Zula "the Greek"
Basil Patras Zula was born in Greece, to a clan chieftain, in 1796 during the war of independence against the Turks. He was just five when his father died and at the age of eleven Zula was faced with the choice of either taking over as the clan chieftain or abdicating from his position. Courageously he took over the chieftainship and by doing so the Turks immediately put a price on his head. Zula fled to Italy for refuge. He returned to Greece in 1822 during the siege of Missolonghi and he was one of the few defenders who managed to break through the Turkish lines and escape, although he was wounded in the process. Appalled by the war, Zula left and journeyed to Smyrna in Asia Minor, where he met an English Nobleman, Sir William Eden who became his travelling companion. They journeyed through Europe and England finally ending up in Dublin in early 1828. While staying in Dublin at the Bilton hotel on Sackville Street, Zula met Anne Linfoot, a local schoolteacher and Moravian. Together they attended services in the Bishop Street church in Dublin and as a result he became interested in the history and work of the Moravian church. This interest grew and eventually led him to train as a Minister at the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill. On completion of his training he returned to Dublin, and on Easter Monday, 1829 he married Anne Linfoot.
He preached his first sermon in the old Church on the 14th September 1834. Finding it in a neglected and run-down condition, Zula immediately persuaded the Marquis of Downshire not to take the lease away N.B. A copy of the letter is reproduced. A few weeks later Zula started demolishing the old church and erecting the present church building and the manse. The new church building was opened in March 1835 and twenty-six new members were added. He also built a small day school at the entrance to the grounds. It was in January 1837 that Zula was ordained Minister in full charge of Kilwarlin. His energy had increased the congregation from 6 to 129.
It was in 1841 that Zula created his masterpiece at Kilwarlin, a reconstruction of the Greek battle of Thermopylae. In 480 B.C. 300 Spartan soldiers under the command of King Leonidas held up the full might of 6,000 Persian soldiers, invading from the north to attack Athens. The battle ended when a Greek traitor revealed the secret pass of Thermopolae to the Persians. This allowed the Persians to outflank and attack Leonidas and his men from the rear and annihilate them, but not before the Spartans inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. Even though the Spartans were defeated at Thermopylae, they had held up the invading army long enough for reinforcements to arrive in Athens and ultimately save the city.
Even when Zula was safely exiled in Ireland he could not forget the atrocities of the Turks on his people or the price that had been placed on his head. When the manse was rebuilt, he fitted every downstairs room with two doorways, he also had two separate staircases, and he even built a small room on "stilts" at the back of the manse with a trap door leading to a hiding place under the floor. Thankfully, he never needed to use any of his escape routes, for he died naturally in Dublin on October 4th 1844. He is buried in the small graveyard at the Kilwarlin church. His widow, Anne, continued to live in the manse and using the money from her husbands estate she built an additional wing onto the manse. In it she ran a "Boarding School for Select Young Ladies" until she died on January 26th 1858 and is buried next to her husband.
[Cracked but complete] Basil Patras Zula,
Moravian Minister, a native of Greece,
departed this life Octr 4th 1844 aged 48 years.
1 Anne Zula [nee Linfoot], born in Dublin, August 31st 1794,
departed this life Jany 26th 1858 aged 63 years.
Zula, 1Anne Patrias [Will:Principal] 1858.
August 8th 1845, 2Zula son of John and Ann Walsh.
September 10th 1845, Angelica Zula daughter of John and Rose Walsh.
May 7th 1846, Anne Zula daughter of John and Mary McLeavy.
July 27th 1846, 3Patras Zula son of Ralph and Abigail Walsh.
August 30th 1867, Samuel son of 2Zula and Elizabeth Walsh.
February 20th 1869, Foster Green son of 2Zula and Elizabeth Walsh.
November 11th 1870, not recorded, 2Zula and Elizabeth Walsh.
3Patras Zula Walsh, August 17th 1880 aged 34 years.
The impact that the Rev Zula had on the congregation, can be seen in the Church registers, which record that 4 children were named after him.
Zula was indeed a remarkable, charismatic individual, who transformed the future of the Moravian church at Kilwarlin, "At Kilwarlin, Basil Patras Zula revived a flagging cause." James Hutton, (1905).
The coloured numbers correspond to an individual recorded in the inscriptions, baptisms, marriage and burial records etc.