submitted by George Poulos on 21.10.2004
The Society of Kytherian Studies
5, Themistokleοus St.
tel.: +30 1 3838190
fax: +30 1 3820293
The Society of Kytherian Studies is a non-profit society based in Athens.
It was established in 1982 (Athens Court ruling 1386/82) and registered in the Associations Record of Athens (no. 11151/27.7.82).
Within the category, Academic Research, a special category devoted to the Association of Kytherian Studies
Interview with Professor Nikos Petrochilos, SBS Radio, Sydney, Australia, 2005, outlining the aims, aspirations, and needs of the Society.
To listen to, download or save this interview:
A. Research in any subject related to Kythera and Antikythera;
B. The dissemination of the findings of this research;
C. The preservation of monuments of art, history and literature
D. Providing moral support to individuals or organisations whose work corresponds to the purposes and aims of the Society.
A. Regular members: Scientists and scholars with an origin in Kythera and Antikythera who reside in the area of the former Jurisdiction of Capital, as well as scientists whose expertise and fields of interest can facilitate the Society to accomplish its aim.
B. Honorary members: Individuals who have provided decisive help in the Society's efforts.
C. Coresponding members: Kytherian scientists living outside the region of the former area of the Jurisdiction of the Capital.
Members as of 31/12/2002.
Regular: ........... 129
Board of Directors
President: Nikos Petrochilos
1st Vice President: Emmanuel P. Kalligeros
2nd Vice President: Kaiti Aroni-Tsichli
General Secretary: Gabriel N. Nikiforakis
Treasurer: Georgios P. Kassimatis
Members: Dimitrios L. Komis*
Theodore G. Koukoulis
Georgios N. Leontsinis
Charalmbos A. Sougiannis
*Passed away on April 5, 2003, and replaced by,
Maria G Karidi.
Former presidents of the Society
Constantinos Sarandopoulos 1982-1984
Dimitrios L. Komis 1985-2001
The Society of Kytherian Studies engages in a number of activities, including the following:
A. Archaeological Research
B. The Historical Archive of Kythira
C. Preservation and Restoration of Monuments
D. Other Interventions (conservation & culural & community activities)
G. Other activities (distribution of Trust funds, third party support, Museum & environment, lectures excursions and guided tours)
A. Archaeological Research
a. Agios Georgios sto Vouno (St. George on the Mountain)
Adonis Kyrou's discovery of Minoan votive offerings in the area of Agios Georgios sto Vouno led to excavation research in 1993 and 1994 by professor Yiannis Sakellarakis. The research resulted in the discovery of an intact Minoan hilltop sanctuary. This sanctuary, considered the greatest outside Crete, yeilded a large number of finds, temporarily kept at the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, where the most important ones are on display.
The Society's aim is the repatriation of these finds to Kythira, in order to be put on display when an appropriate museum is created.
The cost and organisation of the excavation work was undertaken by the Society. The total cost rose 14.051.426 drachmas (Euros 41236,76) and was covered with capital from the Society and grants.
b. Excavation at Kambi (Karavas)
In 1997, with the support of the Society, excavation work of a Minoan tomb at the position of Kambi in Karavas was was begun by the team headed by atchaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos, in farmland belonging to Haralmbos Kritharis, where in the past a devotional vessel had been discovered and handed over to the National Archaeological Museum. It turned out that the tomb had already been looted, and the excavation yeilded nothing. It was established however, that the area possessed archaeological interest and merited the continuation of the reserach.
c. Excavation at Housti cave (Diakofti)
With the Society's financial support, the team of the archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos initiated excavation activity during the three-year period spanning 1997-1999 at the Housti cave, in Diakofti. It was established that the cave was a devotional area, dated, based on finds so far, to an age preceding 3,800 BC.
Remarkable finds were also brought to light in Megali Dragonara by Tsaravopoulos's team during the same period. Their discovery was again attributed to Adonis Kyrou, who participated in the efforts of the Association of Sea Research to raise stone anchors of a wreck in the channel between Dragonara and Kythira. Two of the nine anchors raised are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Kythira. The research was financially supported by the Society.
e. Research on ancient mines
The Society of Kythirian Studies was affiliated with the Democritos Research Centre and financially assisted the Centre's research work on Kythira in 1998-99. The outcome was successful and the existence of iron mines in the region of Diakofti, as well as on the island's west side, was established. The final conclusions of that reserach are pending.
It was considered appropriate by relevant authorities to expand archaeological reserach to Antikythira, where, among others structures, there exists a remarkable fort which deserves to be, and must be, preserved. The Society of Kythirian Studies financially supported the first outing to Antikythira by the Tsaravopoulos team.
