To read older blog posts, click the links on the left of this page

2018 Panigyri Highlights

Panigyri 2018 Review

Kytherian Society of California

Panigyri of the Myrtidiotissa

August 26, 2018

10:00 a.m. -  Church Services & Artoklasia

12:00 p.m. - Luncheon

Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church

20104 Center Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546

The beautiful Artos was prepared by Fawaz Khanachet.

Many thanks to Fawaz for preparing this wonderful bread each year.

This year for the first time ever, 

board member Cynthia Cavalenes-Jarvis 

live-stremed our luncheon on 


Just CLICK the blue FACEBOOK LIVE links 

to see different portions of the program.

If you are NOT on FACEBOOK, you can still tune-in by 

clicking   the “not now” arrow on the screen that pops us.

FACEBOOK LIVE -  Social Hour

Dance Performance

Following church services & Artoklasia, our Panigyri began with a wonderful performance by the Resurrection Greek Dance group, Nea Arxi, who were the FDF First Place winners in the Advanced Junior   category. Among those dancing were two of our very own young Kytherians, Alex and Mary Holton, grandchildren of Connie and Fawaz Khanachet.

FACEBOOK LIVE - Dance Performance

Welcome and Opening Prayer

After the dance performance all stood for the opening prayer,  and a moment of silence in honor of those who have passed, followed by a wonderful lunch prepared by Chef Yanni Varelas.





After lunch Vikki Vrettos Fraioli began the program with an introduction of Officers, Board Members and our new Sunshine Chairperson, Joanne Kavalaris.


We memorialized two long-standing members who passed away this year: Penelope Conomos, who passed away just two weeks shy of her 108th birthday, and John Sofios.

Chrys Conomos came to the podium and shared memories of Penelope’s wonderful life.

Eternal be their memory….

Visitors to Kythera 2018

Vikki shared photos of several of our members whose families went to Kythera this summer. 


Richard and Mary Lind and Family


 Julie and Gavin Reid and Family
(Daughter of Connie and Fawaz Khanachet)


Athan and Christine Zes and Family
(Son of Tikey and Teddi Zes)


Julia Moore
(Granddaughter of Dr. Pan Coukoulis 
and last years scholarship recipient)

Monument Unveiling

On July 8, 2018, at the Alexandros Aristotelos Onassis Airport in Kythera, they had the unveiling of the Alexandros Aristotelos Onassis statue and monument commissioned by George Hatziplis in memory of his late wife Helen, who passed away in 2009.

Kytherian Genealogy

 Vikki discussed the progress that has been made by the  Kytherian Genealogy Club in translating Kytherian records and creating a huge family tree for the Potamos District. She shared several family trees, revealing photos and information those families have submitted. Amalia adds these photos and information to genealogical history discovered in birth, baptism, marriage, and death  certificates. 

In many cases, the report will go back at least one generation prior to the family that was submitted. Often people are surprised to discover additional people on their tree that they were unaware of, including photos of those people submitted by other Kytherians. 

Vikki shared several examples of family trees illustrating how many of the California Kytherians are related.  

Cominos Family Tree

Several descendants of the Nicholas Cominos (Vlastaras) family were in attendance including  his great great granddaughter Anya.

Many thanks to Marie Cominos and family for submitting photos.

Megaloconomos (Conomos) Family Tree

Several descendants of Theodoros Megaloconomos were in attendance including his great great great granddaughter Angelica!

Many thanks to Chrys Conomos and Alexa Conomos Anderson for submitting photos.

This tree revealed that the Alfieris’ are 7th cousins with the Conomos’! 

A few more examples were shown  to illustrate how important and rewarding it is to get involved in this project. If you haven’t done so already, please dig through those old boxes and send your photos to:

Kytherian Youth Tour

A committee will be formed to work on plans to initiate a Kytherian Youth Tour. KSOCA board member, Richard Lind, shared ideas that were discussed with Sydney Kytherians, George Poulos and James Prineas, while he was in Kythera this summer. Below is one example that was put forth by the Kytherians in Sydney. Members will be updated on the progress of this plan.

