History of Agios Georgios Sikousis, Now in English

The village of Agios Georgios Sikousis, Chios, viewed from Agios Isidoros, 1937. Photo: The St. George Sikousis Syllogos website

The Village Agios Georgios Sikousis by Pantelis A. Mavrogiorgis, originally published in Greek in 1990, is now available in a new English translation by Hope Delane Demertzis and Efstratios Demertzis, published to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the founding of the village in 2018. The St. George Sikousis Syllogos and its predecessor organization, the Agios Georgios Sikousis Society, was the patron and original driving force behind the publication of the book.

The book chronicles the history of the village on Chios in great detail. Historic photographs highlight the story and the unique experience of the people who call the village home. Not only is the book a wonderful resource for those who hail from the village or have roots there, the book is also a treasure trove of Greek history, culture, and traditions for all those interested in history.

The major historical events over the centuries left their indelible mark on this village as they did so many others. The section on the Revolution of 1821 is particularly fascinating as it details the Massacre of Chios and includes accounts by eyewitnesses to the events which led to the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. The names of the Agiorgousoi who were killed in the wars of the first half of the 20th century are also recorded in the book, and are a poignant reminder of the sacrifice so many made.

The traditional way of life in the village is also described in detail, including the houses, farm work, homemaker’s responsibilities, and vanished occupations. The production of mastic, figs, raki, wine, and olive oil are also described, bringing the village to life.

Other chapters in the book detail the religious life of the village and a list of its chapels is included. The story of St. George, the patron saint of Agios Georgios Sikousis, is also in the book.

The Village Agios Georgios Sikousis by Pantelis A. Mavrogiorgis. Photo: Amazon

Though the history ends in 1990, Mavrogiorgis’ work and attention to detail will undoubtedly inspire other scholars to pick up where he left off and continue the story of the village. His personal recollections and the historic accounts add rich insights and a level of depth to the text. The lyrics to local folk songs and excerpts from marriage contracts setting out the parameters of the dowry help recreate the village for those of us in the United States or elsewhere living abroad. A bibliography with the sources used in the book is also very helpful for those who would like to read them perhaps out of curiosity or for further research on the subject.

A book launch for The Village Agios Georgios Sikousis by Pantelis A. Mavrogiorgis takes place on October 7, 2 PM, at the Chian Federation, 4401 Broadway in Astoria. The event is sponsored by the St. George Sikousis Syllogos and will be followed by the Sikousis General Assembly Meeting at 3 PM. Wine and cheese will be served at the book launch which also celebrates the e-book release in Kindle format, available on Amazon.

The Village Agios Georgios Sikousis by Pantelis A. Mavrogiorgis is available on Amazon and will also be available for sale at the book launch and at the 500th Anniversary of Agios Georgios Sikousis Gala on November 24 at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ.

More information about the 500th Anniversary Gala is available online: Sikousis.org/500.