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Catacomb churches of Cyprus: the Holy and the Holy Heracleides Solomonia

Through the pages of the book "Church of Cyprus." Nicosia: «Yianel», 2012 - 196 with.

Cyprus, located at the intersection of trade routes from Rome and Palestine, Syria and Egypt, Antioch and Lebanon, from the first days of the new religion of origin was involved in the thick of things. And today, scattered throughout the island tracks a variety of beliefs and gods, settlement and reconciliation, the collapse of paganism and the triumph of Orthodoxy. There remain numerous and catacomb cave churches, secluded dwelling hermit, with walls decorated by its pristine beauty of ancient frescoes.

Catacomb of St. abode Heracleides


Secret abode of the Holy Heracleides. Eponymous monastery in the village of Politico (Nicosia District).

This secret abode appeared on the island already in the I century. According to legend, when the Apostles Paul, Barnabas and Mark in 45 year first arrived in Cyprus with the preaching mission in the village Lampadistu birthplace of St. Iraklidis, they asked local pagan priest, to show them the road to Paphos. With her father's permission to accompany the apostles in this difficult journey went Iraklidis. During the long journey together Apostle Barnabas announced Iraklidisa young and baptized him in the river near the village Solion Kalopanayotis. Returning back to the catacombs of ancient city-state Tamasos Iraklidis saint was ordained by the apostles Paul and Barnabas first bishop of Cyprus. Later, the place was built ancient basilica and monastery consecrated his name exists to this day. Today, this catacomb abode where Wonderworker Iraklidis conducted services, and later it was buried and his body is in the territory of the monastery complex, sprawling on the outskirts of Political located near Nicosia. Get into the underground abode can by guest building, go down the steep stairs, or through a countersunk hole, hidden beneath the ancient basilica of the monastery.

Catacombs of St. Solomoni Maccabee



(Left) The Catacombs of St. Solomoni Maccabee - Martyr Christian period. Paphos.
(Right) Icon of St. Solomonia with scenes of the martyrdom of her seven sons of the Maccabees. Domed basilica of St. Kyriaki. XV century. The iconostasis of the northern nave. Pathos

They are located on the main road leading to the seaport city of Paphos. Its name underground church received on behalf of the holy Solomonia - Martyr Christian period. Holy Solomon and her seven sons with his spiritual mentor Yelizar suffered 166 BCE from cruel Syrian king, persistently engrafted on Judea pagan customs. Adherence to the law of Moses the seven Maccabees, their faith in the future coming of the Saviour of the world and refusing to offer sacrifices to pagan gods enraged the wicked king who ordered expose youths in the presence of the mother horrible torture and executions. Courageous mother died from heartache, refusing to bow to the sons of renouncing their faith and God.

Catacombs of St. Solomoni combine several underground facilities located around the outdoor patio. In their architecture they resemble ancient Hellenistic tombs that at the dawn of Christianity saved the first Christians from persecution of the Gentiles. It was then the biggest cave with an arched entrance and was converted into a church whose walls are decorated with paintings a little later. Today on the altar wall is possible to distinguish the image of the Virgin and Child, the Church Fathers in krestchatymi felony, two deacons, and fragments of the Holy Cross in the altar. Manner of painting, according to experts, is characteristic of the style XII century. Fragments of frescoes on the north and the south wall of the nave of the underground catacomb church date back to XIV century.

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