Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eparhia Kynourias, Tsakonia

Fifteenth Anniversary of Eparhia Kynourias Society Celebrated
Posted on Monday, February 25 @ 14:27:48 EST by greek_news
Community 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.

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