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Churches

Church of Saint Catherine (Panagia Chrysokava)

The medieval church of Saint Catherine is located in the area of Chrysokava, very close to the beach and northeast of the carven church of Saint Mavri. It is a small dimensional singled-room church with an arched roof which Gunnis dates back to the 15th century. Gunnis also mentions a grave, which projects on the external of the south wall, and which he believes it belongs to the owner of the church. On the south wall there was a stone-made carved cross on the transom of the entrance. Local people used to pray in the church, pleading Virgin Mary to protect their relative seamen. Due to this reason, confusion has been created between sources, some of which claim that the church was dedicated to Panagia (Virgin Mary) Chrysokava, guardian of seamen. Tarsouli states while referring to this church, that the women of Kyrenia had the custom to spread the sheets of the wedding bed before the wedding ceremony so that they would dry up after they had been washed. In this way, the wedding would become blessed and solid by Virgin Mary. Tarsouli also mentions the existence of a wild fig-tree outside the church, on the branches of which believers would hang bands and little children’s clothes as vows.

Today, the fate of the church is unknown since it is situated in an inaccessible zone of the occupying Turkish army.

Bibliography:

Gunnis 1936 (31973), 128. Tarsouli 1955,402-403.

 

Church of Saint George (parochial)

The church is located in Pano Kyrenia, at the junction of Saint George and Namik Kemal streets and it is one of the two parochial churches of the town.

According to the owner’s inscription, the church of Saint George was built by the residents of Pano Kyrenia in 1917, on the ruins of an older church. This church was most possibly medieval if we consider the fact that Pano Kyrenia, mainly known as ‘Riatikon’ or ‘Rogiatikon’, used to be a royal farmstead during the medieval years. The completion of the church was accomplished thanks to the generous sponsorships of Georgios Michaelides (Hadjigiorkis) and his wife’s Maria from Thermeia in 1924, during the prelacy of Makarios Myriantheos.

Architecturally, the church is a single-naved basilica, whose upper structure consists of three ogive groined-vaults with reinforcing arcs. These reinforcing arcs redound in pallets on the north and south walls of the church.

A caltrop window unwraps on the apse of the Holy Bema. Projective antae made of coigns are created on the edges of the apse’s sides, which are connected to each other with arcs, this way creating “blind” arches.

The doors and windows of the church are characterized by an immense classicism. They are crowned by entablatures and frontispieces which are framed by columns with capitals. The capitals of the northern side, which faces towards the street, are more meticulous. Moreover, the order of the northern side capitals is Ionic.

These neoclassical elements which are added to the door cases, offer grace to the external view of the church, this way making its large surfaces lighter, transforming the church into a neoclassical monument.

Internally, the church was veneered with white floating screed while the iconographical ornament is absent, a characteristic of most of the churches of this type. The church maintains up until today the ecclesiastical utensils, the furnishing and its carven iconostasis with the portable icons while waiting for the return of the Kyrenians and the day that there will be a mass again in it. Works for the renovation of the church have begun recently. Verbal testimonies given before 1974 state that even the Turks of Kyrenia would devoutly light their candle at the church of Saint George.

 

 

The church of Saint Mavri and Chrysokava

The ancient Christian cemetery of the region known as Chrysokava, is situated east of the medieval castle of Kyrenia. It is a place with ancient quarries which were used by the first Christians of the area for their worshipping needs and their burials, using the already carven tombs of the Roman years or by digging new ones. Crosses and other Christian symbols are obvious in the narrow tombs (or arkosolia) which are considered as some of the most ancient Christian remains in the Kyrenia District.

Frescos are preserved in the chapel of Saint Mavra, which stylistically refer to respective Capadocian frescos and which are dated back to the tenth century. On the erratic and shallow dome above the tomb ~ Chancel Table a fresco excerpt was preserved which depicted the right hand of Jesus Christ while blessing. Beneath the arm of Jesus Christ, the remains of frescos depicted the head of Archangel Gabriel on an ochre-coloured medal. Another extant section, on the upper left of Archangel Gabriel, which depicted an angel’s chest with an ochre cord on an azure medal, suggests that the non extant fresco of Jesus Christ was circularly surrounded by many angels on medals. To be precise, it was a depiction of the Almighty Jesus Christ, the earliest we have in the monumental painting of Cyprus. The Resumption of Jesus Christ is depicted on the domed roof of the mortuary chamber, which functions as the main church of the chapel. Jesus Christ, who prevails in the whole composition, is seated on a rainbow and is surrounded by an oval starry and in azure depth glories. The glory is held by four angels. The rendering is linear and plasticity is absent in its symbolisation. The scene of the Resumption of Christ continues on the side walls of the carven chapel.

Today, the fate of the semi-carven chapel, which was preserved until 1974 in a semi ruined condition, is unknown, since it is situated in an inaccessible zone of the occupying Turkish army.

 

Church of Saint Demetrios

It is situated on the lower part of the mountain slope, northwest of ‘Tziklos’. It is stated that buried ecclesiastical utensils have been discovered in the chapel.

Bibliography:
Katselli 21979, 40
Ch. A.

ιοο. Church of Saints Steganon
The derelict chapel is situated at the bank of the arroyo of Kyrenia, at about 1500 metres from the coast which is near the property that Mitzis donated to the Municipality of Kyrenia.

Bibliography:
Katselli 21979, 38
Ch. A.

 

 

Church of Saint Barbara

It is built on the ruins of an anterior medieval church, west of Aristeidou Street and east of Isocratous Street. The church was renovated a few years before the Turkish invasion by George Rossides. It is a singled-room church, with an arched roof and a rectangular ichnography, on which a semi circular apse of the Holy Bema is added. It is built with reinforced concrete and it is painted in white. A small belfry used to stand on the southeast corner of the church. Windows and entrances with lowered arcs are opened in the church. Today, the chapel has been turned into a mosque, while a metallic pyramid has been placed on the belfry which has been built in, this way turning it into a minaret.

Bibliography:
Pachoulides, 2001, 138.

 

Church of Saint George

Opposite Manniford’s mansion, at the end of Elladas Street, there was a small chapel dedicated to Saint George. In 1974, only a small underground part of the building with dimensions of approximately 2x2 metres was still standing from the entire church.

Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Glykiotissa

The chapel is built on the western coast of the town of Kyrenia, north of the street which leads from Kyrenia to the village of Agios Georgios. According to a version, the chapel received the annomination ‘Glykiotissa’ (Dulcifying) because it dulcified the pain of everybody who turned to her. A second version explains that the naming of Virgin Mary derives from her sweet holy water, which spurted beside the salty wave. ‘Glykiotissa’ is also encountered under the annomination ‘Chrysoglykiotissa’ which derives from ‘Chrysopolitissa’ and ‘Chrysokava’. The first component of the word, ‘chryso (gold)’, usually refers to heirlooms of the church which are coated with silver-plate and generally to the coatings of pilgrimage icons.

‘Glykiotissa’ is a small singled-room church with an arched roof, built with processed rectangular stones.

 

Church of Panagia Chrysopolitissa (ancient Metropolis)

The church is the ancient Metropolis of Kyrenia. It is situated on a high point of the town, above ‘Tripiti’, west of the Muslim mosque and very close to the harbour. The northern section of the church appears to be the primary one and is most probably dated back to the period of the Frankish occupation. The wall building consists of well squared sandstones.

During the period of the Turkish occupation, the church was expanded towards the south and became double-aisled.

 

 

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