The villages of Parnonas were Christianized around the 9th century and out of excessive respect many added the word Agios to their name, such as Agios Ioannis, Agios Petros, Agios Nikolaos, Agios Andreas, Agios Vassilios, Agioi Asomatoi, Agios Paneos Agios , Kosmas and filled the place with churches and monasteries. They also called many sites “holy”. For this reason Parnonas was also named “Mount Athos” of Southern Greece.
Agios Ioannis (Agiannis) before the revolution of 1821 had a total of 16 churches along with the chapels around the village, this says something about the respect of the inhabitants and the prosperity of the village for many years.
The church of Agios Georgios is a post-Byzantine church located in the central square of Agiannis, with the big plane tree. The church celebrates every year on April 23 on the feast of St. George the Trophy Bearer or on Easter Monday (if Easter falls after April 23).
In 1982 the church was designated by a decision of the Ministry of Education and Science as a “Historical Preserved Monument”, while it was designated as a “Post-Byzantine monument”.
According to many researchers, the church of Agios Georgios was built during the 14th – 15th century, ie it is modern or a little older than the church of Prodromos. However, some others consider the church much older, due to the style of the paintings inside.
The church was originally a chapel of the village, the village was for many years lower, in Soulinari and Prodromos. The houses of Agiannis timidly began to ascend in Sarantapsychos to the church of Agios Georgios about 250 years ago and more after 1940 with the opening of the Astros-Tripoli highway.
Agiannis was the capital of Greece of the Provisional Government of the Revolution, from August 15 to October 1 and “the Soulinari neighborhood was the metropolis of Agiannis”.
The church of Agios Vassilios was a large church which was located at the bottom of the village and specifically at the place of Matthew and near the source of Soulinari. The church, which was the metropolis of the church, was completely destroyed in 1826 and in its place today has been erected a simple shrine… .. “The church together with its surrounding area were the metropolis of the village, as we see that in the surrounding area there are many mansions of important Agiannites (such as those of Perros, Sarigiannis, Matthew etc. (of the Zafeiropoula brothers)) and various churches (Agios Efstratios and Agios Petros) ”
The church of Agios Georgios was burned twice by the Turkish conquerors in 1687 and 1826 and survived due to its stone construction, unlike the other churches of Agiannis that were completely destroyed by Ibrahim in 1826. (Agios Vassilios, Agios Efstratios and ).
“In March 1687, Agios Ioannis was set on fire by the Ottomans, along with many neighboring villages such as Meligou, Kastanitsa, Korakovounika and Prastos. We are informed of this fact by the following passage: << In the month of March, 1687, Meimet Pasha came by order of Serasker Ishmael Pasha, who was in Patras, to the Tsakonians, and I did not want to take him to the villages. Saint John, Meligos, Kastanijan, Korakovouni and Praston, and great damage was done to the Christians >> »
The church has a total of 142 admirable icons inside, mainly in the lower ones the saints were “blinded” by the swords and the hatred of Ibrahim in 1826. The frescoes are probably works of the priest of Agiannitis and painter Georgios Koulidas.
Near Aigiorgis in the central square is a two-storey elongated building, with loopholes, which, according to tradition, was used as a “Government” for the establishment of the Revolutionary Government, from August 22 to October 1, 1822. This period is also confirmed by the Archives. of Lazaros and Georgios Kountouriotis (vol. AD, p. 92 ff.).
In the central square next to the church for at least three hundred years the “trikouverta” festivals and endless big dances with many rows “from all over the village” took place. The feast of Aigiorgis in Agiannis was a great festival of the area. The young people adorned with their “good” horsemen on their also adorned horses with the colored rosaries and the “mantanias” turned Aigiorgis three times, boasting and squinting at their girls and then left running ostentatiously with pride to Lainas, to return again later this time very slowly still on horseback to confirm that they were all noticed.
The women, mainly the young ones adorned with their goodies and others, started dancing jumping, like descendants of Paianas and Dionysus, singing in a large line the dithyramb “the song of Lambros” also boasting ostentatiously “to turn Aigiorgi” and at the end to begin the big dance in the square, “where the whole village danced” and the barba Panos Katsianos with the clarinet, cleverly encouraged with the air “we sell them The other organ players to play non-stop for “the world to dance”.
“Forty-two thieves are chasing Lambros and Lambro, out of fear of Aigiorgi, goes to bed. My Saint George, I escape with the hands of the Thieves. To bring liters of candle and incense of frankincense with the buffalo to carry the oil “
On the three sides of the temple there is the famous “terrace” where the “men” sat in front of the chairs, when they went to the square for fun and gossip. In the “terrace” of Aigiorgis the lords of the village met for many years and in 1822 the officials of the provisional Government of Greece. Later, next to the “terrace” in the summers under the mulberries the “Athenian” holidaymakers Agiannites and the “Tsiopeloi” from Astros, with the white shirts and the mangoes, in the chairs of the cafe “To trick” played backgammon, kolitsina, dry, prefa, kumkan and squared the circle with endless “stories” such as “I want the same herring” and the “goat with the violin” in Katsoulis the mulberry. In the 1950s, kumkan was banned from gambling, but Agiannis or “little Paris” was “free Greece” because he had replaced the police with the excuse for a joke of Agiannites “Policeman” Loufolias with the loan cap of a gendarme without in Korona, there was no police in Agiannis. Besides, the Agiannites students of the Karytsiotis school were devoted to their gambling activities from 1824.
“During the years of the Revolution of 1821, the school operated with difficulties. According to a letter from the representative of the Ministry of Religion on July 20, 1824, the students of the School “instead of going to study”…. τοῦτο ἐταράχθη και ἐφριξεν! ». Thus, the Ministry, learning about the situation of the School, issued an aphorism to the students.
Since we mentioned mangoes and white shirts above, let us clarify. In “Little Paris”, Agianni, in the 1960s, many “Athenian” Agiannites and the Astrian “tsiopeli” came to spend their holidays. The people of Agianni also had a love for letters for hundreds of years and many young people were educated and also came to vacation in “little Paris”. Almost everyone wore white shirts and most had mangoes “ostensibly to represent the villagers” with the pegs. The graphic “madman of the village” and “policeman” of Loufolia called them, among other things, white shirts. At that time, they used to say in “little Paris” for fun, characteristically, “if you throw a mangoura, you will hit ten white-shirted teachers”.
Opposite Aigiorgis is the large plane tree that had the big, eloquent and very strong bell that called the people of Agianni to Aigiorgis for hundreds of years, which broke strangely recently.
Σμαράγδης Ι. Αρβανίτη – Μελέτες Βυζαντινής και Μεταβυζαντινής Αρχαιολογίας και Τέχνης προς τιμήν της καθηγήτριας Ελένης Δεληγιάννη-Δωρή. Ο μεταβυζαντινός ναός του Αγίου Γεωργίου στον Άγιο Ιωάννη Κυνουρίας συνοπτική παρουσίαση του μνημείου και του εικονογραφικού προγράμματος, Αθήνα 2010