History of the Reading Room

The Agiaso Reading Room "Anaptyxis", was established at the end of the previous century (1894), by various locals, as an institution, in an attempt to promote general education, literature and art pertaining to the society of Agiaso. It was established by merchants, handicraftsmen and the literary. During its first year, it was called Agiaso Fraternity for the Lovers of the Arts "I Anaptyxis". During the following year (1895), the name Agiaso Reading room "I Anaptyxis" was sanctioned and continues to be used today (it has been adapted to the Modern Greek language. Agiaso Reading room "I Anaptyxi"). Heracles Darellis (gunsmith) is considered to be the founder of the Reading room. It was in his shop where the first union was initially accommodated, in the neighborhood called "Apesos" in Agiaso.

During the first years of the Reading room functions, the members were mostly interested in promoting education through reading books, magazines and newspapers (from Smyrne, Constantinople, Athens and Lesvos). Later on, the Reading room showed an interest in organizing spiritual and artistic events by planning numerous theatrical performances, musical and literary nights. The Reading room members were mostly interested in theatrical performances as these were the main means for attaining money.

Eventually, the Reading room was sanctioned as a cultural, as well as social- political (to a degree), institution pertaining to the society of Agiaso. After 1908 (sanction of the Neo-Turkish constitution), the Reading room did a count of the population of Agiaso and carried out elections for the nomination of the Electors that would vote for the Representatives of Lesvos in the Turkish Parliament. From 1912 up until the period of German occupation the Reading room was consecrated as an institution in the conscience of the population of Agiaso as well as of Lesvo. During this period, its library was enriched, many amateur theatrical performances took place as well as lectures, conversations and dances, musical- literary nights, a sports team was established as well as an ecclesiastical choir and European music lessons were provided to the members. Parallel to this, it sponsored money based awards for the most successful "carnival groups" during the carnival, thus establishing the "Valeio" contest in 1938.

The conflicts and friction during the period of the Civil war had their negative impact on the Reading room as it was disrupted until 1952. With its re-establishment, the Reading room started a new phase of social and culture activities, which continue unimpeded today. This period has been marked by the personality of its president Pano Pratso for forty two (42) years [1954-1955 and 1957-1998]. He gave a new actuation to the creative policy of the Reading room, especially in the fields of music and theater.

Today, the Agiaso Reading room "I Anaptyxi" continues its valued cultural activity. Its current (from 1998) president Kleanthis Koromilas, the members of the Administrative Council and the managers of the various departments, aim at a continuation that will develop the past experiences under the influence of the current social and cultural needs.

Resources

For the creation of this text the following resources were used:

  • Kolaxizelis, S., Legend and History of Agiaso, of Lesvos Island, Chatzivasileiou G. (editing and present.), Photo mechanic impress, Progressive Union Agiasoton, Athens, 1997
  • Missiou G., Literary (and sidelines) of Mytilene, and more, vol. Six, Asterias, Mytilene, 1996
  • Chatzivasileiou G., History of Agiasos Reading Room, "I Anaptyxis". 1894-1975, Athens, 1975
  • Chatzivaileiou G., Reading Room "I Anaptyxi" of Agiaso, Athens, 1995.
  • Chtouris S. (ed.), Musical crossroads of the Agegean. Lesvos (19th-20th century), Ministry of the Aegean- University of the Aegean, Exantas, Athens 2000.
  • The following interviews took place for the research program "The ark of the Aegean" during visitations made by the research team in Agiaso and at the Agiaso Reading room "I Anaptyxi" (mostly during the period of January 1996 to May of the same year): Interview with Koromila Kleanthi on 24/5/2000, in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Pratso Pano on 15/5/2000 & 20/5/2000 & 21/5/2000 & 24/5/2000, in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Maestrelli Prokopi on 24/5/2000& on 20/6/2000, in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Mina Antoni on 16/6/200 in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Rodanos Charilaos on 21/1/1996 in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Zafeiriou Kosta in January of 1996, in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Eufstratio Psyrra in January of 1996, in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Agriti Dimitri in January of 1996 in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Sousamli Ioanni on 22/1/1996 in Agiaso Lesvo- Interview with Viglatzi Michali in January of 1996- Interview with Sousamli Panagioti on 9/5/1997 in Mytilene.
  • The personal archive of the president of the Agiaso Reading room for forty two (42) years [1954-1955 and 1957-1998], involved in its activities for sixty seven (67), Mr. P. Pratso.
  • The archive of the Agiaso Reading Room "I Anaptyxi"