News - Kythera Nursing Home Kassimateion

Address by Dr Nicholas P. Glytsos
Secretary General of Trifylleion Foundation
At the Nursing Home for the Aged
Potamos Kythera
[Delivered during the unveiling of an honorary plaque for benefactors and the award of honorary titles for benefactors and donors]

Your Eminence the Metropolitan Bishop,
Mr. Mayor,
Representatives of Kytherian Authorities,
Representatives of the Kytherian Associations,
Dear inmates,
Fellow Kytherians and Philo-Kytherians,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Tonight is a great night for the Trifylleion Foundation and the Nursing Home. The time has come for expressing their gratitude by honoring all those Kytherians and Philo-Kytherians, motivated by a sense of solidarity and help for an Institute that provides high caliber care and relief to tens of aged Kytherians, hundreds during its existence, a model of good organization and effective operation. It is also an important night for the relatives of the late benefactors and donors and for those in life with us this evening. They see that the donations of their relatives or of them are recognized, not being considered only as momentary financial contributions or property transfers and then forgotten together with the benefactors themselves. On the contrary, all the contributors are appreciated and are proclaimed as constant values with a permanent presence and moral affirmation in the Institute that they benefited. This will hopefully make them proud for their gesture. I am sure that the souls of the deceased benefactors rejoice at this moment up there in heavens.  

Kythera has a long history of benefaction and a large number of small and great benefactors, mainly among the Kytherian Diaspora, but also among the Kytherians in the country. These people with their generosity managed to create on the island all social institutes and facilities, including the Kythera High School building, the Hospital and the Nursing Home for the Aged, but also others in the more distant past. Some of them, such as the Kythera High School would come much later in time with undesirable consequences for the education of perhaps several generations of Kytherians, while others, such as the Hospital or the Nursing Home would perhaps have never been created, with dramatic consequences for the health and the care of people even today.

And naturally, without the generosity of Nikolaos Trifyllis, who was honored a few days ago by all Kytherian Associations, and others that followed him, we wouldn’t ever have had the Trifylleion Foundation, which, after the hospital became public, supports other charitable projects and activities in Kythera, with first priority the Nursing Home, whose management belongs to the Foundation.

 These achievements show the utmost importance of the social contribution of Kytherians from all over the world. Today, that Greece is undergoing a very difficult phase in its modern history, unable to satisfy even basic needs of its people, Institutions such as our Nursing Home, relying exclusively on the private initiative, owe to be able to preserve their existence and keep the services they offer at a high level, as this is expected from a civilized society. We believe that we have managed so far to achieve this, certainly with the help of the benefactors and donors that we honor tonight.

As many of you know, the income of the Nursing Home comes: 1) from the contributions of the inmates, covering only a small proportion of the actual cost of their subsistence, 2) from the rents of the donated real estate, 3) from the donations in cash and kind, and 4) from the subsidy by the Trifylleion Foundation, which as I mentioned above, is the manager of the Nursing Home.

However, because of the economic crisis, the flows from all these sources of revenue are limited. The economic recession has deeply affected the income from the real estate of both the Nursing Home and the Foundation, which can hardly cover their increasing costs, particularly as the result of the heavy taxation imposed lately on charity institutions. This has, in fact, created a “black hole” – a term that in the years of the crisis is included in our everyday vocabulary- meaning a shortage in the budget of the Nursing Home. You can understand that, under the current economic conditions, this black hole may become shallower and more easily manageable with the generosity of the benefactors and donators that is currently more necessary than ever before, but unfortunately it is waned lately.

Let me ask now who are really all these benefactors and donors that up to now have helped the Nursing Home and kept it running at a high quality level? You are all those no longer living - I am addressing you directly to second person, for I am sure that you are tonight present in our hearts and our minds- who have contributed in the past, but I am also addressing you in life that have helped and will continue to help the Nursing Home. You are men and women coming from all social and economic strata of the population, with high or no positions, less or more educated. You are simple breadwinners, housewives, office workers, government officials, businessmen, scientists, university professors and others. Most of you or your ancestors started from this beautiful place, that our island is, mainly poor but with dreams and noble ambitions to succeed economically and to elevate socially, either in Greece or abroad.

