Sunday, August 30, 2009
Η ετήσια γιορτή της Τσακώνικης Μελιτζάνας διοργανώθηκε για 12η χρονιά το Σάββατο στο Λεωνίδιο Αρκαδίας. Τους χιλιάδες επισκέπτες καλωσόρισε στην παραλία της πόλης ο δήμαρχος Λεωνιδίου Δημήτρης Τσιγκούνης, ενώ στην εκδήλωση παρέστη και ο βουλευτής Αρκαδίας του ΠΑΣΟΚ, Δημήτρης Ρέππας. Ο χορευτικός όμιλος Λεωνιδίου παρουσίασε παραδοσιακούς χορούς από την περιοχή και τη Μικρά Ασία στο πρώτο μέρος της εκδήλωσης που περιελάμβανε επίσης τον καθιερωμένο διαγωνισμό γευσιγνωσίας, μουσικό πρόγραμμα με τους Αναστασία Μουτσάτσου και Μιχάλη Δημητριάδη και παραδοσιακά τραγούδια με τον Παναγιώτη Λάλεζα.GANPDIMITRIOS PANAGOS
Friday, August 21, 2009
Tourism has grown in the South-Eastern part of Arcadia from Astros Kynourias to Leonidio Kynourias. Small villages come alive with kids playing in the small yards of the schools, the beaches are full of life, and the elderly finally have someone to talk to. The hard winter in the villages and the life in the Eparhia has attracted all young couples and their families to the cities leaving a ghost town. Leonidio the heart of Tsakonia with about 4500 permanent citizens has grown to over 15,000 in the summer months. The largest attraction in Leonidio is approaching with the Feast of the "Melitzana" at the end of August which attracts all from the various small villages nearby.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Greek Americans of Arcadian and Kynourian descent have a chance to meet with members of the Pan-Arcadian Federation of America Youth. The Eparhia Kynourias, Chapter #2 is asking for the e-mails of all interested in receiving news and announcements concerning upcoming events in the NY area. There will be functions coming up with the Federation and the Summer 2009 events in Greece. If you are interested please send your e-mail info to the Presidentof Eparhia Kynourias, Dimitrios Panagos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday April 26, 2009 we ask for anyone wishing to take part in the Greek Parade in NYC to please let us know. As always The Eastern District will have a float in the Parade and will March up 5th Ave led by Kolokotronis on his Horse.
Text: Rev. George Petris
Cynuria is a part of the Peloponnese, which bears centuries of tradition, a place with its own grace and beauty, bathed by the light blue waters of the Argolic Gulf and surrounded by the dark green landscape. A place studded with memories, monuments, and works by souls inspired by God, blessed ancestors. Hospitable monastic societies, hives of a different way of life, await to offer peace and joy to the visitor. Small monasteries with partially collapsed cells, chapels and church ruins, martyrs of long passed glory, holy lands, which bless and comfort every pious soul.
Below, reference will be made to each one. There are of course other arenas of holiness, as well as exquisite churches scattered throughout each parish, Leonidio, Prastos (of which no mention has been made), Kastanitsa etc. Anyone interested can obtain information from the local authorities of Cynuria.
1.Monastery of Ayios Nikolaos (St Nicholas) �Sintza�
The monastery of Sintza (fig tree), perched on the red cliffs SW of Leonidio seems unapproachable. Among the huge cliffs, the visitor can see the snow-white cells, the domed cross-in-square katholikon1 with the carved iconostasis and the icons dating back from 1650. The first written evidence of the history of the monastery dates back from 1628. Today it is a nunnery. The nuns will usually be found at the monastery dependency St Haralambos, a small distance from Leonidio on the road towards the parent monastery.
