Religious Buildings, Paphos
Paphos was where St Paul came to preach soon after Christ's death and it was here that he was flogged for his beliefs.A few years later St. Paul converted Roman Governor Sergius Paulus to Christianity, and he in turn proclaimed Cyprus the first land with Christianity as its official religion.Since then many churches and monasteries have sprung up around the area.
St Kiriaki Church & St Paul's Pillar
On this fenced site on Apostolou Pavlou Avenue there is a single pillar standing up at the far end, which is called St. Paul's Pillar. It was here that St Paul was bound and given 39 lashes as a punishment for preaching Christianity.After this, he managed to convert the governor to Christianity, making Cyprus the first Christian state in the world.There are also several granite columns and other fragments of ruins on the site. Archeologists are not sure which building all these columns belong to, although one theory is that the site used to be a Roman forum.At the church of Ayia Kyriaki, next to the site, Roman Catholic and Anglican services are held each Sunday.East of the site are the remains of another church. It was built in 1300 and was refurbished 200 years later. A large number of Italian sculptures were added and several of these were uncovered during the excavations along with fragments of paintings. It was turned into a mosque by the Turks, but later it collapsed and was abandoned until excavations took place.Next to this and below Ayia Kyriaki, are the remains of one of the earliest Christian basilicas, measuring 50m by 38m. It was a five-aisled edifice and used to be covered in mosaics. The roof was supported on pink granite columns, the remains of which are still visible. Excavation of the area is still going on.
The monastery, originally founded in the 12th century A.D., is dedicated to "Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate".The church is impressive due to its setting at 610m high, with fine views of the surrounding hills. It was founded by a monk named Ignatius in 1152 and the main buildings were constructed in 1770.There is an icon of the Virgin Mary set in silver and a collection of religious books.The monastery has had a turbulent history, with its buildings being burned in 1821 by the Turks, when the priests were suspected of political agitation. More recently, during the campaign against the British, its abbot was murdered by EOKA terrorists who thought, mistakenly, that he had betrayed some of their comrades.Religious celebrations are held on August 15.The monastery is located 40km northeast of Paphos.
St Neophytos Monastery
The monastery was founded in the late 12th century by the Cypriot hermit and writer Neophytos. Neophytos wrote a large number of theological treatises, including his Ritual Ordinance for Monastic Life and his history of Cyprus entitled "Concerning the Misfortunes of the Land of Cyprus."The "Egkleistra", an enclosure carved out of the mountain, contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes dating from the 12th to 15th centuries. In the monastery's church there is an interesting ecclesiastical museum. There is also a frieze narrating the Akaithos hymn, which tells of the story of the life of Christ. The saint's bones are in a wooden sarcophagus and his skull in a silver receptacle.The monastery is located nine kilometers north of Paphos.
Kato Paphos - Panagia Chrysopolitissa Church
This church was built in the 13th century over the ruins of the largest early Byzantine basilica on the island. Within the compound one can see St Paul's Pillar, where, according to tradition, St Paul was flogged for preaching Christianity in Cyprus. Later Roman Governor Sergius Paulus was converted to Christianity and made Cyprus the first Christian land in the world.
Kato Paphos - St Solomoni Church
This church was originally a Christian catacomb. It is made up of a complex of underground chambers. It contains a collection of 12th century frescoes. A sacred tree outside is believed to cure the sick.Visitors tie pieces of cloth to the branches of the tree in hopes that their ailments will be cured.
Geroskipou - St Paraskevi Church
St Lamprianos Church
Near Ayia Solomoni is a second catacomb, Ayios Lambrianos. This is larger but less impressive.