Nikolaos Trifyllis, the Great Benefactor
Nikolaos Trifyllis was one of the greatest benefactors of the Kytherian society. He was born in 1873, in the village of Trifyllianika, Kythera. As his family was facing economic difficulties, Nikolaos Trifyllis left the island at a very young age, in search of a better life. He moved to Piraeus, and later to Athens, where he worked hard and persistently. He managed, within a very short period of time, to become a successful businessman. At 5 Themistokleous Street in Athens, he launched his restaurant Sidrivani (Fountain), which became popular to the whole city. Before even turning 30 years old, Nikolaos had already become the most successful restaurant owner in Athens.
The Humble and Decent Life of Nikolaos Trifyllis
At the outset of the Balkan wars in 1912, Nikolaos Trifyllis voluntarily joined the army. For his courage, contribution and loyalty to the country, he was decorated by the then Supreme Commander and Crown Prince Constantine. And despite his huge fortune, he remained humble and modest: he spent his life in a semi-basement close to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, without giving in to the luxurious lifestyle and extravagances of the elite. According to his friend and politician Yannis Kontoleon, Nikolaos Trifyllis was a real ascetic. His closest friends and relatives were well aware of his charities and contributions to the society. During the Balkan wars, there were references to the huge amounts of money he donated to the Greek State in order to cover military needs. In general, Nikolaos Trifyllis always contributed to charities and helped those in need. He also financially supported every hard-working young Kytherian who couldn’t afford their studies.
The greatest vision of Nikolaos Trifyllis was the construction of a well-organised and fully-equipped hospital on the island. For this reason, in 1948, he drew up his will, according to which he posthumously donated all his assets to a foundation under the name The Trifylleion Hospital. His will listed all the terms and conditions for the construction of the hospital. To achieve his vision, he established a Fundraising Committee. The Committee also relaid the main road of the island, to facilitate the ambulance services. On 8th November 1951, along with Michael Semitekolos, he appointed the members of the Fundraising Committee and officially donated his restaurant Sidrivani to the Committee for the maintenance of the hospital. Many other Kytherians followed his example by donating large movable and immovable assets both in the Greek territory and abroad.
He passed away shortly before the completion of the construction of the hospital.
Unfortunately, Nikolaos Trifyllis never saw his vision come true. He died οn 20th May 1955, eight days after he suffered a heart attack. A year later, on 21st May 1956, the hospital was inaugurated.