Favicon

Events

No Events on The List at This Time

Follow Us
GO UP
Image Alt

Religious Tourism

A testament to Cyprus’ Christian Heritage

Pafos is not just a region of mythical and natural wonder. It is a vibrant place; dotted with small chapels, churches, cathedrals, secluded monasteries and monuments of historical and artistic significance that testify to nearly 200 years of Christian cultural life.  Land of saints and miracle-working icons, vivid wall paintings in the apses of many medieval churches; priceless collections of consecrated vessels, manuscripts and Cypriot antiquities. Walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, and discover how Cyprus became the first country in the world to come under Christian administration.

Christianity and Cyprus

Our journey to Christendom begins in 45 AD in Pafos, when the Apostles Paul and Barnabas visited the island and the then capital of Cyprus.  Accompanied by the Evangelist John Mark on their missionary journey, both Paul and Barnabas faced difficulties in preaching the gospel to the gentiles. In fact, Paul was flogged before Roman Governor, Sergius Paulus, in an attempt to convert the ruler. Legend has it that the Apostle was tied to a stone pillar receiving thirty-nine (forty but one) lashes for evangelising Christianity in Pafos.  He was eventually successful in his efforts, making Cyprus one of the world’s first Christian states.

Today, the site of the Apostle’s unjust treatment is an important pilgrimage stop. St Paul’s Pillar lies amongst a series of ancient ruins surrounding Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church, including the remains of an Early Byzantine basilica and a mosque dating back to the Ottoman period.

 

The Cypriot Apostle Barnabas returned to Cyprus on another missionary tour. It was at the ancient city of Salamis where Barnabas met his fate. Encountered by Jews who fell upon him as he was disputing in the synagogue, Barnabas was stoned to death after enduring the most inhumane tortures. Considered the founder of the Autocephalous (independent) Church of Cyprus, Barnabas is one of the most significant figures in Christianity.

 

In 330 AD, Constantine the Great transferred the capital of his empire to Constantinople, resulting in the division of the Roman Empire into western and eastern parts. Cyprus remained in the eastern half, namely the Byzantine Empire.

Walk in the footsteps of Saint Paul in Pafos

Embark on a religious journey to the past and visit the places where Saint Paul preached the gospel among the gentiles.  Prior to being a tireless champion of Christianity, Paul led violent persecutions against Christians. After receiving a vision of the resurrected Christ, who commissioned him to be the Apostle to the gentiles, he advocated worship of Jesus.

His missionary journeys took him all throughout the Roman Empire, starting more than a dozen churches, and was the author of thirteen books of the bible.  The Apostle Paul was one of the most influential leaders of the Early Christian church.

 

In 45 AD, the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, accompanied by the Evangelist John Mark, travelled from Antioch to Silesia, and then on to Cyprus arriving at Salamis – the largest port on the island at the time. (Acts 13:5)

“They travelled through the whole island until they came to Paphos,” (Acts 13:6) where they managed to convert the Roman Proconsul who embraced the Christian faith thereby making Cyprus the first country in the world to be governed by a Christian.

His arrival in Pafos

Saint Paul’s arrival in Pafos:

Saint Paul would have entered Pafos through one of the town’s gates, three of which survive to this day:

  1. The northeast gate, close to the eastern side of Kato Pafos’ theatre
  2. The northern gate on Fabrica Hill, located to the left of the modern road leading to the harbour
  3. The northwest gate, which is probably the most preserved of the three, and the only gate where the bridge above the moat around the walls has survived
The church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa

The Church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa

Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church was built in the 13th Century over the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine basilica on the island. Originally seven-aisled, the church was later reduced to five and features some of the most well-preserved floor mosaics and standing Corinthian-styled columns made of granite and marble.  Following extensive restoration, Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church is used as a place of worship for Anglican, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and other Christian denominations, and is also a popular wedding venue.

Located within the compound is Saint Paul’s Pillar where, according to tradition, Saint Paul was punished and sentenced to thirty-nine (forty but one) lashes for evangelising Christianity in Pafos.