Medical Supplies to Kythera Project

Excellent progress has been made on this project that will send $650,000 worth of medical supplies to Kythera. The IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) gathers the supplies, the KSOCA pays AHEPA National for the cost to ship the container (approximately $20,000.00), and the container is shipped to Kythera. The KSOCA has received over $15,500.00 in pledges and donations at this time so $4,500.00 is still needed. The KSOCA will set up a GoFundMe campaign to collect the remainder of the funds. A representative from the IOCC is working directly with the hospital representative in Kythera.


The Kytherian Society of California has provided scholarships for students in the amount of $11,500 since 2004! At this year’s lumcheon we awarded two additional scholarships making it a grand total or $14,500 in scholarship awards!

This year members contributed an additional $452.00 to the Anastasia Conomos Condas Scholarship Fund.

Many many thanks to all who continually donate to this important fund every year.

Please encourage your qualifying students to apply for our scholarship by July 1 of each year.

Recording Secretary and Scholarship Chairman, Melissa Neofes-Mischak, presented certificates to this years scholarship winners: Rachel Larsen and Marek Pearse. Melissa shared just a small portion of their essays to the group before each one was invited to come forth to receive their scholarships. Congratulations to Rachel and Marek!

You can read their essays by clicking the links below:

Rachel Angelus Larsen

Marek Pearse

Honarary Kytherian Award

Vice-president, Elaine Moulos, presented the Honorary Kytherian Award to Andrew Sam Mousalimas. Andy has always been a supporter of the KSOCA and has many close family ties with his Kytherian Cominos cousins. 
Andy shared some of his experiences with Co C 2671 Special Reconnaissance Battalion  Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Greek US Operational Group, World War II, the predecessor of the CIA.

In March, a group of World War II veterans, including Andy, were awarded  the Congressional Gold Medal for their efforts in the OSS. The medal is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Congress. Many thanks to Andy for his service to our county!

Mousalimas now 90 something years old has written his memoirs of his WWII service. The fascinating book offers insights into the top secret missions in Greece and elsewhere in Europe that helped defeat the Nazis.

The book, entitled Memoirs, offers a unique look into the day to day experience of these extraordinary young men who served in the Greek U.S. Operational Group (USOG) created by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) the precursor of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The opening is powerful with Mousalimas and his childhood friends in the choir at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Oakland, CA when they heard rumors that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor on that Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, one day after Mousalimas’ 17th birthday. Most of the community’s young men, ages 14 and older, who were in church that day, Mousalimas noted, either volunteered or were drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces.

The National Herald, September 10, 2018

Watch Andy’s Presentation on YouTube by clicking below

FACEBOOK LIVE - Andy Mousalimas

John Carvounnis Memorial Raffle

Our Panigyri concluded with our famous John Carvounnis Memorial Raffle. Many thanks to all those who donated prizes. 

See you all again next year!



2018 Kythera Summer Edition

This year’s newspaper features a a beautifully drawn map by artist Daphne Petrochilos

Panigyri 2018

Kytherian Society of California

Panigyri of the Myrtidiotissa

August 26, 2018

10:00 a.m. -  Church Services & Artoklasia

12:00 p.m. - Luncheon

Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church

20104 Center Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546

Menu Selections:

Greek Style Chicken with Olive Oil, Lemon and Oregano

Greek  Lamb Shank with Orzo

Grilled Salmon with Lemon & Butter

Pasta Primavera (Vegetarian)

Salad, Spanakopita, & Dessert - Galaktobouriko

Coffee, Tea or Iced Tea

$39 per person

$15 Children 12 & Under - Chicken Strips

 For more information contact:

Elaine Moulos

Vikki Vrettos Fraioli

Bring a bottle of wine to share with your table!

Please donate a prize or gift basket for our annual Raffle! 

Complete and mail your reservation form by September 22, 2017

BRING a FRIEND to help the KSOCA grow!

Click to view:

Panigyri Flyer

Panigyri Reservation Form

Eternal Be His Memory...

John Harry Sofios

May 14, 1937 - April 9, 2018

The KSOCA is deeply saddened by the loss of fellow Kytherian John "Yiannis” Sofios. John passed away on April 9, 2018.  Johns family was from Logothetianika, Kythera. Many may recall in the early 1970s John and his brother Ted opened O Aetos Taverna in the former post office in Berkeley where they taught Greek dance lessons.

John was a kind soul who will always be remembered by his infectious smile and hearty laugh. He will be dearly missed by all.

