Saints of Pafos
Christianity took root in Pafos from early on perhaps more than in any other district of Cyprus. The enormous number of churches, chapels and monasteries here bear witness to this. One of the reasons for this is the rough and mountainous terrain of the district, which during Byzantine times offered the ideal conditions for seclusion and monastic life.
Amongst the many saints who have been through Pafos, living or dying in the district, the following are especially venerated:
The Apostles Barnabas and Paul and the Evangelist Mark who preached in the Pafos district and throughout Cyprus, laying the foundations of Christianity.
St. Gennadios (5th century A.D.). Patriarch of Constantinople, who came to Pafos after resigning his high position. While trying to discover the hermitage of St. Hilarion, he died of hardship and was buried in the same area. There is a deserted church dedicated to him at Moron Nero, near the village of Episkopi (Celebration day: 17th December).
St. Agapitikos (Saint of love) of uncertain age. He came to Cyprus from Palestine and lived a hermit's life near the village of Arodhes. There is a sarcophagus in the village in which according to tradition, he was buried. Α second sarcophagus is supposed to be that of St. Misitikos (Saint of hatred). The first one blesses love and the second hatred.
St. Kendeas of uncertain age, who lived as a hermit in the area close to the sea near Pafos. Later, however, he moved to eastern Cyprus where he died (Celebration day: 6th of October).
The following bishops of Pafos are venerated as Saints: Epafras (1st century A.D.), Titos (1st century A.D.), Cyrillus or Kyriakos (4th century A.D.), Julius (4th century A.D.), Sapricius (5th century A.D.), Cilicius, Filagrius, Nicolaos (4th century A.D.) .
St. Neophytos the Enkleistos (1134-1219) is the most important saint of the district and one of the most eminent of the Orthodox Church. He was born and lived in Cyprus. He lived as a hermit in a secluded area about 12 kilometres north-west of Pafos, where today stands a monastery dedicated to him. He lived a hermit's life also in other parts of the island and went on pilgrimages to the Holy Land. When he arrived in Pafos, he cut a cave (his hermitage) out of the rock with his own hands where he lived. He also served as a priest and founded a monastery that bears his name. An intellectual and a writer, he left a noteworthy body of mainly theological work. The monastery he founded is today one of the most important in Cyprus (Celebration days: 24th of January and 28th of September).
Among the later saints there are: St. Panaretos, bishop of Pafos at the beginning of the 18th century (Celebration day: 1st of May) and St. Neophytos the Enkleistos (secluded).St. Kalandion of uncertain age, who came to Cyprus from Palestine and lived as a hermit in the village of Pano Arodhes, where there is also a church dedicated to him (Celebration day: 6th of October). SS. Zenaida and Philonilla. Tradition says, that they were related to the Apostle Paul, from Tarsos of Cilicia. They followed the Apostle to Pafos, where they stayed till the end of their lives. The remains of a church dedicated to them can be seen in the village of Kissonerga (Celebration day: 11th October).
St. Onisiforos, of uncertain age. He came to Cyprus from Constantinople and lived as a hermit near the village of Anarita, where there is also a church dedicated to him. He is supposed to be a miracle-working saint (Celebration day: 18th July).
St. Hilarion the Great, from Palestine, lived during the 3rd century A.D. The last sixteen years of his life he spent as a hermit near the village of Episkopi. His hermitage was situated on the summit of a steep rock, where today there is a country chapel. There you can also see the cave in which he lived (Celebration day: 21st October).