(From the book "Holy Monasteries of Cyprus." Nicosia: «Yianel», 2013 - 196 with.
On the western outskirts of Salamis, which was built in the XI century BC after known in the history of the Trojan War and remained so throughout the centuries 15 capital of the island, located monastery built in honor of St. Barnabas, whose name is connected whole history of origin and development of Christianity in Cyprus. That of St. Barnabas Church of Cyprus is obliged to and the right to be called one of the first of the apostles, and their status Autocephalous (Independent) Church adopted at the Third Ecumenical Council in 431 year.
Monastery of St. Barnabas
In the book "Acts of the Apostles," written by Luke says that the Holy Spirit himself chose his friend Barnabas and Paul for preaching mission in Cyprus. Perhaps this choice was determined by the fact that the Apostle was born in a family of Jewish Levites (priests) and the son of a Jewish community in Cyprus. Studying in Jerusalem, Barnabas witnessed the miracle of Christ's, and declared himself impressed by what he saw of his followers. When was Easter Sunday, Barnabas sold his property, went around the world to preach the teachings of Jesus. Apostle speech were so attractive that people mistook him for a man endowed with the Holy Spirit. The fate of Barnabas, whose name means "son of consolation", largely intertwined with the earthly life of the Savior. Many scholars believe that the Last Supper and Pentecost occurred in the house of his sister Mary, and nephew of the Apostle John, named Mark later became not only an assistant in the Christian faith, but also the author of one of the four Gospels. May God's blessing was given to Paul and Barnabas also because their personal path to the Christian faith was thorny, and therefore faith was stronger. And when Saul (Paul), the once despised Christians, he was filled with justice teachings of the Savior, his preaching, coupled with the preaching of Barnabas became the most convincing even for enemies of the faith. Whatever it was, but the Lord has defined the way Paul and Barnabas to Cyprus. In 45 year, landed at Salamis, they passed the word evangelism entire island of Salamis to Paphos, where they found a "false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, husband reasonable. This, admitting to Barnabas and Paul, to hear the word of God. " Jewish sorcerer Elymas (Bar-Jesus) tried his best to prevent the apostles, then Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, was forced "to time" blind him. Happened so impressed Roman that he immediately "believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord." Since Cyprus became the first province of the Roman Empire, where the ruler was in power - Christian. And it would have been enough to permanently name Barnabas became one of the most revered saints in Cyprus.
St. Barnabas church icon (left), Icon of John the Baptist. 1762 y (right)
However, the role of St. Barnabas in the history of the Church of Cyprus is not exhausted. Returning to the island 50 year, now accompanied by Barnabas, Mark, overcoming fierce resistance to the Jewish community, as many as seven years preached the Word of God in the synagogues and in the Christian faith drew many residents of the island. But one day, the sorcerer Elymas, unable to resist once sermons Barnabas and Paul, the Apostle decided to take revenge. Minded fanatics crowd grabbed him and threw Valentine in prison, and in the evening brought outside the city and stoned. Waiting for the night, Mark pulled out the body of Barnabas fire on which the Jews tried to burn the apostle, that no one has ever been able to bow to his ashes and buried secretly murdered on the western outskirts of Salamis, resting on his chest, the Gospel of Matthew. It so happened that even after his death, was able to protect Cypriot Barnabas Church, which in the V century Patriarch of Antioch Peter Knafo tried to attach to his throne on the Rights of the diocese. The basis for such action was the allegation that the two Churches have a single evangelist Word of God - the Apostle Barnabas, and after the division of the Roman Empire Cyprus, which became the eastern province, was subordinated territorial Stratig Antioch. It was then that Saint Barnabas came to the rescue. Appeared in a dream to Cyprus Anfemiyu bishop, he showed him the place of his burial, which by that time was thought to be lost. On opening the tomb of the apostle, Anfemy took the saint's relics lie in it and the Gospel of Matthew, and went to Constantinople to seek protection. Legendary gospel, he brought a gift, got into the palace temple Byzantine Emperor Zeno, who commanded the Constantinople Patriarch Acacius convene the Holy Synod, in order to resolve the dispute between the two Churches. Synod affirmed the decision of the Third Ecumenical Council of the autocephalous Church of Cyprus and Zenon not only approved it, but the head of the Church of Cyprus has provided three imperial privileges, still prevails. Archbishop of Cyprus was given the right to subscribe in red ink, wearing a purple robe and the imperial scepter instead of the ordinary bishop's staff. Then the Primate of the Church of Cyprus and received the title of "Blessed." Back on the island, Archbishop Anfemy erected at the burial site of Barnabas majestic temple, placing it the relics of the apostle, and laid next to the monastic buildings and guest rooms for pilgrims, drawn here holiness places. English explorer George Jeffery, many years studying architectural and archaeological heritage of Cyprus, believed that in the original abbey church to the right of the altar was a small chapel decorated with silver ornaments and marble columns destined for sacred relics. Scientists believe that today inscribed in the north wall of the southern parabemy dark green marble column decorated with fine twisted thread, belongs to the early church, built in 477 by Archbishop Anfemiem.
