The development of Gythion (Marathonisi according to the medieval name) during the recent past starts with the occupation of the Passava castle in 1781 and the expansion of the borders of Mani up to Trinisa and the area over there. Then, they realized the great importance of the port and vast migration started from other areas of Mani and also from Lacedaemon and other areas in further distances. The migrations, at the 40 years that followed, up to the revolution in 1821 but also in the following decades after the foundation of the new Hellenic state are directly connected to the need to find a building place. This would be preferable to be close to the port where from the commercial activity of the general area of Laconia took place. Under these necessities social events are formed in this period which are connected to the Sacred Monastery of Agios Jeorgios in Gythion which nowadays is Agios Jeorgios, the Metropolitan cathedral of Gythion.
- The beginning of the foundation of the Monastery
The Monastery of Agios Jeorgios was the glebe of the sacred Monastery Zerbitsa, which in its turn was Stavropigian Monastery under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The devoting action of the families Grigorakis and Kalkandis who were the main donators of the land from which the monks made a living goes back to 1759 (in the appendix A the devoting action is published, as it was saved at the monastery Zerbitsa). The area of Gyhtion where the monastery was, submits to the Episcopate Karyoupoli, whereas close to Zerbitsa Monastery was the Episcopate Maltsini, in the village Melitini of Bardounohoria. These Episcopates didn’t have administrative jurisdiction to the Monasteries, the Abbots of which were appointed by the Sacred Congress of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the administrative and spiritual activities were realized after the agreement of the Patriarchate.
The reason that led to the particular action of donation is not known, it is inferred by the condition that exists in it, according to which the donators wished that the administration of the assets of the monastery is done by the abbot to appointment of whom they would agree. It seems that the passing of this jurisdiction to the Patriarchate and the Congress created safety for the handling of the donations according to the purposes for which the donation took place.
- Actions for the change of use to the land of the Monastery
From the pre-Revolutionary texts which are maintained at the files of the Sacred Monastery Zerbitsa, it is obvious that the big real estate fortune of the Monastery of Agios Jeorgios in combination to the great demand of land near the port led to attempts to offer the land without the agreement of the abbot-council. The ones who acted like that were the Metropolitan of Lacedaemon Daniel and one of the fallen Patriarchs. It seems that these actions didn’t come through until the revolution in 1821 and the monastery preserved its assets. This is realized by the will of the monk Paisios (published in the Appendix B) which gives at the same time important information about the life at Gythion in 1808.
- The developments after 1821
The ecclesiastic organization in the liberated new-Hellenic state soon ended in the foundation of the independent church of Greece which consisted of the Episcopates and the Monasteries in the geographical area of the Greek State at that time. The Monastery of Agios Jeorgios became part of the Episcopate Karyoupoli, its center was Karyoupoli in the beginning and Gythion later on. Soon it was renamed to Episcopate of Gythion in the first years of the 20th century and was united with the Episcopate Vytilo to which the Episcopates of West Mani had merged and became the Metropolis of Gythion and Vytilo which is the ecclesiastic expression all over Mani.
THE DEVOTING ACT TO THE MONASTERY OF GRIGORIANOS AND KALKANDIDOS FAMILY
13th February 1759, the monastery Agios Jeorgios in Marathonisi.
With the present letter, we, the following committee of Gligorianos and Kalantianis family certify; today we found it reasonable and because of our good will and the memorial service of our parents and ours, and we offer all that there is at the monastery of Marathonisi of the respectable monastery of the sacred monastery of so called Theotokos Zerpiztiotisa and with the present abbot priest Joachim Mavrodakis and we bonded both so that the saint abbot takes care of it with the guidance of God and the grace of the saint Jeorgios. We make it clear with the death of the abbot that we are asked, the above committee, for the management, in order to record the belongings of the monastery one by one; cows 11, sheep and goats 30, sauce pan with lid 1, frying pan 1, gun 1 and fishing boat 1 and the land of the monastery at the old town 2 pieces; at Kotzirianika 1 piece.
This is how the present document ends and is signed and was given to the widow of the above abbot
We declare the above Gligorianos and Kalkantianos family