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Newsletter Archive > September 2011

19541: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 07.11.2011

September 2011

Dear Friends of Kythera,

I was in Greece for a few days last week and was cornered by a young energetic Kytherian called Panayotis Giannis, who is even more of an internet-nut than I am. He's been arranging something big for the international Kytherian community, he told me. The Holy Metropolis of Kythira is allowing him and his company InternetChannel.gr, with the financial support of Peter Magiros and Frutex Australia (thanks Peter!), to broadcast the Festival of the Virgin Myrtithiotisa from the legendary monastery of Mirtithia on Kythera. Live. Via the internet. This Saturday and Sunday. Accessible all over the world, on a computer near you. In addition to the live transmissions there is also an on-demand service so you don't have to get up at 3am - due to the time difference - to view the first service. Here are the details:

Live Broadcasts:
1. Saturday, 23 September 11
Vespers of the Festival of the Virgin Myrtithiotisa
Greece: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Australia (East Coast): 3:00am to 5:00am
USA (West Coast): 9:00am to 11:00am
USA (East Coast): 12 midday to 2:00pm

2. Sunday, 24 September 11
Divine Liturgy
Greece: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 AM
Australia (East Coast): 3:00pm to 7:00pm
USA (West Coast): 9:00pm to 1:00am
USA (East Coast): 12 midnight to 4am

The live broadcast will be broadcast on the website
www.internetchannel.gr/kytheramyrtidia
For more information: www.ecclesia.gr
The services will also be relayed by the sites and www.camelotradio.gr
www.kythera.gr, www.tsirigofm.gr 105,6 Fm and available on these radio
frequencies: Adelinfm 107,3FM and tsirigoFM 105,6 FM

POST-EVENT ON-DEMAND BROADCASTS:
95 On September 25, 11, video of the Holy Services will be displayed
in standard quality video at:
www.internetchannel.gr/kytheramyrtidia and
www.youtube.com/kytheramyrtidia
95 On September 29, 11, video of the Holy Services will be posted
online in HD (High Definition) Video at www.youtube.com/kytheramyrtidia

So gather your interested family members around the biggest screen you can hook up to a computer and let them enjoy a truly Kytherian event. I only wish my Yiayia was around to enjoy it too.

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Hairpins in Paradise
Autumn is my favourite season on the island. It's a bit cooler but the sea is still warm, the streets and beaches are empty, the commercial
beach-umbrellas are folded and stored for the winter and the spluttering generators which power the beach kiosks switched off for the year...

Paradise found!
In contrast to the Greek school holidays, which are concentrated in summer, my kids here in Berlin get two weeks in October to visit Kythera again. The weather isn't quite as predictable as in summer but with a bit of luck we'll enjoy lots of sunny days. Cruising around the empty roads of Kythera you still have to be careful of the odd half-blind octogenarian driving his or her old ute/pickup, white knuckled with chin perched over the steering wheel and eyes bulging in anticipation of the next curve. At least as dangerous are the dozens of hairpin curves
without warning signs which are the cause of dozens of accidents each year as the unsuspecting tourists spin-out onto the other side of the road while negotiating what they thought was a normal curve. I remember pointing out the danger to the mayor two years ago in an interview and listening to him explain that a road safety professional was, at that very moment, doing a "study" of the island's roads so that such problems could be fixed. I'm glad I didn't hold my breath...

Brave New Greece
Let's face it, even the most staunchly pro-Hellene among us have wondered how long the Greek economic buoyancy could continue considering the chaotic state of the taxation and general governmental system there. The frustrating experiences of getting almost anything official done 96 from citizenship applications to building permits 96 were strong indications of malady in the system.

While many Greeks complain that they are not the only ones deeply in debt and yet are being singled out as the basket-case of Europe, and others wonder if France and Germany are using Greece as an "experiment" to see how far you can deprive a country before it collapses (spending 100 billion a year to keep Greece afloat seems to me to be a pretty expensive way to test a hypothesis...), I have met some young Greeks who are putting their heads down and doing their best to weather the storm, looking for survival strategies for their homes and businesses. This is a big step and gives real hope for the future in my opinion. Many of them have realised that worrying, complaining and blaming others is not particularly constructive and on my last visit I saw not only a change in attitude. New business ideas, a renewed interest in food self-sufficiency in the forms of market gardens and animal husbandry, as well as retraining are gathering interest now that the sought-after secure jobs in the public service have dried up.

Those of us raised in more dynamic economies can help our young Greek relatives with moral and practical support. Just giving them a chance to visit another country to broaden their horizons and a temporary respite from the doom and gloom atmosphere of the current Greek job-world can do wonders. My Athenian nieces came and stayed here in Berlin for a week and were excited about what they saw here and went back convinced that doing their best in school and university was worthwhile.

Have faith in Greece and in our island. Both have an overwhelmingly good name and "brand" which, with continuous incremental (and a few major) improvements can return Greece to the attractive, dynamic and optimistic country it deserves to be. A crisis can change attitudes and force improvements if approached with resolution instead of despair.