B. The Historical Archive of Kythira
Kythirian bodies have always had a keen interest in the building; and its contents of historical material. Before the Society of Kythirian Studies was established, the Kythirian Union of Athens oversaw the replacement of its wooden floors with concrete slabs and equipped the first reserachers of the National Reserach Foundation (Chrysa Maltezou, Dimitra Andritsaki and Eirini Horemi) with the necessary furniture to shelve the classified material.
The Society of Kythirian Studies later showed a keen interest in the "propping up" of the building, without however, reaching a radical solution; not so much because of a lack of credit, but due to the interlocking of state bodies (Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education), so that, today, the old building (dated to Venetian times) is in danger of collapse, while its invaluable contents run the risk of destruction.
For its part its part, the Society has continued to tend, with every means, to the operation of the Historical Archive of Kythira, the preservation of the building, its electrical power, and its furnishings with stationary. It provided the first books which formed the basis of its library, and installed air conditioning devices to de-humidify the building. It oversaw the effort to find a qualified manager and staff, and the despatch of a preservation expert, with the sponsorship of the Trifyllion Foundation, to restore damaged documents.
The Society assumed the total cost (Euros 15,929.58) - funds secured from the Leventis Foundation and the Nicholas Aroney Trust Fund - to disinfect material and to protect it from contamination with watertight openings (windows and doors).
At the same time, the Society showed an interest in protecting the entire castle of Kythira and Mesa Vourgo from intervention. It has also made representations to the authorities over the need for their preservation and reconstruction.
Material of the most serious publications of the Society is drawn from the Historical Archive of Kythira. Based on this material, the following works have, so far, been published:
i. Cenus of Kythira's population: 18th century
ii. Emmanuel Kassimatis: Notary of Kythira
iii. Registry Books - Estavromenou parish
iv. Registry Books - Agios Ioannis of Strapodi parish
v. Registry books - Ilariotissa of Potamos parish.
[All these books, written in Greek, are available for purchase from the Society of Kythirian Studies. (Address above).
See section, Culture, subsection, Bibliography, for more details on the works.]
C. Preservation and Restoration of Monuments
a. Kastraki Avlemonas
In cooperation with the local Cultural Society Filoxenos, founded by Panos Fyllis, began the restoration efforts at Kastraki in Avlemonas, with the financial support of the society and adhering to the instructions laid down by the relevant archaeological department. The area was cleaned, the heavy wooden castle door was constructed, porous stones were gathered and work began to repair the outside part of the walls. The project was also aided by a volunteer group of French students. The financial cost was met by the Society.
The Society supported the efforts by authorities to preserve and promote the historic Byzantine monument pf Paliochora. The effort was, however, made to no avail, mainly because of financial reasons. The society was successful, nonetheless, in its intervention to stop the sewarage waste of Potamos ending up in the PAliochora gorge, a place of unique natural beauty.
c. Restoration of the Manitochori well
The preservation and restoration of the Manitochori well, built during British rule - was accomplished by the Society, together with the Kythira Community and the financial aid of the Bank of Greece, along with a study (a donation) by the engineer Vassilis Douridas.
d. Potamos Bridge
The first voiced raised in protest to relevant authorities over the abandonment of this remarkable monument came from the Society in 1987. Under its auspices, the initial draft for its restoration was made. In addition, the Society undertook the costs to repair damages caused by passing cars. Finally in 2000, credit was approved for its restoration.
e. Restoration of the Agios Nikitas chapel
The 1st Ephorate of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities showed an interest in the restoration of the small church of Agios Nikitas, at Koufarika (Potamos), declared a protected monument and adorned by remarkable wall murals. A shelter was set up to protect the monument, but for a lack of necessary funds, further work to preserve and restore it did not proceed further and, as a result, the roof collapsed.
The danger of the chapel's complete collapse prompted the intervention of the Society which asked to undertake the restoration project. Its request was approved on the condition that the Society undertook the cost. After this, Society efforts saw to it that the chapel was plotted, and a restoration study - approved by authorities - was designed vy the engineers, Andreas Lourandos and Domna Kontaratou, who offered their services free of charge. Furthermore wall murals were preserved while work to restore the church has already begun. The Society's efforts have been financially supported so far, by the Commercial Bank of Greece, the Trifyllion Foundation, and the Nicholas Aroney Trust funds, and others.
D. Other Interventions
a. Tomb of Kosmas Panaretos
In 1992, the Society supervised the renovation and beautification of the tomb of radical Parliament member of the Ionian State, Kosmas Panaretos. The tomb, in Potamos cemetery, had been abandoned.
b. Portrait busts of Spyridon and Marika Stai
The Society backed the initiative launched by the Kythira community president at the time, Nik. Th. Nikiforakis, for the sculpting of the busts of Spyridon and Marika Stai, great benefactors of Kythira's youth, which were placed in the central square of Chora in 1989. It was a due tribute to the eminent Kythirian politician, who among other things, saw to the foundation, in 1921, of the Kythira Gymnasium, and to his wife, who made over the large part of her fortune to the setting up of scholarships for Kythirian students.
