Prokopata has quite a history behind it, as opposed to its present and its presence in today’s reality.
According to the artifacts in the island’s Archaeological Museum, it’s probably one of the oldest inhabited places of Kefalonia. Findings in the area show that civilization existed in this spot possibly even 4 millenniums ago. Around 1300, there were more than 300 houses, which gradually decreased to today’s small number of 25. The local residents have quite a few stories to tell, most of which were passed on by word of mouth. According to them, the first great blow, which resulted in the reduction of the population, fell during the time of the Venetians.
Back then, a priest’s wife had hidden a thief in her house, but when the priest and the other villagers found out, they decided to hand him over to the island’s authorities, that were located in the then capital of the island, the Castle of Saint George. So they set out and reached the capital on the Orthodox Good Friday, at a time when dogmatic conflicts were at their peak. The Catholic Venetians, who weren’t celebrating anything during that time, pressured them to eat meat, leading them, as a result, to a conflict, literally killing themselves. The mountain where the strife took place has been called “Xerizomeno” ever since. A vendetta also broke out in the village later on, resulting in the decimation of the population.
There is historical reference that Saint Gerasimos resided in the area where today’s village is when he started preaching in Kefalonia and before ending up in Omala. There is also a house which is said to have belonged to him. But, it seems that the inhabitants of the area didn’t believe in him and so he was driven out of the village (there is also the relevant curse of the seven families) and went to Spilia and then to Omala, where he finally stayed.
The village’s luck is closely linked to Aghia Varvara.
During the war (World War II), Italian troops settled in the area and, due to its surveillant location, created shelters which remain intact to this day.
A large part of these troops were executed by the Germans at a pine tree, known to the villagers. The village was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1953 and was entirely rebuilt by the great benefactor-businessman Panagis Markesinis, who, until recently, paid through his will for the pump station that transferred water to the houses for free.
History hasn’t honored this contribution of his and his name remains forgotten as opposed to other great benefactors of the island. But the locals remember him every time they speak and thank him for everything that he generously offered them. Characteristically, it is said that whenever his ships would moor into the port, a villager would hurry to raise the flag on the mast at the top of the hill, in order to greet and honor the benefactor.
Editing: Andreas Debonos and Tilemachos Beriatos
Information: Nikolas and Marina Petinatos, Alekos Markesinis and Dimitris Simatos