2.Nunnery of Our Lady of Elona (Despina a 'Eona, in Tsakonian)
At a sharp turn in the asphalt paved road from Lenidio towards Kosmas at about the 17th km, through the gorge, the Nunnery of Our Lady comes into view as white as snow, perched high on the red, cavernous cliff, like an eagle nest provoking awe and admiration. The gate is easily approached by car, although one should cautiously descend the rock-hewn steps down cliff. To the left and right, the visitor is greeted by old, well preserved, orderly buildings. In front is the katholikon, a small basilica without wall paintings but full of offerings to the holy icon of Our Lady. The iconostasis is carved with exquisite skill. In the sanctuary there are glass showcases containing ecclesiastical treasures. From the small open space, the nuns� devout hands offer visitors Turkish delights, coffee, and the opportunity to admire the wild scenic view of the rugged landscape. The history of the nunnery is confirmed by written evidence dating back to about 1700.
3. Ayios Yeorgios �Dromeas�
It is one of the small ruined monasteries of S Cynuria, which can be found W of Kosmas towards Palaiochori, in an opening on the fir-covered slopes of Mt. Parnon. The only part standing is the katholikon, a basilica with a pitched roof and an apse in the sanctuary. In a modern inscription, one can read that the monastery was founded in 1592 and abandoned in 1843.
4. Monastery of the Archangel of Mouria (mulberry tree)
Half way from Palaiochori to Ayio Vassileios on a tree covered slope we can make out the ruins of the stronghold of the Monastery of the Archangel. The church, as is characteristic of many others found in Cynuria and other places, is an octagonal, domed, cruciform single-aisled structure. There are wall paintings, presumably damaged by the fire set by Ibrahim (Pasha). Written evidence exists dating from 1744 to 1834, when it is abandoned. Two bishops of the successive Metropolis of �Reondos Prastou�, Iakovos and Dionysios, are involved in the life of the monastery, an example of its role in the Cynurian life of the period.
5. The Monastery of Palaiopanayias Glyppias
The monastery a ruined structure with an upright katholikon, which is a basilica with an apse in the sanctuary, and the adjacent very high tower, is found on the road from Ayios Vassileios towards Platanaki, on the ruins of the ancient castle of the city of Glyppia. It is a place of intense ancient Greek presence, blessed by the toil of holy souls from 1806 to 1831, when it is abandoned.
6. Ayios Yeorgios (St. George) � The monastery dependency of the Monastery of Karyas � Tyros
This is an old, orderly dependency belonging to the Monastery of Karyas in Tyros, which functions in order to serve the monks and the cultivation of its fields. It is a snow�white, two-storey building with a long narrow basilica recently repaired. It is surrounded to the west by inaccessible cliffs, which open up further ahead, and provide a view of the Argolic Gulf and Spetses.
7. Ayios Yeorgios (St. George) of Endyssenas
The small monastery which can be found 7 km from Ayios Andreas cannot easily be seen from a distance since it is situated for safety purposes in a ravine of gigantic plane trees which offer shade and cool water. The monastery cells are ruinous. The church has been repaired with a pitched tiled roof and an apse in the sanctuary. Written evidence exists from 1792 up to 1833, when it is abandoned.
8. The Monastery Dependency of the Annunciation
To the E of Ayios Andreas at a distance of 1.5 km, the tower of the dependency of the Nunnery of Our Lady �Orthokosta� or �Artokosta� can be found. There are old buildings, some of which wholly preserve their original form whereas others are in ruins. The devout small church, dedicated to the Annunciation, is small and full of blackened wall paintings, an ideal place for prayers to Our Lady. The tall ageless tower, with the small iron door, the loopholes, the machicolations and windows overlooks the whole area. Plaques on the walls inform us that the abbot Isaiah renovated the monastery and the tower during 1714-15. In the winter it accommodates nuns of the Nunnery of Our Lady �Orthokosta�.
9. Nunnery of Our Lady �Orthokosta� or �Artokosta�
The nunnery �Artokosta� is the most ancient monastic centre of Tsakonia, one of the most important in Cynuria. It is situated on the road Ayios Andreas � Prastos. Just before the nunnery, to the right, in the gorge one can make out the ruins of the old monastery of �Kato Panayia� as it is referred to, a structure of the 12th century. Here was the icon of Our Lady �Artokosta�, a work, according to tradition, of the Evangelist Loukas. The icon, which bore dedications on its silver casing by Ioannis Katakouzinos 1380, and of the emperor Ioannis (John) VIII Palaiologos, is now found in Italy.
