteries of Kykkos, Ayia Arkas, Trikoukkias, Trooditissas and of Ayion Anargyron near Phini village. Particularly the spiritual movement which took place in the midst of the 18th century in the Kykkos monastery due to the periodical presence of Efrem the Athenian which was one of the great masters of his line, became the main reason for the Greek teachings to re kindle in the near by villages. At the Kykkos monastery ran a Greek school in which the monks would teach to the young cadets how to write, arithmetic and ecclesiastic music. Several of them would later return to their villages where they worked as private teachers or became priests. The school stopped operating in 1821 due to the destruction the monastery faced in the hands of the Turks. It opened again in 1840 and then evolved into a three class gymnasium.
A school in the area, apart from those of the monasteries, operated for the first time in 1861 at Prodromos village with the initiative of Archbishop Makarios A’ who maintained it as well as paying the teacher salary. In it attended students from Treis Elies, Kaminaria, Lemythou, Paliomylos and Ayios Demetrios. The school stopped running in 1866, a year after its founder died. The following year a school in Lemythou was erected with expense paid by the Metropolitan bishop of Petra, Meletios Matteou in which again students from Treis Elies and the surrounding villages attended. In 1882 a primary school was built in the neighbouring village of Kaminaria by Αρχιμανδρίτη Ieronimos Myriantheas. Due to the short distance a more organised attendance of the first students began who had to come and go on foot under harsh conditions.
The Treis Elies school was built in 1917 by Lambros Myrianthis. Lambros Myrianthis was one of the tree children of Georgios Hadjisymeou. In a young age he migrated to South Africa where he involved himself in the field of commerce. Until the school building was finished the houses of Themistokles Hadjisavva and of Theodosios Antoniou where used as teaching halls but according to an authentic testimony the first house which was used as a school on an organised basis was that of Menelaos Papakonstandi. This information was given to Chrisanthos Charalambides (1918-2006) by his grandmother Eleni Papachristodoulou (1863-1948).
The school was maintained in its original form until 1957. During this time the roof was repaired and the older roof tiles where replaced by new French type tiles. In 1964 it was renovated and expanded. The teacher room and a veranda in front of the teaching halls where built. The three arched windows which were positioned on the north wall and the door on the west where closed and opened the ones which exist today. The yard was re arranged and planted with trees and a big stone fence was built around it. During the renovation and expansion the houses of Evripies Hadjisavva and Iakovos Charalambous were used as supplementary school halls.
The appointment of female teachers at the school during the first three school years urged some villagers to keep sending their children to Kaminaria for their education until a male teacher was appointed in the educational year 1929-21 due to the perceptions that still existed during those times.
During the 60 years of the school operating in Treis Elies, 24 teachers made sure to pass on to the students of the village the Greek literacy and the Christian Orthodox belief in an exemplary way. First teacher at the school was Anna Ioannou Ieronymiou (Zamba) (1898-1992) from Nicosia. Anna Ieronimidou came escorted to the village one September afternoon in 1971 riding a mule and coming from Morphou. The villagers where awaiting the teacher at the village entrance. When the moment where she had to get down from the mule came the bystanders looked away for obvious reasons and this incited her admiration and helped to shape in her mind the first beautiful image of the village which became a reason for her to give all her strength to offer healthy and true education to the first students of the village. The teacher was paid £26 annually as her salary. The £22 where given by the State and the remaining £4 by the community. Until the school year 1958-59 at the school there was only one teacher, but the next school year 1959-60 due to an increase in student numbers two more teachers where appointed who remained until the school year 1966-67. Eventually due to the increasing preference of the cities instead of the villages the school suspended its services in 1976 with Konstandinos D. Tartiou from the Gastria village of the Famagusta province as the last teacher.
Higher Education was made possible for the youth of the village after the construction of the Mitsis Commercial School in 1912 in the neighbouring village of Lemythos. Its founder Demosthenis Chistodoulou Mitsis (1848-1923) was a big time business man who lived in Egypt but originated from Lemythou felt it would be good for the school to use English as its teaching language and a programme similar to that of the Newham School (now known as the Nicosia English School). The first student from Treis Elies to enrol in the first class of the Mitsis School was Michael Papakonstandinou in 1914. Many followed afterwards from which most of them, due to the high level of teaching and the English language, found jobs very easily in educational or state services taking high positions with the highest one being the appointment of Andreas Chrisanthou Potamary as Chief of Cyprus Police. The last student from Treis Elies who graduated from the Mitsis School is Chrisanthos A. Petrides during the school year 1987-88.
Parallel to the the enrolment of students at the Mitsis Commercial School in Lemythos some residents of Treis Elies opted to register their children to the practical Greek school in neighbouring Pedoulas which was founded at the beginning of 1913 by schoolteacher Leonidas Stavrides as an alternative to the English school
Tris Elies Village
4846 Limassol, Cyprus
Tel: 25 462 541
FAX: 25 462 808