Scientists believe in the X century, there appeared a cross-domed monastery church, affecting its unusual shape and in our days. Originally it was an impressive vaulted basilica as it tripled rugged cross and three transepts. Intersection of the central and lateral naves crowned three domes. In the east, the church building was completed three semicircular apses. Eight massive square columns, grouped by two, separated by the internal space into three chapels. Impressive arches three transepts alternated with narrow aisles by semicircular arches beneath the temple. But at some stage collapsed eastern part of the church building and its dome. And today, modern appearance of the temple is a three-nave vaulted basilica topped only by two domes with a small apse, built later in the majestic arch of the nave. Unfortunately, no exact information about the date of the destruction of the temple and its history is not saved a makeover. And only the inscription at the western portal of the story that the renovation of the monastery, which began in 1674 year continued 16 years. It is known also that the Russian monk Basil Grigorovich-Barsky, who visited the holy abode in 1735 year, in his sketches and descriptions of the monastery, reported that the then state of the holy abode was depressing, and it lived two monks and economy, and the main temple Monastery crowned only two domes. Is no information about the alteration of the monastic buildings during renovations 1756 year and the beginning of XX century. Monastic dvuhkupolny temple, combined in his guise of tradition of Byzantine and Gothic architecture, and today welcomes pilgrims to the right of the east gate, opening the architectural ensemble of the monastery buildings, forming a courtyard holy abode.
Annals of the legendary events of struggle for independence of the Church of Cyprus recorded in monumental frescoes, located in the southern parabeme right of the entrance. Over her paintings for many years worked three brothers lived in a monastery 50 years and received the tonsure at the names of Chariton, Stephen and Barnabas. They created the fresco stories tell of how he blessed Apostle Barnabas Bishop Anfemiya, showed him the place of his burial. Following episodes tell us about finding the relics of St. Bishop and receipt Anfemiem legendary Gospel of Matthew Byzantine Emperor Zeno, behind which in prayerful reverence bowed their heads and members of the royal family in solemn silence froze priests arrived from Cyprus. The fresco, issued to the southern wall parabemy hand icon painter captured the Byzantine emperor Zeno and Archbishop of Cyprus Anfemiya dressed in purple robes and holding the imperial scepter one that symbolizes the eternal unity of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and Constantinople. In the northern parabeme temple are images of saints, the most revered on the island. In strict order they appear on the huge mural that occupies almost the entire eastern wall. Opens a number of John Chrysostom - the Archbishop of Constantinople, named for his eloquence "Golden mouth." Next to him - the Apostle James the Righteous (Adelfoteos), who attended along with Peter and John at the Transfiguration of the Savior and His Supplication in the Garden of Gethsemane when He cried to God to torment cup pass from Him. Below are images of the Holy Great Martyr Sabbas, Cyprus Kendeya righteous, holy Roman soldier Leonti and Rev. Onufriya - Great Hermit, the prince of Persia. And this kind of complete iconostasis dating from XVIII century, images of women-Barbara, Thecla and Marina.
Bishop Barnabas Anfemiyu phenomenon. Fresco (left) meeting with Bishop Anfemiya Byzantine Emperor Zeno. Fresco (right)
Three-tiered wooden carved iconostasis of the central nave is today a collective image, absorbed elements of different-altar screen. This cornices and panels adorned the traditional colors - red, blue, green and gold dominant, floral and geometrical patterns, weaving vine and stylized palmettes. Holy images placed in local, festive and apostolic ranks, mostly dated XIX century, although there are among them earlier. For example, the icon of John the Baptist refers to 1762 year.
Temploni with images of the most revered saints in Cyprus. XVIII century.
After the tragic events 1974 year that split the island into two parts, the monastic life in the holy monastery faded, and in its main temple is a museum of icons, which collected what little remained in the monasteries and churches of the northern coast of Cyprus. Monastic cells and offices of the holy monastery also converted into a museum that demonstrates the archaeological finds from different eras. Ceramic vessels, ritual figurines, ornaments presented here - is frozen music of those ancient times, when a potter's wheel man has created necessary for his life and the life of objects.
Dome Chapel St. Barnabas (left), an underground cave and sarcophagus St. Barnabas (right)
Near the monastery is the tomb of St. Barnabas, which was built over a small domed chapel. From her tiny room steep stairs leads down where in a small underground cave rests sarcophagus covered with a red shroud. It is said to have safeguarded the incorrupt relics of St. Barnabas, although historians debate about the burial place of the apostle continues to this day. Some insist that the holy relics of Barnabas, bishop Anfemiem carried away to Constantinople, remained there. Others believe that they have returned home saint, but disappeared in a whirlwind of turbulent historical events that took place on the island. While this question remains open. But most importantly, that the spirit and the truth of the Apostle certainly here. And it seems that for a moment, through the rustling leaves and carob trees, under which he was buried, suddenly sounds a sermon one of the faithful followers of Christ - the founder of the ancient Church of Cyprus - the Holy Apostle Barnabas.