As we continue along the road through the cypresses, the modern, snow-white nunnery comes into view. The large, impressive nunnery, which is a complete monastic complex, was founded in 1617. Various successive structures, upper floors, basements, small towers, porches that worship the katholikon in the centre, surround it. The katholikon is of the domed cruciform type. The iconostasis is simple with icons of the most exquisite workmanship. In the sanctuary, ecclesiastical treasures and relics are preserved. On the floor of the church, there are many inscriptions that inform the visitor of the past, whereas in the library, there are significant documents and patriarchal sigils of the 18th century. In 1826, the nunnery was burned down by Ibrahim. The existing katholikon was erected in 1865 by masons from Leonidio.
It became a nunnery in 1982. The hospitable nuns, the cool surroundings and the crystal water of the well offer true relief to the weary visitor, as well as an unforgettable pilgrimage.
10. Monastery of Ayios Dhimitrios (Reontino)
Hidden in the gullies after the nunnery of Our Lady �Orthokosta� lies the old monastery of Ayios Dhimitrios (St Demetrius) �Reontinou�. The church is single naved, of the domed cross-in-square type and is covered with slate. Its wall paintings (1698) and the beautifully carved iconostasis bear witness to its past glory. The monastery flourished during the 18th century and was abandoned in 1834, as is the case with most of the small Cynurian monasteries. The monastery, which is a true hermitage in nature, is presently a dependency of the nunnery of �Artokosta�.
11. Ayios Ioannis (St John) the Baptist (eglistouri)
Enclosed in the gigantic cliff on the road leading from Ayios Andreas to Prastos is the snow-white church of St John the Baptist and the adjoining house-cell. The buildings of the hermitage have been externally repaired. The church preserves its wall paintings of the early18th century, which are of good technique, and follow the Cretan manner. It was abandoned in 1834.
12. Monastery of Ayios Nikolaos (St Nicholas) of Karya
The monastery of Ayios Nikolaos of �Karya� is found after the nunnery of �Artokosta�, on the left of the road to Prastos and near the medieval castle of �Orionta�. Its form reminds us of a typical monastery of Mount Athos, unique to the whole of monastic Cynuria. It is surrounded by cells and other auxiliary structures covered with slate from Mt Malevos. The covered balconies bow towards the katholikon which belongs to the tri-apsidal or Mount Athos architectural type. Inside it is full of wall paintings by Yeorgios Moschou (1638), a magnificent carved iconostasis and relics, which are found in the sanctuary. In the centre, the well-preserved double-headed eagle is visible (1734). The monastery is open throughout most of the year.
13. Monastery of Ayios Nikolaos (St Nicholas) � �Panteleimon Kontolinas�
A chapel of the beautiful mountainous village of Kastanitsa which in former times was the monastery of Ayios Nikolaos and Panteleimon Kontominas. It is logged in a scrub of a densely wooded area consisting of chestnut and fir. The only remaining structure is the church although not in its original state with its few wall paintings executed by Kyriakos Koulidas (1767). Its history is recorded between 1628 and 1834 when it is abandoned.
14. Loukous Nunnery
It is found on the road leading from Astros � Tripolis, four kilometres from Astros. Concerning its name �Loukou� there are many opinions, but one of the main ones is that it is derived from the Latin word 'Lucus' (= sacred grove with prey). It is built in a position with a panoramic view of the plain of Thyrea and the Argolic Gulf, next to the archaeological site of Eva.
The nunnery is surrounded by buildings with a small tower and cells. The church, dedicated to the Transfiguration, is of the domed cross-in-square type. It is of the 12th century with a remarkable reddish external appearance, based on a Christian church of the 5th century. It is four columned with a tessellated marble floor and wall paintings dating from the beginning of the 17th century when it flourished. Marble sculptures and architectural members built into the outer walls of the katholikon, as well as on the other monastery buildings, can easily be distinguished.
