Greece’s Oldest Woman, from Chania, Dies at 119 Years Old

Greece's oldest citizen dies at the age of 119.
Greece’s oldest citizen dies at the age of 119. Credit: wallygrom. CC BY 2.0/flickr

The oldest woman in Greece, Irini Baroulakis has died at the age of 119 in Chania, and some are wondering what the secret to her longevity was.

Mrs Baroulakis, who lived in Paidochori in the municipality of Apokoronas in Chania, passed away on Tuesday evening. The municipality issued a statement on her death and referred to the principles she grew up with and passed on to her children, who were by her side until her last moment.

The Municipality of Apokoronas in its announcement states “We respectfully bid farewell to the oldest person in Greece, Irini Baroulakis, who passed away at the age of 119 years. The deceased was born, raised a family, and lived throughout her life in our municipality, in Paidochori Apokoronas. Her way of life and her virtues are models for us and an example to follow.

We express our condolences to her relatives and may the soil of Apokoroniotiki land be light to welcome her. Eternal her memory”.

Mrs Baroulakis became fairly well-known thanks to the media a few years ago, when she underwent surgery at the Hospital of Chania. The operation went well despite her advanced years and she had returned home to her children and grandchildren.

“Indeed, it was a surgery on the hip to the grandmother by two orthopaedists of our hospital, who did tests which showed positive results, prior to her being discharged,” governor of the hospital George Beas told at the time.

Who was Greece’s Oldest Woman and what was the secret of her longevity?

Mrs Baroulakis, as reported by, was the second child of a large family with four girls and two boys. She had good genes. Her father had died at the age of 107 and her mother had reached the age of 100.

She got married in 1939 to Spyros Baroulakis of Stylianos, who was born in 1911. They had five children, three boys and two girls. She raised them amid hardship and poverty in her time with the budget of her husband’s small disability pension. He was from Albania, and disabled, having had the toes of one of his feet amputated after suffering frostbite.

Discussing her long life and the “secret” to her longevity, she had spoken in 2019 to the associate of Chaniotiko Neo Petros Panigirakis, saying then “I asked for the help of Christ and St. George. When I was in difficulty, I would say, “Holy George, help me. I heard a voice saying to me: ‘I am helping’.

As she says, she insisted on a Cretan diet, with lots of vegetables and especially greens. She had not been hospitalized for any illness except for a hernia and a broken arm. She took no medication and her complaint was that she had lost her sight and could not see her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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