James Prineas (james@kythera-family.net)

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James Samios

The Honourable James (Jim) Samios AM, MBE passed away peacefully on Tuesday, 19 July 11 after a long illness. Jim was aged 77 years.

Jim forged an extraordinary career. He was selflessly devoted to public service and made an immense contribution to the community, particularly in New South Wales.

His sister Helen Margetis and brother Nicholas Samios, together with Bretos and Theodora, his nephew and niece, remember Jim with much love and admiration for the good work he achieved as legal advisor to His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos for many years and as a politician in the area of Ethnic Affairs and the Arts. His parents, Miltiades and Constantina were an inspiration to him and a source of strength and character. May his soul rest in peace.

Please view the entire memorial pdf "Remembering Jim" here:
www.kythera-family.net/download/JamesSamios.pdf

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Jewels in our Island's Crown

In the past few weeks we've gained the support of new and capable team-members in addition to new sponsors, who realise that the addition of a world-class and unique museum on Kythera will add another jewel to our island's crown, one which will elevate Kythera's visibility and hopefully encourage high-class tourism and at least a few of the Aegean cruise liners to dock at the island again. Even a moderate lengthening of the tourist season on Kythera will do wonders for the local economy and help stop the abandonment of the island by its younger inhabitants. One major new donation of special note is dedicated to the memory of Stamatis Marcellos by his beloved daughter Mary. She has elected to place a plaque to him located in the sculpture garden of the museum complex.

The private foundation which will control the Kythera-Aphrodite Museum can and will ensure the historical, architectural and financial integrity of the new museum. The price we have to pay for it is having to raise some of the funding ourselves - EU funding is available but not the entire amount. So if you'd like to donate to something which has an excellent chance of having wide-ranging benefits for Kythera, please consider pledging funds to our museum. Only a few hundred dollars can purchase a high-quality replica of a famous Aphrodite statue for the Statue Garden, a few thousand will procure facilities for the workshop or audio visual area. Tens of thousands can pay for whole sections of exhibits and even larger donations help finance the building of the various wings of the museum complex. Donations will be acknowledged with dedication plaques and in the naming of the various wings, and all financial details of the project will be transparent and open to public scrutiny.

The site plan below will give you an idea of the bold scope of our endeavor. It is probably the most ambitious project the island has seen in decades. Perhaps you'd like to assist in historic research, exhibit concept or in the areas of PR and marketing - just let us know how you can help by sending a mail to team@kythera-aphrodite-museum.com.

Proposed arrangement of the museums within the complex
1. Kythera Historical Museum
2. Goddess Aphrodite Museum Wing
3. Natural History Wing (lower floor)
4. Lecture area, workshops, audio-visual area
5. Museum CafE9-Restaurant with roof-terrace
6. Museum Shop and administrative offices
7. Apartments for visiting academics and artists working on Kytherian
projects. Caretaker accommodation
8. Possible extension for other museums (e.g. Folklore & Handcrafts,
Migration History...)
9. Main Entrance
10. Sculpture Garden
11. Parking area.

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How many of us know about Frederik J. Rand?
Certainly not many. Frederik J. Rand was brigadier-general in the English army and he served his country during the years 1928-1945. Some time after the Germans left Kythera, (to be exact on the 27th of January 1945) a British cargo ship loaded with rice, wheat and flour anchored in Kapsali. The ship was under the supervision of a British battle ship, whose Captain was Captain Frederick Rand. He was the first official appointed by the liberated Greek Government as a caretaker to oversee the peaceful existence of all political parties in Kythera.

The cargo ship unloaded its "life saving" cargo in Kapsali and this was the first free food assistance on the island of Kythera after the Second World War.Hora's Councilors decided that they should honour Captain Rand by naming a street after him. The street next to Estavromenos Church leading to Kastro, was chosen and after the normal ribbon cutting ceremony, speeches and "doxologia" at Church, Captain Rand was a very happy and proud man looking at the sign on the wall on the western side of the street.

Some years later, the sign deteriorated and it was impossible to read anything on it. The Councilors decided to pull it down, scrape the old paint, repaint it and write again "Frederick Rand Street". They removed the sign but they did not repaint it immediately. After all, they had all the time in the world to do it.

Now, after an absence of many decades, a new sign has been produced and positioned thanks to the efforts of S. Kalokerinos and N. Haros. They hope it will act as a reminder to all Kytherians and visitors of the difficult times the island suffered during the second world war. In addition it honors the selfless people of that time who gave their lives to free Greece.

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Dear Kythera-Family.net,
my 90-year-old mother has passed some more family history on to me. Her maiden name was Despina Sophios and her dad Dimitri Sophios was the island's master builder in the 1930s and 40s. A lot of the churches you see where either built or finished off by him. The one that he was most proud of, having been the main builder on that job, was Agia Ilaryiotisa in Potamos. One of his sons, George (pictured) followed in his footsteps, and became one of Kythira's finest builders. The other son, Manolis, as you might know, went on to be Kythira's (and arguably Greece's) finest photographer.