Chapel of the Chimes Obituary

John was born on May 14, 1937 and passed away on Monday, April 9, 2018. John was a resident of Antioch, California at the time of passing. Upon returning from Germany after serving in the U.S. Army, he began his career working for the East Bay Regional Park District.

In liew of flowers the Sofios family is requesting donations to dedicate a commemorative bench in honor of John at 

Briones Regional Park.

Contributions may be made via the link below:

Services for John will be at: 

Chapel of the Chimes

 4499 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA

Visitation: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 4-7pm

Celebration of Life Funeral Service: Wednesday, April 18, 2018,  1pm 

May His Memory Be Eternal

IMG 6521

John and his daughter Nicole at the 

Archaeology of Kythera Event, January 2016

IMG 0061

Kay, John and Nicole at the

2008 Greek Independence Day Parade in San Francisco


Kytherian Gatherng at Yfantis home in 2007


John, Terry, Kay and Vikki

 in front of the Sofios home in Logothetianika 2006





Kytherian Society of California

Panigyri of the Myrtidiotissa

August 26, 2018

10:00 a.m. -  Church Services & Artoklasia

12:00 p.m. - Luncheon

Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church

20104 Center Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546


Eternal Be Her Memory...

Penelope John Conomos

March 25, 1910 - March 11, 2018

Our cherished matriarch Penelope John Conomos, beloved mother, treasured wife, doting grandmother, adored great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, and the eighth wonder of the world, passed away with loved ones by her side on March 11, 2018 just two weeks shy of her 108th birthday. To her family, she was simply revered as "Yiayia."

Yiayia was born across the seas in the village of Agia Anastasia on the island of Kythera in Greece on March 25th, 1910. The youngest child of proud peasants Stamati and Damiani Vernardou, her education came to an abrupt end at the age of 9 when her family could no longer afford shoes. So Yiayia spent the remainder of her childhood tending to the livestock and olive orchards.

In 1931, she married John Alex Conomos, a former Greek soldier who fought against the Axis in WWI. After welcoming their first child, the young family sailed for America in what would be a life changing journey. 

After emigrating, Yiayia's life became one of sacrifice, faith, and endurance. She worked diligently to adapt to American culture while still honoring the traditions of her homeland. After welcoming three more children, she instilled in them a deep appreciation for the value of education. She beamed when they earned their own advanced degrees. And after her children married, she celebrated the reaffirmation of life when new grandchildren were born. 

But her life was also one of great loss. Separated from her family in Greece and widowed at the age of 47, she remained eternally faithful to the memory of her husband for 70 years. And ultimately, she outlived three of her four children. Yet she met each tribulation with her usual grit and beautiful grace. She was fond of saying "such is the life" and believed that life was always to be celebrated despite its imperfections. Living on her own until the end, she never stopped tending to her garden, never ceased to laugh, and never met a "Whopper" she didn't like. In her unfailing wisdom, she knew that the simplest things in life yielded the greatest joy.

She is survived by her devoted daughter, Chrysanthy, and loving grandchildren Diana Prendergast, Penelope Condas, Penelope Benis, John Conomos, and Alexa Anderson, thirteen great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.
Yiayia is now reunited in eternal peace with her beloved husband, John A. Conomos, and her cherished children Damiani Conomos, Anastasia Condas, and Tasso John Conomos.

Family and friends are invited to attend a Trisagion Service Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 7:00 P.M. at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 1260 Davis Street, San Jose. Funeral Service Friday, March 16, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. at the above Church. Interment to follow at Mission City Memorial Park.Remembrances may be made in Penelope's name St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church ( or to the Kytherian Society of California ( 

You can also read about the life journey of Penelope Conomos at www.alexaconomos108.blogspot. com.


Penelope is also listed under our Notable Kytherians on this site:

Giagia’s Journey

A Photo Journal of the life of  

Penelope Benardos Conomos

2017 Panigyri Review


Another wonderful Panigyri has come and gone! 

Church Services

The Divine Litergy was celebrated by Fr. Niko Bekris at Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church.  


Artoklasia and Memorial Services followed in memory of: 

Sophia & George Paris, Evelyn Pavlou, Peter Notaras,
Andrew G. Saffas, Tasso John Conomos and Alexis Maria Keramaris



Our luncheon followed with President Katherine Stathis  welcoming everyone. 


Marcello Souza offered the opening prayer.



