submitted by Trifylleio Foundation on 11.10.2006
Dr. George D. Argyropoulos
Contact, George D. Argyropoulos
The whole thing started in 1948, when this great Kythirian man, Nikolaos Trifyllis born in a little village called Trifyllianika near Potamos signed a will through which he offered the whole of his property in order to create a Philanthropic Foundation with the single aim to build a Hospital in Potamos, that could take care of all Kythirians.
One can imagine, and the older ones amongst us can surely remember, what the situation was in those years in our little island, when even for a minor health problem a patient had to leave Tsirigo, cross the sea regardless bad or good weather to reach Piraeus or Athens for medical attention. And of course one could also remember that some were just left at home to the tender but often unsuccessful care of the local doctor.
The Trifyllis example was followed by an additional number of compatriots who donated part of their property and amongst them were: Π. Πανάρετος, Μιχ. Σεμιτέκολος, Αδελφοί Κασιμάτη, Λεωνίδας Μεγαλοκονόμος κ.α.
Following Trifyllis will and to further materialize the goal of collecting the necessary funds for the whole project a Collection Committee was created, including in its members a number of prominent Kythirian personalities such as: Αρχιμανδρίτης Γαβριήλ Καλoκαιρινός, Θεόδωρος Κατράκης, Ιω. Φώτιος, Γρηγ. Π. Κασιμάτης, Κρίτων Ευστ.Δηλαβέρης, Ιω. Κοντολέων, Δημ Μαρσέλλος, Παναγιώτης Φωτεινός, Παναγιώτης Πανάρετος, Νικόλαος Καστρίσιος, Παναγιώτης Ι. Τριφύλλης, Παναγιώτης Γαβρίλης, Βασ. Μπαβέας, Θεόδωρος Αρχοντούλης και Ιω. Σ. Κασιμάτης.
The Hospital was built in a property in Potamos donated by Panagiotis Th. Panaretos. Following this, Trifyllis donated also the Syntrivani Restaurant, a most expensive property in the center of Athens in the No 5 Themistokleus street ordering, that a Foundation by the name Trifylleion Hospital of Kythira should be founded based in Athens and run by prominent Kythirians permanently residing in Athens or Piraeus, the income of which should be used for philanthropic purposes and for assisting the running of the Hospital.
The headquarters of the Trifylleion Foundation is now housed in the last two floors, 7th and 8th floor of the building constructed following the plans and supervision of Spyros Kassimatis, a dedicated Kytherian Political Engineer who has always been offering his services, without any fee, to Trifylleion and is also always ready to offer his advice whenever needed.
The Trifylleion Hospital in Potamos started working in 1956 run by the Trifylleion Foundation, and the bust of this great man Trifyllis welcomes ever since everybody entering the grounds of the Hospital.
Owing to financial difficulties to run such an expensive business the running of the Hospital was passed over to the Ministry of Health and is up to now functioning as one of the National Health Service Hospitals of the country. The Trifylleion Foundation however has never stopped caring for the Hospital and often comes along to offer financial assistance and know how especially to secure prompt provision of various equipment and also hire additional personnel necessary for the good functioning of the hospital services.
The foundation of the Old Peoples’ Home was materialized with the donation of another kytherian family, the Kassimatis brothers( Βασιλείου, Γρηγορίου, Αντωνίου και Ελένης) heirs of George Gr. Kassimatis and others such as: Λεωνίδα Π. Μεγαλοκονόμου, Κ. Μανωλάτου, Μ. Κιτσoγιαννοπούλου, Σοφίας Αρώνη, Σπύρου Σουρή, Καλ. Καστρισίου, Σοφίας Σαριγιάννη, Γεωργίου Καστρισίου, Αφων Β. Πανάρετου, Μαρ. Μαυροπούλου, Φρόσως Καρύδη, Σταμ. Ζαντιώτη, Μηνά Μυλωνόπουλου and many others too.
The construction started in 1967, was finished in 1975 and started functioning with 12 initially old aged guests. Although at the beginning, there has been some hesitation on the side of old people to come and stay in the Home, obviously owing to the traditional belief that a family should not “dump” his aged members to an impersonal institution, but look after them in their own home, however this was soon overcome. At the same time the good services and the tender care of the Home personnel towards the old was soon fully appreciated and more guests started coming to be looked after in this institution.
According to my experience and following several visits to various old people homes in Greece and abroad, and if you allow my professional view as a doctor, I can definitely state, that this is, if not the best, surely one of the best Old People’ Homes in the country, compared even to a first class hotel. And allow me also to add, that the best proof to all the above is for the visitor, who wants to inspect the section of the bedridden to trust his nose, which will surely guide him there. In the Cassimateion Old Peoples’ Home this section is cleaner than the rest.
The inmates are regularly examined by a doctor, who prescribes their medication and the local nurses look after their administration. They keep them clean and shaved and help with feeding those who need such help.
However the functioning of this so useful institution was faced with some great difficulties at the beginning due to lack of funds, that made the board of the Trifylleion to go out with open hand to seek money, organizing philanthropic functions and Collections etc. there has been some period of hard times and skepticism, as to what was going to happen. The donation of half of the Sklavion building in Brisbane made some difference. However when the difficulties seemed to be unsurpassed for the Trifylleion to acquire the other half of the building due to lack of funds a “Deus ex machina” appeared and offered the solution: George Hatziplis, a non Kythirian born, but a nationalized dedicated Kythirian lent the necessary cash and unlocked all difficulties and bought the rest of the building on behalf of the Trifylleion, which of course later paid him back and expressed our gratitude to him. His portrait overlooks the board when in session in the ceremonial board room.
At the moment the prime interest of the Trifylleion is concentrated to the well functioning of the Girokomeion but not only that. We still watch the work being done at the Hospital ready to assist when asked. Only recently we covered the expenses of the master plan for the new Hospital to be built near the Monastery of Osios Theodoros.This was done following materialization of a E.U. project with European funds, in order to expedite the beginning of construction and make sure that this will start before the end of the year 2006 and for this plan we spent 135.000 Euros.
Apart from the above mentioned targets and amongst other philanthropic objects of the Trifylleion, further assistance is forwarded regularly to the Church of Kythira, the Kythira high school, some of the primary schools too, the Chora kindergarten, the Cine Club of Kythira, the Kythiraikos Syndesmos, the Society of Kythirian studies, the Society of Kythirian University Professors, the Philharmonic Band of Potamos, the Nautical Club and others.
We also come to the support of various scientific congresses in Kythira, as the recent Panionian Congress organized by the Society of Kythirian studies, the Archeological excavations in Diakofti, the creation of a Museum for the byzantine icons etc. etc.
The property of the Trifylleion is quite large and the relevant income contributes to the support of various expenses, but I can assure you that always more are necessary.
By selling or buying property, of course with the greatest of caution, since every such move is strictly scrutinized by the Ministry of Finance, we try to make the Trifylleion Foundation transform a non particularly profitable property to a making more money one and keeping always in mind, that according to bylaws we are not permitted to take part to any commercial venture or speculate in the Stock Market.
A most interesting plan we have in mind and hope to materialize in the near future is to create a special link with the new generation of Kythirian youth in Diaspora and offer them opportunities with scholarships for parallel studies to tighten their relationship with the motherland and the mother tongue.
Finally I shall be happier when the Trifylleion Foundation site we are about to create will bring all Kythirians much closer together and always well informed up to date of what happens everywhere.
And also last but not least a special mention is due to the Anonymous Kythirian Women, who affiliated to the Trifylleion Foundation do a great job assisting in every aspect in most of our functions.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
‘Andrew’ Anargyros Vretos Fatseas
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