Monasteries and Churches in Cyprus
When the apostles Paul and Barnabas arrived in 45/46
AD in Cyprus, the island then became the first Christian community
outside Israel. Today small chapels, churches and monasteries testify
to nearly 2000 years of Christian cultural life all around Cyprus.
Ayios Yeoryios Alamanos
About 15km northeast of Limassol there is the monastery of Ayios
Yeoryios Alamanos. Makarios III founded this convent. Today the
nuns mainly work as nurses.
Ayios Minas Monastery
About halfway between Larnaka and Limassol, near the famous village
of Lefkara, there is the monastery of Ayios Minas. This convent
has existed since 1670. Nowadays the nuns run the monastery painting
and selling religious icons.
Ayios Neophytos Monastery
The monastery of Ayios Neophytos is 9 km north of Paphos. Founded
at the end of the 12th Century by Cypriot hermit and writer Neofytos,
carved a home for himself inside of the mountain rock. The Monastery
is located below the grottoes and is home to only a handful of
monks. The Monastery also contains a collection of icons and the
remains of some 16th century frescoes. Every January the monastery
hosts a two day fair where you can buy Cypriot crafts, foods, and
Panagia Chrysorroyiatissa Monastery
The monastery lies near Panagia village, west of Pafos forest.
Set in beautiful surroundings, the monastery, was founded in 1152
A.D. by a monk called Ignatios who found at Moulia area in Pafos
the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary believed to have been painted
by Luke the Evangelist. Ignatios took the icon to the mountain
and built the monastery dedicated to 'Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate'.
The monastery, whose present building dates back to 1770, has a
collection of important icons and treasures. The church lies in
the middle of the monastery and impresses with its frescoes above
its three entrances. The icon of Christ and the Virgin Mary in
the monastery is also believed to be painted by Apostle Luke the
Evangelist. It is gold and sliver plated.
A center for the protection of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons
and other treasures operated at the monastery. A Byzantine museum
has recently been set up. In front of the main entrance of the
monastery there is a café restaurant from where the view
is panoramic and majestic.
An impressive religious ceremony and celebrations are held on 15th
The old winery of the monastery produces some of the best vintage
wine of Cyprus produced from the monastery's vineyards.
At the top of a mountain about 1318 m high, in the north west of
Troodos, stands the richest and most splendid monastery in Cyprus,
Kykkos Monastery. Kykkos was founded in the 11th century but unfortunately
it has been burned down several times and there are no reminders
of the original building, in contrast to the other Cypriot monasteries.
Near this famous monastery is the monument to Archbishop Makarios
III, the first president of the Republic of Cyprus.
About 40km southwest of Nicosia on top of the Machairas mountain
(1423 m), stands the secluded monastery of Machairas. Machairas
is a popular place for excursions, not only because of the quiet
atmosphere of the monastery, but also due to the museum of Giorgios
Afxentiou. Giorgios was a Cypriot freedom fighter who fought against
the British colonial power . Giorgios Afxentiou died after defending
himself in a nearby hideout.
Stavrovouni is a hill in Cyprus, on top of which stands a Greek
The monastery Stavrovouni which was constructed on the peak of
the mountain of the same name in the District of Larnaca. In earlier
times it had been known under the name of Olympus , nowadays ,
the highest point of Troodos Mountains further to the west bears
that name . Stavrovouni , as the name already says , is dedicated
to the Holy Cross ; it can be derived from two words 'stavros '(cross)
and 'vouno' (mountain) . According to religious tradition , the
monastery was founded by St. Helena, the mother of the Byzantine
Emperor Constantine I, the Great. According to the 15th century
Cypriot chronicler Leontios Makhairas , Helena had discovered the
three crosses on which Jesus and the two thieves had been crucified
on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She had them excavated and
wanted to bring them to Constantinople. But she is said to have
left one of these crosses in Cyprus during an involuntary visit
caused by shipwreck , and to have presented it to a monastery .
Thus the legend .
Stavrovouni is the earliest documented monastery on the island.
The oldest written reference dates from the Byzantine period. It
proves that Stavrovouni had been an important religious centre
since the 4th century. The relevant information is to be found
in the memoirs of a Russian traveller , Abbot Daniel, who stayed
on Cyprus in 1106 . He recorded that the Holy Cross was located
on Mount Olympus with objective of 'warding off evil spirits and
curing any illness ' , and he noted : 'This cross is like a meteorite
, it is not supported in the ground , because the Holy Ghost holds
it in the empty space . I , unworthy man , knelt down before this
holy , mysterious object and have seen with my own , sinful eyes
the inherent holy grace present in this place . ' After its foundation
, Stavrovouni was occupied by Orthodox monks living according to
the rule of St. Basil . We obtain further historical information
from Western visitors to Cyprus in the 13th. century . Willibrandi
de Oldenburg , for example , visited Stavrovouni in 1211 and wrote
: 'The cross of the Good Thief is on the highest mountain in Cyprus'
- which was wrong , as Stavrovouni is not as high as the Troodos
peak . Ludolph von Suchen noted in 1305 : 'The mountain is like
the Mount Tabor on which the Benedictine monks live . From its
peak one can see the Lebanon .' That is true , but the weather
must be very clear in order to be able to check this .
In its long history , Stavrovouni went through times of great poverty
and hardship caused by the most varied invasions by foreigners
on the island . Nowadays , the Holy Cross is no longer there and
nobody knows what has happened to it . In 1598 , the Bohemian nobleman
Krystof Harant noted :'Nobody knows what the Turks have done with
the Holy Cross .' The walls , the church , the iconostasis and
monks' cells in Stavrovouni were almost completely destroyed during
a great fire in 1888 . The only relic which has been preserved
down to the present is a silver cross in which a minute piece of
the holy cross is inserted , the only major reliquary which is
still kept in Stavrovouni .
Recently , the monastery underwent a complete renovation . Its
small church was restored again with frescoes and icons by well-known
painter , Fr. Kallinikos , a monk from Stavrovouni . The legend
of the foundation is recorded in these pictures , St. Helena in
a brilliant red garment and the Finding of the True Cross in Jerusalem
. By the way , the emperor's mother recognised that she did have
the right cross by the miraculous healing of a woman . Colourful
, but also not without the skull painted beneath Christ's Cross
for centuries is the Deposition . The majority of the frescoes
in the church refer to the Cross and the life of St. Helena . In
this manner , Stavrovouni is continuing the deeply-rooted Byzantine
painting tradition .
The present monks in Stavrovouni live a very strict form of monastic
life , similar to that of the monks on Mount Athos. The rule of
their first abbot , Dyonisios , forms the basis of this . Women
had been able to visit Stavrovouni until a few years ago, when
the monks banned them.
About 5 - 10 km from Platres, is the small monastery of Trooditissa.
This monastery is a popular place of pilgrimage. Prayers to the
holy Icon of Virgin Mary give hope to childless couples who wish
for a child.
Trooditissa Monastery, (???ast??? ????d?t?ssa?) is situated on
the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains on the island of Cyprus.
It is an orthodox monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
It was founded in 990, but the current building dates back to 1731.
It is built at an altitude of 1,500m (4566 feet) and the closest
village is Plátres.
Ayios Heraklidhios Monastery
The monastery of Ayios Heraklidhios, near the archaelogical site
of Tamassos (about 20 km west of Nicosia), was founded about 400
AD on the grave of the holy Heraklidhios. Nowadays a convent of
nuns lives in the old monastery.
Ayia Napa Monastery
The Ayia Napa Monastery was founded in the 16th Century. Its tranquil
courtyard and marble fountain offer a cool respite from the world