Tsatsos Constantinos

President of the Hellenic Republic from May 1975 until May 1980. A versatile personality that dominated the major part of the 20th century making him one of the most important figures of the greek nation.

Born in Athens in 1899, Tsatsos studied Law at the University of Athens. Between 1918-1920 he worked as a diplomat and was present at the signing of the treaty of Sevres. After his glorious post-graduate studies in Heidelberg, he was appointed, in 1929, lecturer in Athens’ Law School. Since 1932 he had a excellent academic career. Two years earlier he met the national poet Kostis Palamas and became his close friend. Severely disturbed by Tsatsos’ criticism to his form of government, dictator Ioannis Metaxas ordered his arrest and banishment to the island of Skyros, in 1939. During the occupation by the German forces Tsatsos was involved in organisations of the Resistance. Then, in 1944 he escaped to the Middle East in order to avoid arrest by the Germans.

In 1946 he quit his academic career and involved himself in politics as a candidate MP. In 1949 he took over the Ministry of National Education and Religion and between 1950-1951 he served as under-secretary of Co-ordination. He was constantly being elected MP in the list of Constantinos’ Karamanlis «National Radical Union» and has been a member of every government between 1956 and 1963. He was also elected MP in 1964. During the dictatorship imposed in Greece in April 1967 he worked as an adviser of Athens’ Publishing Company on the drawing out and writing of the «History of the Greek Nation», and in Athens’ Academy.

After the political changeover in 1974 Tsatsos served as Minister of Culture in the government of coalition under the leadership of Constantinos’ Karamanlis. In the 1974 elections he was elected MP in the list of state of the party of New Democracy. He was also the President of the Committee that drafted the Constitution of 1975. As a member of Athens’ Academy and a foreigner member of the Academies of Ethics and Political Sciences of France, Romania and Morocco he was awarded the European prize Kudenhowe-Kallergi. His writing work was enormous. He wrote many scientific dissertations as well as law, related philosophical and literary books that contributed to the education of the Greek nation.

He was married to Ioanna Seferiadou, daughter of the professor of International Law, Stilianos Seferiadis and sister of the poet Georgios Seferis who had been awarded with the Nobel prize. He passed away in 1987 and was buried, according to his own wish, as a common civilian, with no formalities at all.

© 1996 Macedonian Press Agency