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Cave Church of Cyprus: the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Sozomen Chrysospiliotissa

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

Cave Monastery of the Blessed Virgin in the village Chrysospiliotissa Deftera (a suburb of Nicosia)

The rapid spread of the new faith and strengthen the persecution of its followers have forced Christians to seek these hidden places that could save them from their pursuers. First asylum for Christians became underground tombs. They that have served them secret haven spacious temple and burial place. However, the location of the catacomb tombs peace officers knew fairly, and stay in them was not always safe. Another sacred place becomes a cave. She and housing, and the temple and the sanctuary and place of childbearing, and the grave. The cave Christ was born in a cave Abraham buried Sarah in her his burial and Abraham himself, and rested in the cave of St. Lazarus resurrected Jesus. Leaving the worldly life with its passions and wrong, in the name of self-surrender to God hermits and ascetics removed far into the mountains where looking for solitude, develop themselves secluded dwellings, which grow and turn into large churches and monasteries.

St. Mary Church Chrysospiliotissa

In the village of Kato Deftera, near Nicosia, among eucalyptus trees and oleander bushes in the cliffs that flank the left bank of the river nestled Pedieos unique church in the name of the Blessed Virgin Gold caves (Chrysospiliotissa). According to legend, the villagers often seen in the mountains mysterious light. One day, the courage, they went in search of a mysterious fire and suddenly stumbled upon a cave carved into the rock, which consisted of three small rooms, connected by a narrow curved corridors. Inside, they discovered an ancient icon of bilateral, radiant flux marvelous light.
On one side of the icon was discharged face Blessed Virgin, breastfeeding Divine Child (rare iconographic image, called "Milkgiver"), on the other - the image of the Virgin Protectress ("a guide to") with the blessing Child. In the XVIII century the famous Cretan painter John Cornaro icon silver plated with gold salary, which captures the Blessed Virgin Mary - Queen of Heaven, sitting on a throne and holding the child Jesus on her lap, topped with a crown. Today, the miraculous icon kept in the church of St. Nicholas in the village of Kato Deftera. And once a year, which marks the great feast of the Assumption, it solemnly brought into the cave monastery.

The interior of the cave temple Virgin Chrysospiliotissa

When and by whom was hewn out of the rock, this monastic refuge, until the story is silent. Discovered by scientists in the main room and two burial cross in one of them, suggest that this place was used as a small monastery of hermits. The biggest cave was converted into a church, the walls of which remain today and fragments of frescoes dating from the XIII - XV centuries. In the altar space can distinguish shapes and faces of the Holy Fathers of the Church. Among them, the apostle Barnabas - the founder of the Church of Cyprus, Bishop Epiphanius - participant of the First Ecumenical Council and rarely seen image of the saint Trifilliosa bishop Ledra (Nicosia). Other frescoes - "Resurrection of St. Lazarus" and "The Transfiguration of Christ" - is now on the restoration.

According to popular legend, the Blessed Virgin Chrysospiliotissa helps man to find a faithful companion of life, preserves and strengthens the marriage bond. And here stretches stream of people to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary, and leaves in the cave monastery as a sign of love and gratitude, supplication and hope for a happy family life many attributes of a wedding celebration.

More recently strengthened the outer walls of the monastic hermitage, updated and ladder consisting of 104 steps leading to the entrance. In the year 1998 grateful parishioners decorated the miraculous source mosaic panel, which posted an image of the Blessed Virgin and Child and Life-giving source.

Cave monastery of St. Sozomen

Cloister of St. Sozomen in the eponymous village near Nicosia / Fresco Reverend Paul of Thebes. X century. Cave monastery of St. Sozomen

Ancient cave recluse Sozomen, carved at the dawn of Christianity in the cliff and recovered in the XIV century as a chapel, near the ruins of an ancient village of the same name, not far from the village of Dali in the suburb of Nicosia. The first mention of the holy common in medieval chronicler of the Cyprus Leonti Maher. In his Chronicles tells the story of how a group of Christians, among whom was the holy Sozomen, after the invasion of the Promised Land of the Gentiles had to leave their country and seek refuge in the lands of Cyprus. Hagiographers centuries and have not come to a consensus on the identity of Sozomen. But the historical evidence shows that the image of a holy hermit is real, and its first images to appear in the churches of Cyprus. His solitary abode is really on the island, and it is already in the X century, archaeologists have proved as served as a chapel. Its walls are decorated with paintings and today, most of which are preserved in the interior of the apse and around the massive tomb. Detail of one of the frescoes, dating from X century, where a group of hermits discharged, put on display in one of the halls of the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia.

On the west wall of the secret chamber of the figure of the Reverend Paul of Thebes. His image, with a long beard, eagle eyes, billowing tunic reflected idyllic version murals Palaeologus dynasty. Part vaulted ceiling stories about the righteous life and miracles performed Sozomen saints whose memory store multiple icons and murals ancient basilicas and vaulted churches of the Troodos.

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