submitted by Vikki Vrettos Fraioli on 09.11.2016
Email to John T. Conomos from Theodore Koukoulis in regards to the history of the Magalocnomos family.
(Posting at the request of John T. Conomos from California)
From: Theodoros Koukoulis
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2016 1:09 PM
To: John Conomos
Subject: The history of Megaloconomos family
Dear Mr Conomos,
I am writing to you after nearly 5 months and I am realy very sorry that I have been so late in fulfilling my promise to inform you about the history of your surname. So today I will write a few things about it. First of all I must let you know that the surname Megalooekonomos (Μεγαλοοικονόμος) or Megaloconomos derives from the word 'Οικονόμος' (Oeconomos) which already from the 4th c. A.D. was used to denote a person holding a high rank office at the Orthodox Church. This person was responsible for the administration and the management of the church property. This title was used from the 4th up to the 11th c. continously. At the 11th c. more persons were employed for the administration of the Church property, but the title Οικονομος at that time became more important because the Oeconomos was promoted to a higher position, thus he became Μέγας (or Μεγάλος) Οικονόμος. As the centuries went by, the two words were unifed and at some time in the late Byzantine period(13th or 14th c) we come across to the title Megalooeconomos (Μεγαλοοικονόμος).
As you can understand, the persons holding this office and consecutively the title were very important and very honoured. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and of the byzantine Empire (the Medieval greek state, which was the continuation or the heir of the Eastern Roman Empire) the office of Megalooeconomos seized to exist. However, the title remained and the families who left Constantinople before or after its fall to the Turks became to be known in the new places where they arrived rather with thair title and less with their existing surnames.
From this point we come to the Megaloconomos family at Kythera. It is obvious that this family arrived in the island some time in the 15th c., either directly from Constantinople or from Mystras, a fortified city near Sparta, Laconia, Peloponnese. The family firstly appears in the year 1536 at Chania, Crete, in the official catalogue with men who were to become soldiers. In Crete it is not widespred and for this reason we believe that the few families found in Crete went there via Kythera, since Crete was a more rich and a more secure island than Kythera. The surname Megalooeconomos does not appear during the 16th and the 17th c. in other places except Kythera and Crete. It is important to note that after the 17th c. the surname does not reappear in Crete, whereas in Kythera is more and more widespread.
A certain Ιωάννης Μεγαλοκονόμος and another Λέων Μεγαλοκονόμος appear in an official document (contract) in 1563. A bit later, in 1565 we enccounter a certain Δημήτρη Μεγαλοκονόμο - Μεταξά. By the end of the 16th c. more members of the Megaloconomos family appear in official documents. In the church of Άγιος Ανδρέας at Livadi, there is a wallpainting on which a young girl is depicted and her name is written on the wall, Relia Megalonomopoula (daughter of Megaloconomos). This wallpainting is securly dated by an incription to the year 1628. It is possible that this church which is dated to the 10th c. A.D. belonged to the Megalokonomos family, but we don't know when the church became property of the family.
We know very well that the surname Megalooekonomos or Megaloconomos or Megaloconomou (in three different types) was widesprend at the island already in the 2nd half of the 16th c. We meet in this century the family at Chora, Livadi, Kalamos, Alexandrades, Fyroi, Fratsia and Mylopotamos. During the following centuries (17th and 18th) the family inhabits also at Kapsali, Potamos, Drymonas, Kontolianika and much later at Agia Anastasia and Agia Pelagia.
The fact that there was such a large family led to the use of nicknames, such as Kardaras, Kaponas, Karaspyros, Boukis, Koutsounis, Diakakis, Romanos, Boubouras, etc. The Megaloconomou family branch emigrated to Smyrna perhaps in the late 18th c. Also the family is found in the Kytherian Diaspora in the USA and Australia. The fact that the family in the Diaspora has in most cases shortened his surname makes extreamely difficult to trace all the Megaloconomos throughout the Diaspora because it is confused with the initial surname Oeconomos (Conomos) which is also widespredd all over Greece inclunding Kythera and in the Greek Diaspora.
This is in brief the history of the Kytherian Megaloconomos family. As for the details and for the family tree I hope that Mr Cosmas Megaloconomos, the doctor whom you met at Kythera, has sent to you all the existing details.
Please give my very best regards to your family and keep in touch.
May Panagia Myrtidiotissa be with all of your.
ex Mayor of Kythera
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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