The Society of Kythirian Studies also includes among its objectives, the publication of books related to Kythira and especially to its history. The Society's publishing activity began in 1987 and has so far covered a significant range of topics. The Society's books promote the local culture of Kythira and aims to publicize sources of loacl history along with other subjects related to literature, folklore, scientific research, traditions and the islands local dialect. Apart from books, the Society also publishes a magazine, the Kythirian Youth, which was sponsored by the late Charalambos Kritharis. The magazine is available to young people and is also distributed to the Kytherian disapora. Seven issues had been published (to 2003).
[As mentioned previously, all these books, written in Greek, are available for purchase from the Society of Kythirian Studies. (Address above).
See section, Culture, subsection, Bibliography, at kythera-family for more details on the individual works.]
The Society participates in scientific conferences related to Kythira. Through one of its delegates, it observed the 6th Pan Ionic Conference in Zakynthos (Zante) in 1997, and the 7th Pan Ionic Conference in Lefkada (2002), at which its President, professor Nikos Petrochilos, secured Kythera as the venue for the 8th Pan Ionic Conference (scheduled for 2006.)
The Society participated in the 1st International Conference of Kythirian Studies that was held in Kythira in 2000, and organised by the Open University of Kythera municipality, the Paedagogic Department of the University of Athens, and the Ionian Society of London.
F. Other Activities
a. Scolarships of the Nicholas Aroney Trust Fund
The Committee of the Nicholas Aroney (Australia) Trust Fund, granted the sum of Aus$30,000, as an award to the three most original works dealing with Kythira. The Society set up a committee of academics to examine the appropriate subjects and asigned the studies to Antonios Bartzokas' Paleontology of Kythira, Emmanual Drakakis' Emmanuel Kassimatis, notary of Kythira, 1560-1580, and Despina Damianou Myths, legends and traditions of the Kythirian people. All three studies have now been published.
b. Support to third parties
The Society not only assisted experts in their studies dealing with Kythira, but also libraries and universities with its own publications. It has also backed cultural events in Kythira. More specifically it:
i. assisted G Danamos, Th. Kominos, A Yiannotsaros and Th. Koukoulis in their research and studies concerning Kythira.
ii. despatched books to schools in Kythira, the Historical Archive of Kythira, the Potamos Pilharmoinc Orchestra, members of Parliament of the pireaus constituency, and to universities in Crete and abroad.
iii. assisted the High School at Kythira with the necessary supervisory material and the Elementary School of Potamos with a computer.
iv. undertook the costs and supervision of the publication of an honourary volume on the occasion of the appointment of the new Bishop of Kythira, Mt Kyrillos Christakis, in 1998.
v. sponsored the publication of the first issue of the Nostos scientific journal by the Group of Kythirian University Professors (2002).
vi. organised an exhibition of Kythirian painters (1987), and a photography exhibition with subject matter drawn from Kythira (1988).
vii. financially assisted the restoration of the ornate bell tower of Agia Marina at Drymonas and the historic church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Konteltou in Livadi.
c. Museums, Environment
i. Engraving museum, Vassilis Charos.
The society is aiding the V. Charos Foundation - in the process of being established - to set up and operate the Engraving Museum, which will house works by the great Kythirian engraver, that were donated by the Foundation, as well as works by other engravers, in the building of the old Elementary School of Mylopotamos. The aim is to make this a place of study and to promote new engravers.
ii. Museum of Natural History
Aware of the danger that fossils discovered in the region of Ammoutses in Friligianika are exposed to, the Society is in the process of securing the necessary land in the area in order to safeguard the fossil remains of a cetacean, with the ultimate aim to build a Museum of Natural History, which will house and protect, retrieved or yet to be discovered, fossils.
d. Lectures, excursions, guided tours
Over the years, the Association has organised a series of events such as lectures, excursions and guided tours of museums. The aim was the further education of the people that participated and observed these events, and also the information of the Kythirians on subjects dealing with history, environment, literature, folklore, as well as their aquaintance with museums and places where Hellenism (Greek culture) had thrived in the past.
The excursions, organised so far by the President of the Society, professor Nikos Petrochilos, to places where Hellenism grew and thrived on a grand scale (more specifically, Venice, Egypt, Southern Italy, and Sicily) have been lauded as being well-organised, and for promoting knowledge of Hellenism.
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