The Dutch on Kythira in the 1960’s, why?


*στα Ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ


The late bishop Meletios Galanopoulos (RIP 1972) issued in 1956 a request for technical assistance” to the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva to improve living conditions in his diocese. Hereupon the WCC office Geneva issued this request to associated WCC offices. The request arrived also in the Netherlands. In 1959 mr J.M. Koksma, civil and architectural engineer, arrived from the Netherlands at Kythera for an investigation, for a “community development” of the island. Hereby George Koksma’s hand written notes of the first five days of his investigation visit to Kythera in July 1959.


“A summary of His Grace the Bishop’s wishes and schemes:

1 Reforestation. Growing of olive trees, carob trees, almond trees and other species.

2 Increase the number of domestic animals, like cows, goats, sheep, rabbits, pigs and poultry. In this way more food will be available for the population.

3 Intensification of the Karavas agricultural school. Establish a model form at Myrtidia.

4 Establish a central cooperative agricultural machine park at Agios Theodoros, Pitsinades, to be run by farmers of the island. And to be used for cultivation of unused land, for instance the properties of Kytherians who left the island long ago. Property of the Church (a considerable amount) and areas left behind by the English occupants (1812-1864). A future revenue from these properties could be used for a further development of the island. In case an emigrant returns to Kythera and finds his property flourishing, His Grace is of the opinion that a certain arrangement should be made with the emigrant, for instance the cooperation still will get 25 to 30% of the earnings of this property.

5 Irrigation” 


*The impressive work and ideas of bishop Meletios Galanopoulos in Kythira are still recognized until today. In September 2023 a tribute was organized at the Panagia Myrtidiotissa. And to honor the bishop forever, a buste was unveiled.

Click here for the speech

Click here for the video of the unveiling



Dutch on Kythira
Bishop Meletios search for water in 1961


George Koksma forwarded a report to the World Council of Churches in Geneva. But not without a number of important personal wishes.

“My wife and I we will be at your disposal for a period of at least 12 to 15 years if you are able and willing to leave Kythera to our care. I think that most of your conditions are known to us and accepted, but we would like to ask your attention for some extra wishes:

  • A jeep for carrying us and our eventual collaborators everywhere over the island
  • A house to live in and permission to carry some of necessary furniture with us, but certainly my piano.”

 And so was agreed with Geneva, winter 1960.


Click here to read about the World Council of Churches Team for Kythira

Read here the report of the World Council of Churches in 1969, Ecumenical Team Greece 


Dutch on Kythira
Bishop Meletios with mrs. & mr. Koksma

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