Paul (Polixronis Leivathitis) Livaditis

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A Dream to be Fulfilled

Many fellow Kytherians have read of my dream of returning to Kythera, but not wishing to find the small and idyllic island I last visited some years ago, changed. The sealed roads being one major change which I cannot emotionally comprehend. Louradianika, a tiny village of few homes, now with a sealed road going from Kato Livadi to the church of my grandfather. My desire to keep this village which holds such history for me untouched.


My memories go even further as I recall the many times I would stand next to my grandfather, overlooking open spaces, as he would answer the questions of a young girl. My grandfather was such a wise man, teaching me values and acceptance, as this is how he lived his life. Never did he speak of religion without respect for the beliefs of others, which he would tell me are private and should never be judged, if beliefs are different from our own.

Some months ago, a friend who is father figure to me, a man who I cherish, came to visit me, bringing with him a video he had made just for me. I watched, seeing a sealed road, the heat of the day taking its toll on some of the family members who chose to make this walk along with this much loved man who I turn to, as I would have done with my own father, and I was moved to tears as he told me that he had had either a vision or a dream, as my memory is not quite clear as to which it was, in which he saw he sitting in the front pew of the restored Agio Georgi, our village church, and I would see my father and my grandfather once again.

I did not know how to shatter his dream, as how could I, confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk, make this trip? My own dream had been shattered, but my faith has always stayed strong. The dream of this much loved father figure would not allow my confinement to a wheel chair be an obstacle, as this dream was meant to be.

My grandfather's teachings have always been with me, causing me to speak to my husband, telling him of the wish to return to Louradianika, but there had been a mistake made when we had spoken of this before, as I believed that he would not be interested in visiting the island which held such meaning for me. A miscommunication on my part.

This obstacle was overcome as we spoke, with the words I had only believed in my prayers that I would hear spoken, as he told me he wanted to visit Kythera also, to be part of a life he had shared with me only in conversation, leaving me once again realizing that my prayers had been heard, with one wish also being fulfilled, to take my husband to Louradianika, to share with him a life which had only been spoken of.

I now have a dream which will be fulfilled, as our Myrtithiotisa has heard my prayers, as has my grandfather, removing the obstacles which I had mistakenly placed myself, knowing deep within my heart and soul that I will return, and my promise to my beloved uncle will also be honoured. I will light a candle in my grandfather's church, knowing that I will finally find the peace which has alluded me for so long, as I accept the blessings I have been given, and acceptance of the burden of ill health, but, all have a reason, as I realize it is not for me to question what has been my burden to carry, but I do so humbly, and accepting, although not fully understanding.

My faith has never wavered, and each morning, as I open my eyes, I now hear the voice singing, 93Louradianika, here we come!94

There will be changes, but for me, I will not see them, as my memories will be of the Louradianika of old.

When I was just a young girl, arriving in Kythera during the night, visiting my grandparents before anyone else, my parents took me and my sister to our Myrtithiotisa to give thanks. I would like to honour this also, and I will visit to give thanks, lighting a candle for all my loved ones, and for the greatest gift of all, returning one final time to Louradianika, believing in my heart that I will indeed see the vision of my father and grandfather. The greatest gift I could ask for.

The winds will still blow, and I will once more look to the sky to see the moon, having been taught by my beloved aunts as to how to read it, knowing what the weather would hold the following day, as we had no other way, nor means to understand.

I believe that as I gaze at the sky there, the stars which will be a little brighter, will be the stars of my loved ones looking down on me, giving me their blessing, happy that I had overcome the obstacles which now seem so miniscule.

My loved ones, who would fill the old truck to take us to the wonderful picnics, will not be there physically, but they will watch over me in spirit, always remembering the young girl I once was, with the innocence of one so young, not behaving in a way meant to cause mischief but often did, a young girl who fell in love with an island, which to this day will live on in my heart and soul.

The changes which have happened on the island will be overlooked, and I will recall the days of old when I would often sit on the hard wooden saddle, my only means of transport. I will see the family home, no longer belonging to my family, a satellite dish now standing close to where grandpa would stand with me, his voice quiet but so strong, leaving an impression on one so young, giving me the strength to continue when days seemed to be lacking the sunshine. Grandpa's words would cause me to be grateful for this opportunity which has been given to me, a gift which I can only thank the love of my father, as his hard work all his life will be fulfilled, as I know he is looking down on me, approving, waiting for the day when we shall indeed meet again as I, God willing, sit in the pew of my grandfather's church, feeling the love around me. A gift from my beloved father, who will be always remembered by many, understanding me when I struggle to find the words which I feel within my heart and soul.

Maria (Marcellos) Whyte
maria.wwhyte@gmail.com
4 Trinity Crescent.,
Sippy Downs 4556
Queensland.

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