15. Monastery of the Dormition of Our Lady �Palaiopanayia�
The monastery of Our Lady, formerly known as Our Lady of Mercy is found on the first bends of the road Astros � Ayios Petros, to the left of the gorges of the opposite mountain side. The monastery itself retains its original character and is presently a nunnery. The church is a cross-in-square structure with four columns and an octagonal dome. It is a work of 1814. The first historic mention is in 1612 although others consider it to date from 1310.
16. The Holy Trinity of Meligou
The monastery of the Holy Trinity is to the left of the road Astros-Ayios Petros just after the archaeological site of �Elliniko�. It is a forgotten monasterial Cynurian structure. The levelled surrounding structures allow the massive church to appear from its hiding place. On the external tympanum of the dome, beautiful ceramic decorations and fragments of relief representations can be seen. Inside there is a tall dome that is supported on four piers and decorated with vernacular wall paintings of the 18th century. The monastery flourished in the 18th century and was abandoned in 1834. It is celebrated on Monday of the Pentecost (WHITSUNDAY) a celebration of the Holy Spirit.
17. Ayios Ioannis Theologos (the Theologian)
On the right of the provincial road from Astros to Ayios Petros, just before the settlement of �Handakia� the monastery of Ayios Ioannis the Theologian is located. The small surviving katholikon that remains standing among the levelled ruins is of the domed cross-in-square type. Inside one is impressed by the expressive secular wall paintings (1754) by the priest Koulida and his son from Ayios Ioannis. The monastery flourished during the end of the 18th century and was abandoned in 1834.
18. The Malevi Nunnery
It is built on the road leading from Astros to Ayios Petros surprising the passer-by, as it appears snow-white through the wood of cedars. It is the best known nunnery in Cynuria and attracts scores of pilgrims. The katholikon is a small, single naved, domed, cross-in square structure. What stands out in the whole nunnery is the newly built, very beautiful and ornate church of Our Lady. A unique treasure is the icon of Our Lady dating back to presumably 1360 as is said. During its history from the 17th century it experienced many catastrophes and subsequent restorations and played an important part in the Greek War of Independence.
19. Nunnery of Ayios Ioannis the Baptist
The nunnery is found near the village Perdikovrissi of Kastri in a landscape of particular natural beauty. Due to its inaccessible position, amid steep rocks, it was used as a base of operations against Ibrahim as well as a refuge from his raids. A later inscription informs the visitor of the nunnery�s historic presence, which begins in 1126. In other inscriptions, it appears to have been restored during the 18th century. The nunnery, which flourishes and still functions today, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist (the True Forerunner) and is celebrated on 29 August.
John Michael Cocoris September 17, 1877�1944) was a Greek businessman.
Born in Leonidio, he came to New York in 1895 to work in the sponge trade. In 1905, he introduced sponge diving to Tarpon Springs, Florida. Cocoris recruited Greek sponge divers from the Dodecanese Islands. By the 1930s, the sponge industry of Tarpon Springs was very productive, generating millions of dollars a year.
He died in 1944 in Duval County, Florida.
by Peter N Yiannos
We were asked recently to pinpoint the date when the Tarpon Springs sponge industry really got going in a big way, and when the first large group of Greeks arrived in town. Well we'd say that June 18th, 1905 should be the recognized date, and most of the Greeks arrived toward the end of 1905. However, prior to those dates, the sponge business already had a good start in the area. Early sponge-fishermen for more than a half-century had been bringing their sponge catches to the Anclote Keys and Bailey's Bluff beaches to start the curing process. Almost all of the spongers were from Cuba, the Bahamas or Key West, and they returned to those places to sell their sponges. From small boats in shallow waters, they speared the sponges on the Gulf floor or used long poles with hooks at the end to pull them up after sighting the sponges through glass bottom buckets. In 1889 John K. Cheney, a wealthy Philadelphia banker, observed the returning sponge boats at Key West, and soon built warehouses in Tarpon to try to make it the leading market. He and Ernest Meres were the first sponge merchants in Tarpon, buying for New York interests. The sponges were brought by wagon from the "crawls" near the Bluff. At the Anclote River mouth, Granville Noblit Sr. had the livery business.
