FAMILY BACKGROUND - SHORT BIOGRAPHY
Stavros Melissinos was born to a historic family of Greece, on September 10th, 1929, on No 6 Poikilis Str., in Plaka, the old quarter of Athens. His family originally fled from Crete, where they had their estates and castles -as the one in Monopati, built in 1185 on a steep outcrop overlooking the ruins of ancient Ionia- because they had led a number of unsuccessful uprisings against the ottoman rule. After they moved to the islands of Naxos and Tinos finally, by the end of the 18th century, they settled in Athens.
His grand father, Stavros, and his grandmother, Saphira, established a store that supplied the 19th century sailing ships with both their food needs and equipment for vessel repair. In 1927 his father, Gheorgios, set up his small-scale shoe factory and Panaghiotis, his father’s brother, established the first large-scale icebox industry, known as MELCO, which earned him a state medal for his exceptional achievements in the field of industry, when Eleftherios Venizelos was prime minister of Greece. Their brother Emanuel Melissinos left for the States while Michael Melissinos (another brother) who wanted to follow a writing career was killed in action, at an early age, during the First World War. There were also three sisters: Theano, Aikaterina and Bassilika.
Stavros Melissinos, following the family tradition, served as an officer in the Greek army but finally literature won him over. When he left the army he studied film direction at the Stavrakos School, in Athens as well as electrical engineering but had to abandon all his future plans after his father’s death in 1954. When he took over his father’s store he was already married to Sophia Apessos, his Muse and greatest devotee for all these years. They have two sons and a daughter: Ghiorgos Melissinos /journalist, Pantelis Melissinos /artist and Ogianna Melissinos /computer programmer and archery athlete.
THE MELISSINOS (also: Melissenos) FAMILY
A noble Greek family of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire that is related to many major Greek and European families. The patrician Michael Melissinos (a relative of emperor Michael I Rangave) and ruler of the eastern part of the empire is regarded as the founder of the Melissinos family (741-775). His sister Evdokia was married to emperor Constantine V.
From the 9th through the11th C.,members of the Melissinos family were mainly lords of various territories, throughout the empire, as well as army leaders. In the 11th C. despot Nikephoros Melissinos was given the title of caesar by emperor Alexios I Comnenus, who also sent Prince Andreas Melissinos to Crete to maintain peace and order. Andreas Melissinos thus became the founder of the Cretan brunch of the family. In 1669, subsequent to a number of unsuccessful uprisings against the occupying ottoman forces, some members of this brunch left Crete for other safer places in Greece. From the 11th through the 13th C. members of the family were important landowners and administrators.
In 1261, prince Alexios Melissinos-Strategopoulos conquered Constantinople and drove away the Latin occupying forces. In the 15th C. (1404-1435) Maria Melissinos (or Melissene) was the duchess of Athens and Gregorios Melissinos who became the patriarch of Constantinople, in 1443, fled to Rome in 1450. In 1572, Makarios Melissinos, archbishop of Epidauros lead a rebellion against the Ottoman rule of Greece. According to some accounts the Melissinos family was also related to the Theotokis or Theotokopoulos family and consequently to Kyriakos (Domenico) Theotokopoulos (El Greco) whose family, after the Otto-man occupation of Constantinople, found shelter in Fodele -the Melissinos domain, in Crete. During the centuries that followed the family gradually lost its high political status and power.