The house of Theseus / Mosaics

The House of Theseus / Mosaics

 The largest building of all known public buildings from the Roman period in Cyprus, The House of Theseus is a 2nd Century villa with a preserved mosaic depicting the scene of Theseus fighting the Minotaur from Greek mythology.  The building itself features over 100 rooms, organised in four wings around a colonnaded open courtyard.  Residential, domestic, working, and communal areas are in the eastern, western, and northern sections of the house, whereas the ritual areas are visible in the southern wing.  This historical landmark also features ruins of baths that were unearthed in the southeast part of the building.

Located a stone’s throw from the picturesque Pafos Harbour, The House of Theseus was believed to have been the residence of the Roman Proconsul Sergius Paulus, who converted to Christianity upon hearing the preaching of Saint Paul. It is highly likely that Saint Paul visited this area.

St. Paul's departure

Saint Paul’s departure

“From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.” (Acts 13:13)

Saints of Pafos

Christianity took root in Pafos at an early stage, prior to the other districts of Cyprus. The vast number of churches, chapels and monasteries speak volumes about the country’s rich history and culture, and are a testament to Cyprus’ Early Christian heritage.  The region’s unique landscape and mountainous terrain offer the ideal conditions for seclusion and monastic life.

Many holy individuals have visited Pafos in the past, and now venerated as saints in both the Greek and Latin Churches.

Apostles Barnabas and Paul and the Evangelist Mark

Apostle Barnabas, Apostle Paul and Evangelist John Mark

 In 45 AD, the Apostles Barnabas and Paul, accompanied by the Evangelist John Mark, visited Pafos on their missionary tour of Cyprus, preaching the gospel and laying the foundations of Christianity.

 

 

 

 

St. Gennadios (5th century A.D.)

Saint Gennadios (5th Century AD)

 Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Gennadios retired in Pafos after resigning the patriarchy. The ruins of a church dedicated to Saint Gennadios are located at Moro Nero, near the village of Episkopi.

The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Day of Saint Gennadios on 17 December.

 

St. Agapitikos (Saint of love)

Saint Agapitikos (The Beloved Saint)

 Known as the “Beloved Saint,” Saint Agapitikos arrived in Cyprus from Palestine and lived a hermit’s life near the village of Pano Arodes.  Located in the central square of the village, there is a sarcophagus dedicated to the saint. The second eroding tomb belongs to Saint Misitikos who represents hatred.

 

 

St. Kendeas

Saint Kendeas

Saint Kendeas was a monk who lived a life as hermit near the coast of Pafos. His cave, church and monastery are located near the village of Avgorou, a fertile region renowned for potato farming and basket weaving. When Saint Kendeas first arrived at the cave, he was thirsty and prayed to God for water to drink. The stone he knelt on filled with clear holy water, which still flows today.

The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Day of Saint Kendeas on 6 October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Neophytos

Saint Neophytos

Nestled within a forest meadow surrounded by green hills, the monastery of Saint Neophytos is one of the most impressive religious sites in the Pafos region. Founded by Saint Neophytos in 1159, the monastery features a closed area, known as the Enkleistra, carved into the mountain by the hermit himself containing some of the most remarkable Byzantine frescoes dating back to the 12th Century.

Born in Lefkara, in 1134, Saint Neophytos is one of the most important religious figures in Cyprus and of the Greek Orthodox Church. During his time at the monastery, he served as a priest and his fame rapidly spread across the island. He lived a humble life at the monastery, most of the time isolated and dedicated to writing theological work, until his death in 1219.

Today, only a few monks stay in the monastery, which houses a museum featuring many religious items that include manuscripts, holy utensils, old books, priestly garments, jewellery and a collection of Cypriot pottery and maps on display. The main church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, features icons of exceptional artistic quality from both the ancient and Byzantine periods.

The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Days of Saint Neophytos on 24 January and 28 September.

 

Location: Tala (9km north of Pafos)

Tel: +357 26 652 481

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (November – March):    09:00 – 16:00

Summer (April – October):          09:00 – 13:00 / 14:00 – 18:00

Entrance Fee:                          Museum and Enkleistra: €2.00

 

Partly accessible to wheelchairs. Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Pafos Monasteries

Saint Neophytos

Saint Neophytos

Nestled within a forest meadow surrounded by green hills, the monastery of Saint Neophytos is one of the most impressive religious sites in the Pafos region. Founded by Saint Neophytos in 1159, the monastery features a closed area, known as the Enkleistra, carved into the mountain by the hermit himself containing some of the most remarkable Byzantine frescoes dating back to the 12th Century.