The first diver was Demosthenes Kavasilas, who brought his Experience from the Mediterranean Sea, as did the second diver, Stylianos Besis. The divers were amazed at the natural fortune of the deep which met their searching eyes - sponges by the thousands darkened the virgin and untrodden bars. There were thousands of corals of all colors and shapes; thick, wild grape vines hard to get through; multi-colored pea- cock feathers of the sea; beautiful gardens through which hundreds of fish of many kinds traveled. Every 10 minutes the divers sent up baskets filled with large wool-sponges, the best and sturdiest in the world, by evening the diving boat was filled with sponges. The first trip was an overwhelming success, and they returned to Anclote Key and Tarpon soon after, all very happy people! They added more boats and men as fast as possible, and they even advertised in Greece for more divers and boat men. By the end of 1905, more than 500 young and strong spongers arrived.
The first Greek to move to Tarpon Springs was John Cocoris, a buyer for Lembesis of New York who arrived in 1896. He'd come to America in 1895 from his home in Leonidion, Kynourias, Greece. By 1905, John and brothers were employed by Cheney, and they had all bid farewell to Spyros Vouteres of New York. He went to Greece, hired expert sponge divers, a diving engine, diving suits, lifelines, etc. Meanwhile, the others had bought a boat, The Pandora, for $180, which they quickly re- named "Hope" (Elpis in Greek).
And so it was on June 18, 1905, the first sponge boat here with mechanized sponging equipment set sail for the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But first, they built a house to live in and a warehouse for the sponges on the Anclote Keys. Then they sailed a few miles into the Gulf, lowered the sails and prepared for the moment they'd so anxiously awaited. For the first time, human feet would walk on the Gulf floor, prod into the mysteries of its depths, and, hopefully, reap the treasure of the sponges there. The exodus to Tarpon Springs was amazing. The happy news spread all over Greece and the Aegean Sea, especially from the Dodecanese Islands. Whole sponging fleets and crews came in many cases, particularly from the islands of Kalymnos, Halki, Symi, Hydra, Spetse, Aegena and others. None of these Greek men brought a family; they were either unmarried or left their wives and children behind. The only Greek woman in Tarpon at that time was John Cocoris' wife, Anna, with her Son, Michael. Later, their daughter Stamatina arrived. She was the first Greek child to be born in Tarpon in 1906.
Soon, mostly Greeks came to Tarpon to open restaurants, candy stores, coffee houses, taverns and grocery stores. Many of them through the years along with the spongers, re- turned to their homeland when they saved enough money But as we know, thousands stayed in Tarpon Springs, and have helped it progress.
...The Tsakonian dance is executed with the right arm of one dancer hooked tightly in another's crooked elbow. In this way, lateral movement is limited.
The origin of the dance has provoked many interpretations the most prevalent opinions of which suggest that it is based on the dance of the crane or of the Pythia. The first opinion (that of Dora Stratou and her school) supports the theory that the dance represents Theseus� attempt to find a way out of the Labyrinth. It was executed in Delos and from there it spread to Asia Minor and to other cities in Greece, however it was preserved in south Cynuria. The second opinion supports the claim that the Tsakonian dance originated from the crane dance, from which it broke away in continuance and represents Apollo's victorious fight against the huge serpent, Python at Delphi. In other words it retains the labyrinthine style of the crane, but choreographically represents the movement of the serpent. The sacred dance of Minoan Crete was brought to the east coasts of the Peloponnese and was preserved by the Achaeans of Laconia who took refuge on the inaccessible Parnon range in order to avoid slavery and the ruthlessness of the Dorians. With the domination of the twelve Olympian gods, the inhabitants dedicated the sacred dance to Apollo, who according to archaeological information was the principle god already worshipped in ancient Cynuria from archaic times.
