HOLY MONASTERY OF PANAGIA OF ASINOU
The church of Panagia Phorbiotissa, better known as Panagia of Asinou, is situated in the north foothills of the Troodos mountain range and was built on the east bank of a stream. In 1985 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range. The monastery was founded in 1099 and operated until the end of the 18th century, when it was abandoned. Unfortunately today there are no traces of the other monasterial buildings, while the frescoes covering its interior vary in date. The Μonastery celebrates on Tuesday after Easter.
HOLY MONASTERY OF MACHAIRAS
Machairas Monastery is situated at an altitude of 870 metres on the slopes of Mount Kionia on the eastern parn of Troodos, in a picturesque depression of the Machairas Mountains filled with pine trees, receding into Pediaios creek. This is one of the best-known monasteries of the island, for it houses the miraculous icon of Panagia of Machairas, attributed to Agios Loukas the Evangelist. Legend has it that an unknown hermit brought the icon to Cyprus secretly from Asia Minor during the years of iconoclasm (8th – 9th centuries A.D.). The hermit resorted to a cave on the mountains of Machairas and safeguarded the icon. After his death, the holy icon remained there until around 1145, when blessed with divine grace the hermits Neofytos and Ignatios, reached the spot and found the cave covered with bushes. In order to approach the icon, the two hermits had to cut the bushes with the help of a knife given to them by divine hand. Thus, the icon took the name “Machairiotissa” (the word machairi in Greek means knife) or, more simply, of Machaira. Pilgrims from all over the world visit this splendid monastery and its interesting museum displaying relics and photographs on a daily basis. The Monastery celebrates the 21st of November.
HOLY MONASTERY OF STAVROVOUNI
Perched on a rocky peak at an altitude of 750m., the Holy Monastery of Stavrovouni in the District of Larnaca was founded irca 327-328 D.C., by the mother of Constantine the Great, Ayia Eleni, who had visited the Holy Lands to find the Holy Cross. Upon her return she stopped in Cyprus and one morning woke up and couldn’t find the Holy Cross. Then, she saw a blinding light atop a mountain, approached it and found the Holy Cross. To honor this miraculous apparition she built a church and left a fragment of the Holy Cross as a blessing. Pious Christian monks built cells around the initial church. Women are not allowed to visit Stavrovouni Monastery or the Metochion of Ayia Varvara making it thus the only avaton in Cyprus. The Monastery celebrates on 14th of September.
HOLY MONASTERY OF AYIOS NEOFYTOS
“Egkleistra” and the Monastery of Agios Neofytos are located near Tala, 10 kilometres northwest of Nea Pafos. The Cypriot hermit Ayios Neofytos, a prominent figure of the Church of Cyprus lived here. On September 28th, 1750 his tomb was discovered. On this day the Monastery holds a great feast to honor him. The Monastery of Ayios Neofytos has offered great services to the Cypriot Hellenism, as during the harsh years of foreign occupation it offered support and encouragement to the people of Pafos, while it also contributed in the struggle for freedom by harboring and assisting the local fighters. The Monastery celebrates on 28th of September.
Built higher than all other Μonasteries in Cyprus –1,370 metres above sea level– the Holy Monastery of Virgin Mary the Trooditissa, one of the best known and most beloved monasteries of the island, is “hidden” in a lush green landscape. The Trooditissa Monastery was initially established in the 13th century, while the present church, dating back to 1731, contains valuable icons including the precious silver-gitled icon of Panayia from Asia Minor. Prayers to the holy icon of Panayia give hope to childless couples wishing to have children. A bookstore is operating inside the Monastery, selling Christian books and apple vinegar made by the monks. The monastery celebrates on 15th of August (day of the Dormition of Panagia).
CHURCH OF AYIOS LAZAROS
Located in the town centre, the magnificent stone church of Ayios Lazaros lies over the tomb of the saint. Built by Byzantine Emperor Leo VI in the 9th century, the church was restored in the 17th century. Its three domes and bell tower were destroyed under Ottoman rule, the gold-covered baroque woodcarved iconostasis has survived. Saint Lazarus came to Cyprus after being resurrected by Jesus. He was ordained as Bishop of Kition by the Apostles Barnabas and Paul and lived in the town for 30 years. His tomb can be seen under the sanctuary. Next to the church is the Byzantine Museum, which exhibits important religious icons, artefacts and relics. The Saint is greatly revered, and a procession of his icon takes place every year 8 days before Easter (on Lazarus’ Sunday) in the streets of Larnaca.
HOLY MONASTERY OF THE VIRGIN OF KYKKOS
The Holy Monastery of the Virgin of Kykkos, one of the three largest historical monasteries in Cyprus, lies at an altitude of 1,318 meters on the north west face of Olympos, up in the Troodos Mountains. The Holy Royal and Stauropegial Monastery of Kykkos has been sheltering the world famous icon of Virgin Mary the Merciful (Eleousa), which is covered by a peplum and sheathed in a silver case, decorated with pearls. The brotherhood of the Monastery was founded 900 years ago and never limited its mission to attending to their religious responsabilities, but rather undertook initiatives that turned this place of adoration in one of the most important spiritual centres of Cyprus, offering its services to the nation and Cypriot society as well. The buildings of the monastery belong to many different architectural styles, since it expanded with time. It is articulated around one central church, and other buildings were added later, such as the abbey, the synodic, monks’ cell and the library. The Monastery boasts of a museum well worth your visit, displaying ecclessiastical vessels, vestments, icons and religious artifacts, as well as a library with manuscripts of great value. The monastery holds religious fairs on September 8th and August 15th.