The Zosimaia was the first significant educational foundation in the whole of Greece, after the Greek War of Independence. Zosimaia School was financed by a benefaction from the Zosimas brothers and began operating in 1828. It was a School of Liberal Arts (Greek, Philosophy and Foreign Languages).
The Zosimaia was badly damaged in an air raid by Italian planes in 1940 and was rebuilt on a new more spacious location with donations from Ioannitans after 1955.
The Zosimas Brothers
The Zosimas brothers or Zosimades as widely known and recognized in Greece, were born in Ioannina and were major Greek benefactors and philanthropists of the 18th and early 19th century.
In total they were nine children of Panagiotis Zosimas and Margarita Tsoukalas. Ioannis was the first son, and Michael the youngest, the others being Theodosios, Anastasios, Zois and Nikolaos. Their three sisters were Alexandra, Zoitsa and Angeliki.
At a young age, they realized that there were limited business opportunities in Epirus and migrated. Three settled in Livorno, Italy, and the other three settled in Nizva, Russia where as the time and busiess progressed they transferred the head office of the business in Moscow.While the brothers were overseas, their sisters stayed on and lived in their house in Ioannina.
In 1786, Ioannis died in Nizva. Russia, and the brothers constructed the church of Agios Ioannis in Nizva. When Theodoros died in 1793, the brothers made a decision not to marry, in order to maximize their contribute more towards their home country and Greek projects.
In the following years, the brothers supported financially the publication of Greek literature and in 1796 they contributed towards the publication of the books of Adamantios Korais.
Anastasios died in 1805, followed by Michael in 1809. In 1827, Zois died Moscow leaving Nikolaos as the only brother still alive. In 1828, on behalf of the ‘Zosimas Brothers’, he supported financial the construction of the Zosimaia School in Ioannina. The school was ready by 1833. Nikolaos died February 24th in Nizva.
Before his death, he donated money to the Ioannina Hospital, and his huge coin collection of over 12,157 antique Greek and Roman coins to the Greek Nation. He also donated books, money for those in need… Nikolaos Zosimas was also one of the founders and original shareholders of the National Bank of Greece.
Zosimades also completely financed the erection of the Monetary Museum of Athens as well as the orphanage in Patmos.