Pavlos Melas has quite justifiably been called the Lord Byron of the Struggle for Macedonia. With his death, he managed to make Macedonia an issue for every Greek; the tragic irony is that this is what he aspired to throughout all his brief life.
Pavlos career was almost mapped out, especially after his graduation from the Hellenic Army Academy in 1891. It was his marriage to the daughter of government Minister Stefanos Dragoumis, whose family originated from Macedonia, and his close friendship with her brother Ion which first inspired his interest in Macedonia. As an active member of the Ethniki Etairia (national Society) he had been involved in the preparation of the guerrilla bands in 1896 and fought in the Greek-Turkish war of 1897.
His three expeditions to Macedonia in 1904 have passed into the realm of legend. Melas appeared as a true apostle from Greece. With his good nature and graceful manners, overflowing with patriotism, articulate with a striking presence, generous and affable, tender with children and always sensitive, he won everyone over. The Greek Macedonians adored him. His last tour, in the autumn of 1904, was full of difficulties. The rain, the bad luck and the treachery put a strain on his mental and physical endurance.
On 13 October Melas band, guided by Lakis Pyrzas, sought refuge in Statista after much meandering around Vitsi. Betrayed by the voivoda Mitros Vlach, he was encircled by a Turkish detachment. During a pause in the fighting he came out into the courtyard of his lodgings, when he was suddenly shot and fatally wounded.
His death and the saga of his body shocked the people of Greece. His sacrifice yielded more results than he could have imagined and the memory of him has survived since then intact, as though he were a Saint..