Chef Yianni Varelis prepared a delicious selecion of entrees: 
Greek Style Chicken with Olive Oil, Lemon and Oregano
Greek  Lamb Shank with Orzo
Grilled Salmon with Lemon & Butter
Pasta Primavera
Salad, Spanakopita, & Dessert - Galaktoboureko
Coffee, Tea or Iced Tea



Various souvenirs from Kythera were available for purchase at the Agora.

Kythera News

Kythera News

Vikki Fraioli shared news from Kythera. 

The biggest news was the devastating results from the fire on Kythera in August that burned out of control for several days. 

Photos from web blogs and Facebook were shared.

screenshot 3031




An Island Named Desire

Shooting for the sequel to Kythera Mon Amour, "An Island Named Desire" took place on the island this summer. 

We  all look forward to seeing it when it is releaseed early next year.


Popi Coroneos getting dolled up for her shoot at the 

August 15 Panigyri in Potamos


James Prineas making preparations for the shoot.


Jamie Fraioli sitting with film star Popi Coroneos


Ready, Set, Shoot…..on the Platia in Potamos. Let the dancing begin!


Vikki Fraioli encouraged members to submit photos and info on their relatives for the Potamos Book Project. Don’t be left out of the book!


Although they were unable to attend the Panigyri this year, members and friends celebrated Tikey and Penelope’s birthdays! 

Xronia Polla and many many more!


Vikki encouraged everyone to take a look at the Notable Kytherians section of the KSOCA Website! We have added the wonderful biograhical blog of Alexa Conomos as she takes us on “Giagia’s Journey,” A Photo Journal of the Life of Penelope Benardos Conomos.


Anastasia Conomos Condas Scholarship

Our scholarshp recipient this year was Julia Moore, granddaughter of long time member Panagiotis (Pan) Coukoulis.

Julie wrote a wonderful essay about the life of her grandfather that you can read on her scholarship page.

She was unable to attend the luncheon to accept her award, but submited a thank you letter that can be read on her page.



This year we mourned the loss of so many of our dear friends. After a moment of silence, family members or friends offered a few words about their loved ones. May their memory be eternal.

Hospital Supples Project

Ted Leonis shared some news about the hospital supplies project. In short, the AHEPA along with the IOCC will send a container $650,000 worth of hospital supplies to Kythera if we are able to raise the funds to send that container over. Ted has already retained pledges for about $1000. We would need to raise aproximately $18,000 to send the container. Carol Notaras graciously pledged an additional $5000 to go toward that fund! We can not begin to thank her enough for her generous offer.

Ted is now working with a representative of the hospital in Kythera to determine what supplies they are in need of.


The Panigyri ended with our annual raffle where everyone is a winner!

IMG 7136

Fr. Nikos Bekris offered the closing Prayer.

Panigyri Highlights Video by Ted Zamenes

 For more photos of the 2017 Panigyri Click Here

Alexis Maria Keramaris

1991 - 2017

The Kytherian Society mourns the tragic loss of Alexis Keramaris.

May her memory be eternal . . .

Alexis Maria Keramaris was born Oct 20, 1991 in Santa Barbara to Nick Keramaris and Terry Chlentzos.  She attended Peabody Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High, and graduated in 2009 from Santa Barbara High School, where she participated in the Visual Arts and Design Academy. As a People to People student ambassador, Alexis visited England, France, and Belgium during her high school years.  Alexis participated in Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church throughout her school years, and took part in Greek Folk Dance Federation yearly events.

Alexis was a talented artist, and participated in a pre-college program at the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston.  While attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she fell in love with printmaking and pursued studies in Lithography.  Alexis spent a semester studying art at the Complutense University in Madrid during her junior year in college, a dream made possible by receiving the PanHellenic Scholarship.  Alexis graduated from SAIC in 2014.

Her art was elaborate, passionate, and fiery, an unspoken expression of her sweet and troubled soul.  Alexis found life difficult and complicated, often struggling to fit in.  Her true friends gave Alexis the freedom to be herself, and then she was able to shine.   Because of her own struggles with mental illness and subsequent substance abuse, Alexis had plans to attend graduate school to become an art therapist.  Alexis always maintained that substance abuse was related to mental health, and really wanted to pursue studies combining the two fields.  Unfortunately, Alexis’ life was tragically ended by an accidental overdose on September 3, 2017.   

