2011 Scholarship Recipient

Efstratios Jon "Yianni" Magoulias

My Family’s History on Kythera

     Nikoletta Kouraniotis, a young girl from the island of Kythera, boarded a ship and made her way to the United States.  She was meeting up with a young man by the name of Chris Poulogiannis in Bakersfield, California whom she would marry in 1920.  Nikoletta was born in Greece, on the island of Kythera, in the village of Agia Pelagia.  Her parents were Gregory Kouraniotis, who was born in Chios, and Stavroula Megaeconomou, who was born in Agia Anastasia, Kythera.  When Gregory passed away, Nikoletta and Chris paid to bring her mother and sister from Kythera to Bakersfield.  Nikoletta gave birth to my “papou”, who they named Gregory.  After returning from World War II, he shortened the last name Poulogiannis to Poloynis.  After marrying Mary Tassopoulos, she gave birth to my uncle (Chris), aunt (Nikki), and mother (Georgia). 

     Like many others who left Greece at the early 1900’s, Nikoletta was attempting to escape the many hardships that affected the country.  She refused to talk about the suffering and poverty her family went through.   Sadly, this portion of our history has been lost, but Nikoletta battled through these challenges and made it to America to create a new history for herself.

In the 1960’s, my Great, Great Uncle, Fr. Meletios Galanopoulos (my father’s side) was ordained the Metropolitan of Kythera.  Fr. Meletios had written several books on Orthodoxy and had been given the title “Archimandrite”.  He served the Greek Orthodox churches on the island for approximately 10 years.  Before moving to Kythera, he was detained in the Dachau concentration camp in Nazi Germany.  Although he had be beaten and tortured, he was released and ordained the Metropolitan of Kythera.

Su   © KSOCA 2012