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Our villages and their history

AGIA KYRIAKI ÍÏÌÉÁ KONAKIA - STROTZA(PROSILIO) PYLOS SKYFIANIKA KARYOUPOLI - SKAMNAKI KALLIAZI

KONAKIA - STRONTZA (Prosilio)

            The origin of our family is from the village Nomia of Mani where the Patsourakos family is estimated to exist from 900 AD.
            The Inner Mani (Mesa Mani in greek) is infertile and with very little water. Also due to the strong winds there were no windmills. So the few cereals that were cultivated had to be carried for grinding to eastern Mani, near the Turkish border, to the village of Bardounia, where there were many watermills.
            Coming to grind their cereals in eastern Mani during the summer months, the inhabitants of Inner Mani used to occupy and cultivate some fields to supplement their crop, as the land was much more fertile and with much more water. They even constructed small huts to protect themselves from the heat and rain as long as they stayed there. Then in autumn, they were returning to their villages in Inner Mani with the flour for the rest of year.
            The same practice was followed by some Patsourakos from Nomia and the place where they had constructed their summer huts was called "Konakia" from the greek expression «Kano konaki (I make konaki)», i.e. « I stay for a while and then I leave».
When most of the family was forced to leave the village of Nomia around 1400 AD, they stayed for a short time in the village of Kalliazi and then most of the members of the family decided to move to their "own" lands in Konakia.

The village of Konakia
            Around 1600 a part of the clan of Patsourakos from Konakia moved to the north (a distance of about 3 hours on foot) and built a tower in a place called "Mouchtia", below the village of Melitini, which was Turkish. The Turks, who had in the recent years conquered, without serious resistance, the rest of Laconia area, were necessarily restricted there and built in 1690 the powerful Turkish fortress of «Bardounias», called after the homonym river.
            Moreover, just opposite the tower of Patsourakos, but on the other side of the river Bardounia, the Turks built the village "Stroutza" or "Strotza" (now "Prosilio").

The village of Strotza (Prosilio)

            To ensure the village from the attacks of the Greeks, the Turks built later, around 1750, two strong towers. One was in the north entrance of the village and was called the "Hassan Tower", while the other was in the south entrance and was called the "Omer Tower". These two towers took their name from the names of the two Turks officers who ruled the village, and their ruins survive to this day. (The tower of Hassan is the current home of Nicholas Georges Patsouris and dominates on the north hill of the village).
            The inhabitants of Konakia and the members of our clan had contact with the Turks of Strotza, Melitini and Bardounia who often invited them to aid them when they had inner differences. The Maniots most of the times accepted the invitation as they had the chance to kill some Turks and get some loot and food, but never asked the Turks to reinforce them in their own differences. The Greeks respected the Turks of Melitini, Strotza and Bardounia as brave warriors.
The members of our clan, also brave warriors, had a mutual respect with the Turks of the area and never had any fights with them as also they had their necessity to grind their cereals in the watermills of the turkish villages of Melitini.
            The assessment of the Turks of Strotza, Melitini and Bardounia for the Patsourakos of Mouchtia and Konakia, as well as the sovereignty of our family in the area, is described in a folk song of 1780, which was published several times in various souvenir albums in 1921, at the hundred years anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821. In the song our family is referred to as "the coat of Mouchtia"  as the most powerful in the region.

tower of Hasan in Strotza (Prosilio) is today the house of Nicolas Patsouris

            When the Greek Revolution exploded in 1821 and as the various conflicts were generalized, the Turks of the region were getting ready to move to Tripoli where they would be safe. The Turk Bey of Strotza came into negotiation with members of our family and especialy Panagiotakis Patsourakos as he needed to buy mules. Panagiotakis, smart as he was, told him: «You will now go to Tripoli. Do me a favor and sign me a paper that you sold your entire property to me (the entire village area was the property of the Turk Bey) and I will provide you with mules and people to go undisturbed to Tripoli. If you ever return the land will be returned to you, otherwise it will remain to me only». The Bey accepted and gave the contract to Panagiotakis.
            The Revolution ended and Panagiotakis moved to Strotza with one of his sons, Nikolos or Nikolakis, ruling the entire region. But the extent of the property  was so big that their family members were not sufficient for the cultivation of the land and the harvesting. It was the era that happened the demolition of the island of Chios by the Turks and also many disasters and persecutions of the Greeks in Crete. Many Greeks from the island of Chios and Cretans were dispersed in free Greece seeking asylum and work. Some of them came in and asked Nikolos for job. He accepted them and gave them former turkish houses to stay. Along with them remained many former Muslims who had accepted to be baptized, called «neofotistoi». Their descendants live today in Prosilio and are very affluent with large land properties but at the time, lords and masters were only the Patsourakos and everybody in Strotza used to say: «If Nikolos wants it, so God wants it»!
            Three hundred years after the settlement of Patsourakos family in Konakia, namely in 1770, the nearby village Pilala was occupied by Captain Chantzos, and the Chantzakos family, who built a fortified tower. Due to the arrival and installation of new residents in the  region, a long armed conflict began between two generations of the neighboring villages.
            But apparently the real reason,, was who would overrule the region  and who would manage, the property of the nearby Holy Byzantine monastery of Agios Georgios (Saint Georges).

The Church of Aghios Georgios (Konakia)

            The Holy Monastery of Aghios Georgios of Konakia is located in a ravine west of the village and is one of the oldest monasteries in Mani, as indicated by an inscription inside the monastery stating that it was built in 509 AC. The belfry of the monastery is built entirely by «porous stone», which were then carried by the monks from the ancient port of Gytheio, the ancient «Neoria».

                         The interior of the Church of Aghios Georgios was fully covered with frescoes but today much of them are destroyed.

The Church of Aghios Georgios

The Church of Aghios Georgios
           
           The Monastery of Aghios Georgios in Konakia was donated 150 years ago by our family to the Exarchate of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem in Greece. This appears from a letter dated «7 August 1895» from the Bishop of Bethlehem Anthimos, who was the first Bishop of the Holy Sepulcher Exarchate in Greece, to Vasilios Patsourakos son of Anagnostis.
           Around 1800, our generation was reinforced, not only in men but also in military equipment, by Captain Pavlakos from the nearby village of Lymberdo, as his sister was married to a Patsouros and finaly prevailed against the Chantzakos family,. Among the military equipment, Captain Pavlakos included a cannon which remained to our family for many years and can now be found in front of the war memorial monument in Gytheio.
           The church of Aghios Demetrios which is located at the cemetery of Konakia is also built by our family in 1831 as indicated by an inscription outside the church.

The Church of Aghios Demetrios at the cemetery in Konakia

The inscription with the building date of the Church of Aghios Demetrios