Alexis leaves behind her mother and stepfather, Terry Chlentzos–Panages and Tom Panages of Sacramento; father, Nick Keramaris of Athens, Greece; aunt Effie Keramari of Athens; and stepbrothers Tommy, Anthony, and Alex Panages of Sacramento. 

Trisagion Service will take place on Tuesday, September 12 at 7:00 pm at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 600 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento CA 95816

Funeral will take place at 10:00 am on Friday, September 15 at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 1205 San Antonio Creek Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93111. Interment to follow at Santa Barbara Cemetery, followed by the Makaria (mercy meal) in the Orthodox Center.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation either to Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara:  

or to Sutter Medical Center Foundation.  For the latter, donations can be made out to “Sutter Medical Center Foundation” and mailed to Sutter Health Office of Philanthropy, PO Box 160045, Sacramento, CA 95816.  Please write “Mental Health” in memo section of the check.

Alexis will be remembered for her beautiful brown eyes, radiant smile, hearty laugh, and sensitive soul.  Rest in peace, sweet girl.  

May her memory be eternal.

2017-5-28 May Birthdays (2)

10172716 10201627232950830 8150097562443386695 n

1397888 10151935852061132 1261380838 o

20526299 10209284640861242 3556460995308255032 n


IMG 3436

Milopotamos 2008

Tasso John Conomos

1938 - 2017

The Kytherian Society mourns the loss of long time member 

Tasso John Conomos on August 9, 2017. 

Tasso John Conomos, beloved husband, cherished father, loving grandfather, and devoted son passed away peacefully with loved ones by his side on August 9, 2017. Ever gracious, he showed the courage to bow out gracefully after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. As Dad reflected in recent weeks ~ his cup was full. 

Tasso was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 1938, to proud Greek immigrant parents, John and Penelope Conomos. Raised as a first generation American with a great appreciation for higher education, Tasso was among the first in his family to attend college. Passionate about science and the great outdoors at a tender age, the one-time Sea Scout received a Bachelor of Science in Geology and earned a Masters in Marine Geology from San Jose State University, then accepted a Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution and received a Doctorate in Oceanography at the University of Washington (UW). He was later appointed to the UW Department of Oceanography research faculty before an exciting endeavor brought him and his new wife to the California Bay Area in 1969.

Tasso joined the US Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct groundbreaking research on the San Francisco Bay estuarine systems and other west coast estuaries. It was his team’s body of work that ultimately shaped San Francisco Bay environmental policy for the next 40 years. Tasso was later assigned to the role of Regional Research Hydrologist and then Administrator for Hydrologic Research for the Western Region of the USGS ~ a senior leadership position in which he thrived until his retirement in 2001. Cited for his outstanding contributions to and advocating for water-resource research, program monitoring, and identifying, recruiting, and mentoring hundreds of scientists ~ Tasso was granted the highest honor of the US Department of the Interior, the Distinguished Service Award, and honored as a world leader in the definition of estuarine processes.

And yet despite his professional success, nothing was more important to Tasso than his wife of 48 years and their three children. He enjoyed spending part of every year in the Sierras, where he indulged his seafaring soul on Lake Tahoe. And he often journeyed to his ancestral homeland of Greece to trace and to honor his family lineage on the island of Kythera. A jack of all trades, Tasso was a master woodworker, a gourmet cook, an incredible mentor, and an esteemed friend to.. everyone. Dad never knew a stranger.

He is survived by his loving wife, Janice, son John W. Conomos (Amanda), daughters Penelope Benis (Christopher), and Alexa Anderson (Bradley), grandchildren Christopher, Alexander, and Nicholas Benis, Tasso and Basel Conomos, and Luka, Britton, and Annick Anderson. He also leaves behind his devoted mother Penelope Conomos and his loving sister Chrysanthy Conomos.

Tasso is now united in eternal rest with his revered father, John A. Conomos, and his beloved sisters Damiani Conomos and Anastasia Condas.

A Trisagion service will be held Sunday, August 13th at 7 p.m. at Church of the Holy Cross, 900 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont, California. The funeral service will also be held at Church of the Holy Cross on Monday, August 14th at 11 a.m.

Remembrances may be made in Tasso’s name to Church of the Holy Cross ( or the Kytherian Society of California (

Su   © KSOCA 2012