Born in Lefkara, in 1134, Saint Neophytos is one of the most important religious figures in Cyprus and of the Greek Orthodox Church. During his time at the monastery, he served as a priest and his fame rapidly spread across the island. He lived a humble life at the monastery, most of the time isolated and dedicated to writing theological work, until his death in 1219.

Today, only a few monks stay in the monastery, which houses a museum featuring many religious items that include manuscripts, holy utensils, old books, priestly garments, jewellery and a collection of Cypriot pottery and maps on display. The main church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, features icons of exceptional artistic quality from both the ancient and Byzantine periods.

The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Feast Days of Saint Neophytos on 24 January and 28 September.

 

Location: Tala (9km north of Pafos)

Tel: +357 26 652 481

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (November – March):    09:00 – 16:00

Summer (April – October):          09:00 – 13:00 / 14:00 – 18:00

Entrance Fee:                          Museum and Enkleistra: €2.00

 

Partly accessible to wheelchairs. Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Panagia Chrysorroyiatissa Monastery

Panagia Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery

Founded in 1152 AD by a monk called Ignatios, the monastery of Panagia Chrysorrogiatissa is another example of Cyprus’ rich cultural heritage. Located near the village of Panagia, and surrounded by rich, dense pine forest, the monastery beckons both religious and non-religious visitors from near and far amid the most peaceful and idyllic settings.

Legend has it that the monk Ignatios discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, painted by Luke the Evangelist, who later founded the monastery in her name.

The monastery of “Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate,” whose present building dates back to 1770, houses an important collection of icons and treasures. Centrally located within the grounds of the monastery, the main church includes an impressive series of Byzantine frescoes and mosaics; the gold and silver-plated icon of Christ and the Virgin Mary, painted by the Apostle Luke, is also located in the monastery.

The monastery features a museum with Byzantine icons and other religious treasures on display. Also within the grounds is a small gift shop where icons and other memorabilia are available for purchase, including wine produced from the monastery’s own vineyards.

The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary on 15 August.

 

Location: Pano Panagia (40km north-east of Pafos)

Tel: +357 26 722 457

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter (September – April):        10:00 – 12:30 / 13:30 – 16:00

Summer (May – August):              09:30 – 12:30 / 13:30 – 18:30

Closed on Public Holidays

Entrance Fee:                          Free

 

Not accessible to wheelchair users. Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Saint Savvas tou Karonos

Saint Savvas tis Karonos

 Originally built in the 12th Century, and later restored by the Venetians, the monastery of Saint Savvas tis Karonos retains an undisputed captivating charm for those who visit.  Destroyed by fire in 1467, it resumed operation as a church with the assistance of Cyprus’ King James II after undergoing extensive renovation.

Founded on the site of the previous monastery’s ruins, the monastery of Saint Savvas tis Karonos underwent further renovations over the centuries, again in 1533 and later in 1742. The current building still operates as a church; however, there are no regular services due to its remoteness.

Saint Georgios twn Komanwn

Saint George ton Komanon

Located south east of Panagia Village, in an area known as Mesana, the monastery of Saint George is a prime example of 15th Century Byzantine architecture. Recently restored by the Department of Antiquities, this historic landmark features well-preserved hagiographies including icons that depict the Martyrdom of Saint George and another of Archangel Michael.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panagia tou Sinti

Panagia tou Sinti

The monastery of Panagia tou Sinti is a remarkable abandoned religious landmark, located on the banks of the Xeros River in Pentalia.  Dating back to the 16th Century, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery is one of the most important structures of the Venetian period.

Recently restored to its former glory, and recognised by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site, Panagia tou Sinti features a beautifully preserved central nave seen as a symbol of the continuous link between heaven and earth.

Panagia tou Sinti received the Europa Nostra award in 1997 for the restoration and conservation work undertaken by Kykkos Monastery on safeguarding the church’s cultural heritage and original character.

Monastery of Timios Stavros Minthis

Stavros tis Minthis

Built around 1520, Stavros tis Minthis (or Minthis Monastery) is located in the mountainous village of Tsada, surrounded by vineyards.  The construction of the church took place upon the findings of a large crucifix discovered in a bush with a candle lit next to it.  The original crucifix is on display in the Byzantine Museum in Pafos, while its replica is located in the church.