Fifteenth Anniversary of Eparhia Kynourias Society Celebrated
Posted on Monday, February 25 @ 14:27:48 EST by greek_news
By Catherine Tsounis
The will to break the bonds of 400 years of slavery began in the mountains of the Peloponnese. The Arcadians are the direct descendants of the Ancient Greek Dorians who hid in the mountains during this time of genocide and ethnic cleansing by the Ottoman Turk conquerors. Their patriotism and adherence to the language, culture and Greek Orthodox Church is still present today in 2008 Greece and the United States. One scholar said, “if Arcadia assimilates into globalism, then all of Greece is doomed.” The Greek tradition of family, country and church is alive in an extraordinary Arcadian society known as “Eparhia Kynourias”.
Over one hundred and eighty persons attended “Eparhia Kynourias” Annual Dance at Towers on the Green on Saturday, February 9th. The fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the society was attended by persons from New York, New Jersey and Baltimore, Maryland. Youth was present throughout the hall. Arcadian families take their children with them socially, strengthening the bonds of family. The “Acoustics” band played traditional Greek melodies, encouraging all to join hands and dance. The “Eparhia Kynourias Youth Dance Group” and “Kolokotronei Hellenic Dancers” performed: Tsakonikos - Kynourias; Podaraki, Thrace, Tsamikos, Pan-Hellenic; Kalamatianos, Pan-Hellenic; Kotsari, Pontios; Marena, Macedonian and others. Partial proceeds of the dance will be donated for scholarships and the fire victims in Arcadia, Greece.
“The highlight of our evening is our unique George Marneris Scholarship Fund,” said president Dimitrios Panagos.” “We are gathered here tonight to honor our past presidents Panagiotis Marneris, Theodore Argyris, Ioannis Marneris, Nikos Laloudakis and Nikos Kontoleon. We have a special tribute to George Athanasopoulos for his volunteer work in helping all persons in the community.” Rebecca Papadopoulos, Mistress of Ceremonies added “the George Marneris Scholarship fund was started in 1999 by Laura and Panagiotis Marneris in memory of their late son, George. Over $50,000 have been given in scholarships. Tonight’s scholarship winners are Sophia Panagos, Maria Egglezos, Apostolos Stagias and Nikolas Kaloudis. The “Eparhias Kynourias” Society is made up of 200 families from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Baltimore, Maryland.”
Anastasios Stasinos, Governor of the Eastern District of the Pan Arcadian Federation said “we are proud of Kynourias youth and their accomplishments.” Scholarship winner Sophia Panagos, an 18year old St. Joseph’s College student said “I am from the Peloponnese. I am an Arcadian. My two sisters, Matina and Theodora, enjoy dancing every Saturday morning at the society’s dance classes in Hicksville, New York.”
Marneris scholar Nikolas Kaloudis thanked “Mr. Marneris and his entire family. He epitomizes what it means to be Greek. Mr. Marneris sees us as a family of Greeks, regardless of our villages. We share a common of losing a loved one and love of life.”
The evening’s events were best summarized by Rev. George Stavropoulos of the Holy Trinity Church of Hicksville who quoted Homer’s saying that “there is no greater love than for one’s country.” I am Laconian, from Sparta. Arcadians and Laconians (descendants of the 300 Spartans) move together promoting Hellenism.”
Arcadia is a prefecture (state) of Greece with four provinces (counties) and municipalities with mayors. The provinces and their capitals include: Mantinea, Tripolis; Gortynea, Demitsana, Megalopolis, capital Megalopolis and Kynouria, Leonidio. Tripolis is the capital of the province of Mantinea and capital of the prefecture of Arcadia. The province of Kynourias near the sea with Southern Kynourias bordering Laconia and Mt. Parnon.
Leonidio is one of the oldest maritime towns of Greece. It is the last town of South western Arcadia. Red mountains and sheer cliffs dominate the landscape. Leonidio not only is the capital of the province of Kynourias but the capital of Tsakonica. The Tsakonians are the descendants of Laconians who speak a form of Ancient Doric Greek. The Tsakonian dialect is considered to be the oldest dialect in the world. Tsakonians have their own folk traditions, customs, songs and dances. The Takonian dialect is widespread in the region. Leonidio is characterized by scenic local architecture, unique to Arcadia, with homes constructed in the shape of a tower. The Tsakonian population is estimated to be 10,000 to 12,000 people.