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The Engleistra & Monastery of Agios Neophytos

The Engleistra and the Monastery of Saint Neophytos are situated near the village of Tala, about 10 kilometres north of Nea Paphos. The Engleistra was initially a natural cave on the eastern side of a hill’s slope. In front of the hill lies a deep gorge, at the end of which flows a torrent.

Inside the Engleistra, Saint Neophytos led a hermit’s life. He is considered to be one of the most significant figures of the Church of Cyprus. According to the ‘Τipiki Diathiki’ (‘Typical Testament’ ), which he composed in 1214, he moved into the small carved chapel in 1159. Local tradition mentions that the Saint had initially carved another Engleistra, to the east of Pafos, near the village of Souskiou. This carved cave is known as the ‘Palaia Engleistra’ ( Old Engleistra) and its frescoes date to the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century. It is possible that another hermit may have lived there but not Saint Neophytos.

Saint Neophytos turned the natural cave into a place of seclusion which consisted of two areas. One area was a small chapel dedicated to Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) and the other was the Saint’s cell, in which he also carved his tomb.

His cell communicated with the church’s bema. He confined himself in the Engleistra until 1170, when he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Pafos, Vasilios Kinnamos, spreading his fame throughout the island. Many monks gathered around him, forming a monastic community, for which Saint Neophytos composed the aforementioned ‘Τipiki Diathiki’ which comprised a set of rules related to the administration of the monastery. The Saint’s need for serenity and seclusion led him to carve another Engleistra higher on the rock, above the old chapel. He carved another small chapel dedicated to Agios Ioannis.

The katholikon of the Monastery of Saint Neophytos was probably built in the beginning of the 16th century and belongs to the type of the barrel-vaulted, three-aisled, domed basilica. The original church was completely decorated with frescoes. However, a large part of them was destroyed during the period 1585-1611.

The Engleistra and the Monastery of Saint Neophytos are situated near the village of Tala, about 10 kilometres north of Nea Paphos. The Engleistra was initially a natural cave on the eastern side of a hill’s slope. In front of the hill lies a deep gorge, at the end of which flows a torrent.

Inside the Engleistra, Saint Neophytos led a hermit’s life. He is considered to be one of the most significant figures of the Church of Cyprus. According to the ‘Τipiki Diathiki’ (‘Typical Testament’ ), which he composed in 1214, he moved into the small carved chapel in 1159. Local tradition mentions that the Saint had initially carved another Engleistra, to the east of Pafos, near the village of Souskiou. This carved cave is known as the ‘Palaia Engleistra’ ( Old Engleistra) and its frescoes date to the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century. It is possible that another hermit may have lived there but not Saint Neophytos.

Saint Neophytos turned the natural cave into a place of seclusion which consisted of two areas. One area was a small chapel dedicated to Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) and the other was the Saint’s cell, in which he also carved his tomb. His cell communicated with the church’s bema. He confined himself in the Engleistra until 1170, when he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Pafos, Vasilios Kinnamos, spreading his fame throughout the island. Many monks gathered around him, forming a monastic community, for which Saint Neophytos composed the aforementioned ‘Τipiki Diathiki’ which comprised a set of rules related to the administration of the monastery. The Saint’s need for serenity and seclusion led him to carve another Engleistra higher on the rock, above the old chapel. He carved another small chapel dedicated to Agios Ioannis.

The katholikon of the Monastery of Saint Neophytos was probably built in the beginning of the 16th century and belongs to the type of the barrel-vaulted, three-aisled, domed basilica. The original church was completely decorated with frescoes. However, a large part of them was destroyed during the period 1585-1611.

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