Stavros tis Minthis is a reference to the island’s rich cultural origins and centuries of religious stories. Today, this historic building is a popular wedding venue, while its gardens welcome quiet and spiritual reflection.

 

 

 

 

Saint Georgios Nikoxilitis

Saint George Nikoxilitis

As one of the richest monasteries on the island, in terms of land, Saint George Nikoxilitis formed a hub of activity until it was burned and looted in 1821.

Founded between the 9th and 10th Century, the monastery is located 3km northeast of Droushia Village, and was brought back to its former glory before it suffered extensive damage following a major earthquake in 1953.

 

 

 

 

 

Iera Moni

Agia Moni Monastery

Known as “The Monastery of Priests,” due to the number of saints and priests that once lived there or passed through its doors, Agia Moni Monastery has links to the very origins of monasticism in Cyprus. Founded around 300 AD by Saint Nicholas and Saint Eftychios as a place of prayer and contemplation, the monastery is renowned for once housing a sacred relic – a piece of the cloak once worn by the Virgin Mary – until 1754. It was also the former residence of Saint Athanasius the Athonite, who lived there between 965 and 969 AD. The Byzantine monk moved to Greece thereafter, and founded the monastic community at Mount Athos.

Pafos Churches

The entire Pafos region is characterised by its innumerable churches that testify to nearly 2000 years of Christian cultural life. Richly decorated with murals, Byzantine icons and holy relics, these religious landmarks provide an overview of Pafos’ inimitable religious inheritance.

Agia Paraskevi

Agia Paraskevi

Considered one of the most important churches in Cyprus, Agia Paraskevi is located in the coastal town of Geroskipou, and dates back to the 9th Century.  The church’s unique five-domes, three-aisled, barrel-vaulted basilica makes it one of only two such churches on the island, and a significant example of Byzantine architecture.

Ancient frescoes, the oldest in Cyprus, adorn the walls of this remarkable church; a significant and rare double-sided icon of the Virgin Mary and the scene of the Crucifixion is also on display, and is often loaned to various international museums and exhibitions abroad.

The beautifully preserved church stands on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite.

 

Location: Central Square, Geroskipou (Pafos)

Open Daily (Monday – Sunday)

Winter:                                                 08:00 – 13:00 / 14:00 – 16:00

Summer:                                             08:00 – 13:00 / 14:00 – 17:00

Entrance Fee:                          Free

 

Wheelchair accessible. Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees, are subject to alterations without notice. Visitors are advised to check before visiting.

Ρanagia Chryseleousa

Panagia Chryseleousa

Located in the village of Emba, 3km north of Pafos, Panagia Chryseleousa is a traditional, stone-built cruciform edifice, built around the 13th Century.  The structure of the church is a combination of two churches featuring three aisles and two domes.

The eastern section of the church, founded on the ruins of an earlier Christian basilica, was later extended towards the west with a domed building of the cross-in-square type.

Panagia Chryseleousa retains rare frescoes of the 12th, 13th, 15th and 15th centuries, with one of the most interesting depicting the miracle of fishing. Other ecclesiastical treasures include exceptional icons, one of which displays Christ holding a gospel, and a fine-painted icon on two panels with six of the Apostles featured on either side.

Panagia Chrysopolitissa

Panagia Chrysopolitissa

Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church was built in the 13th Century over the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine basilica on the island. Originally seven-aisled, the church was later reduced to five and features some of the most well-preserved floor mosaics and standing Corinthian-styled columns made of granite and marble.  Following extensive restoration, Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church is used as a place of worship for Anglican, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and other Christian denominations, and is also a popular wedding venue.

 

Located within the compound is Saint Paul’s Pillar where, according to tradition, Saint Paul was punished and sentenced to thirty-nine (forty but one) lashes for evangelising Christianity in Pafos.

Panagia Theoskepasti

Panagia Theoskepasti

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Panagia Theoskepasti (meaning “Veiled by God”) is a modern church built in 1923.  Located in the centre of Kato Pafos, the impressive Byzantine church is built on the foundations of an older church where tradition has it that a fog was sent by God to protect the original church from the Arab raids.  The fog created a veil over the church, thus making it invisible to intruders.