Some of you succeeded more others less. What you all managed to do, however, is to keep lit the flame of love and nostalgia for the island and the intense desire to do something for you Tsirigo, particularly when it is needed, contributing according to your financial possibilities, or even occasionally disproportionally to them, some of you bequeathing even your entire fortune  to the Nursing Home. Those of you who are not from this land, have not “missed the boat of line”, as the song goes, but found it and  you have been caught into the trap (Dokano) - set somewhere at the centre of the island for capturing the passersby- using as bait the beauties, the mythology, the history and the civilization of our Tsirigo. You came to love the island and you have put roots here. Rightly we call you “Philo-Kytherians (friends of Kythera) because you don’t miss the chance to honor this title by helping the island and the Nursing Home.

Finally, all of you who belong to the local Kytherian community, the Metropolis and His Eminence our Bishop, the Municipality and the municipal authorities, the Hospital and the medical and other personnel, but also groups of people, such as the “Society of the Kytherian Ladies”- to be honored tonight with a special plaque for their lengthy, multifaceted and uninterrupted offer at the Nursing Home-but also every individual Kytherian on the island who contributes, one way or another, much or little,  for the comfortable living and entertainment of the housemates of this hospitable home. And you, the respected compatriots living in this house can see how many people and how eagerly think of you and care for you.  

At this point, I want to emphasize that all contributions regardless of the amount and type are welcomed, valuable, properly acknowledged and useful, for even small contributions of a few Euros become large when the contributors are many.

All of you benefactors and donors - those no longer in life and those living –make up an island of people filled with feelings of altruism and social solidarity in the middle of an ocean of a society dominated by egocentric and indifferent individuals. For what you are and for what you have done and continue to do with your invaluable contributions to the Nursing Home, and by implication for Kythera and the Kytherians, we bow in front of you humbly with great respect and immense gratitude. You have transmuted the Christian saying “love thy neighbor” into tangible solidarity for the fellow Kytherian, and perhaps relative, who because of the aging is found in a psychologically vulnerable and physiologically fragile health and has a great need of human warmth and care.

As a small tribute, gratitude and sincere practical recognition of all benefactors and donors, the Board of Directors of the Trifylleion Foundation decided one year ago, last August, at this very spot, in a common session with the Local Committee of the Nursing Home, to honor heretofore all of you benefactors and donors of both the Nursing Home and the Foundation. For this reason, the decision was taken to open a “Register of Benefactors and Donors”; to post an honorary plaque with the names of the benefactors on it and to award personal honorary plaques to the benefactors and honorary diplomas to the donors, and generally to acknowledge properly, publishing in the local press and the Foundation’s website all donations no matter how small or how large they are.

We like to believe that this pragmatic public recognition and moral reward of your social offering would instill the conviction that your contributions are not forgotten, but appreciated and put to good use. This could be exemplary and mobilize those who wish to imitate you and continue your heavenly, useful and vital charity, keeping the tradition of benefaction alive.

One year later, tonight, we implement the Board of Directors’ decision for the Nursing Home and, sometime in the future, we will do the same for the benefactors and donors of the Foundation per se.

In conclusion, all of you Kytherians and non-Kytherians who have contributed and continue to support the Nursing Home, in any way and from any point of the earth, regardless from the size of your contributions, the Trifylleion Foundation and the Nursing Home, and I am sure, all Kytherians, express their gratitude, their thanks and they honor you today and forever.

Thank you for listening.

Athens, 5 June 2013

Dear Mr Kypriotis,

The Board of Directors of the Trifylleio Foundation acknowledges the receipt of your generous donation of 18,000 Australian dollars (deposited in the Girokomeio’s bank account in Potamos as 12,780 Euros) for the support of the Kythera Nursing Home Kassimateion. We are very grateful to you, the Kytherian Association of Australia and all the contributors for your help at a very difficult time for the Nursing Home. The Australian Kytherians showed once again their care and their love for our Tsirigo and the needy fellow Kytherians. This money will be used for the relief of the bedridden elderly (about half of all the residents), replacing part of the old timeworn common beds and mattresses with flexible and adjustable ones, suitable for the condition of these patients.

With this donated amount, the Kytherian Association of Australia is now placed on the Girokomeio’s official register of Benefactors and Donors with the status of “Donors”.

Thank you very much.

For the Board of Directors

The President                       The Secretary General

Dr Emmanuel G. Kalokairinos         Dr Nicholas P. Glytsos