The church sits on an overwhelming rock, overlooking the entire area of Kato Pafos. An awe-inspiring landmark, Panagia Theoskepasti is popular amongst locals and tourists, admiring the church’s splendid wood-carved iconostasis and exceptional icons on display. One of the highlights includes a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, believed to be one of the seventy painted by Luke the Evangelist.

Panagia Limeniotissa

Panagia Limeniotissa

Built in the early 5th Century, and dedicated to “Our Lady of the Harbour,” Panagia Limeniotissa is a ruined basilica in Pafos, situated a short distance north of the Pafos harbour.  In 653 AD, it suffered damage during the Arab raids against the island. Discovered in 1937, and officially excavated in 1959, Panagia Limeniotissa is part of the Pafos Archaeological Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Colourful mosaics and a few restored columns are on display at the site.

Agios Georgios Basilica

Agios Georgios Basilica

Located near a fishing refuge approximately 4.5km from the village of Pegeia, the basilica of Agios Georgios is a renowned pilgrimage site among the ruins of two Early Christian basilicas. Dedicated to Saint George, the basilica features colourful mosaic floors depicting animals.

The settlement’s necropolis occupies the brow of the steep cliff rising from the west and northwest shore of the cape, and houses beautifully preserved rock-hewn tombs from the Roman period.

Agia Solomoni church and catacombs

Agia Solomoni Church and Catacombs

Originally, a Christian catacomb, although Archaeologists suggest it was a graveyard dating back to the Hellenistic period, Agia Solomoni Church is a popular landmark located 1km from the port of Kato Pafos. Home to beautifully preserved 12th Century frescoes, the catacomb also features some interesting graffiti inscribed by the Crusaders.

The entrance to the church is located underground beneath a large pistachio tree believed to be sacred. Legend has it that if you tie a piece of cloth to one of its branches, as a personal offer, it will cure any ailment. Both locals and visitors continue the tradition to this day.

Αgioi Kyrikos and Joulitta

Church of Saints Kyrikos and Julitta

The church of Saints Kyrikos and Julitta is located in the village of Letymbou, 12km north of Pafos. The vast number of churches in the area suggest that the village was much bigger during medieval times. Built around the 15th Century, the church houses a small number of frescoes that have survived over the years.

Αgia Ekaterini

Agia Ekaterini

Agia Ekaterini is located between the villages of Kritou Terra and Choli. Built in the 15th Century, it is one of the most beautifully constructed churches in Cyprus and an example of Frank-Byzantine art situated in a deserted location.  The catastrophic earthquakes in 1953 resulted in the complete destruction of the church, which was restored in 1956 by the Department of Antiquities. Further restoration took place in 1994.

Renowned for its rich art decoration that includes frescoes, Agia Ekaterini is an architectonic masterpiece that will impress anyone who visits.

Agios Theodosios

Agios Theodosios

Located in the village of Acheleia, Agios Theodosios is a charming country church shaped in the form of a crucifix with a dome in the middle. An example of Byzantine architecture, this stone-built church houses some magnificent frescoes and icons, characterised by their schematisation and by being monochrome.

Panayia Katholiki

Panagia Katholiki

Panagia Katholiki, located east of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in the village of Kouklia, follows the type of a cruciform church, and dates back to the 12th and 13th Century.  The church features a few frescoes that have survived over the years, reflecting the traditional popular art of the 15th Century.

Archagelos Michael

Archangelos Michael

Situated in a secluded location in the village of Choli, north of Kouklia, Archangelos Michael is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. A 16th Century, single-aisle vaulted building, this small chapel features an elevated narthex and impressive frescoes. Saint Neophytos used the church prior to him relocating to his hermitage in Pafos.

Agios Georghios

Agios Georgios

Decorated with frescoes that date back to the 12th Century, Agios Georgios is a single-aisle Byzantine-style church with a typical dome and vaulted narthex, dedicated to Saint George. The building lies southwest of the village of Choulou.

Panagia Chorteni

Panagia Chorteni

Located 5km east of Polis Chrysochous in the village of Pelathousa, Panagia Chorteni is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a single-aisle church with a typical dome, and decorated with frescoes.

X