Church of Panagia Chrysolofitissa (Lofou)

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When approaching to Lofou village, the tiled roof and the beautiful belfries of the church, dedicated to the Annunciation of Mary, are among the first things that will catch your eye. It is built on a small hill on the west side of Lofou, looking over the entire village. The length of it reaches 3,5 meters and its width is 13,3 meters.

The building of the main hall began 1854 and was concluded in 1872. For the building process all the residents of Lofou worked as volunteers, with lots of passion. The technicians were from out of the village. Interestingly enough, it has been witnessed that when a rich member of the community was asked to contribute by transporting and paying for some water for the building process, he preferred to use wine instead, since he had it in plenty and its price was quite low.

The church has a single aisle inside, where one can see some visible influences from the Gothic art, especially on the temple’s roof. The artistic wooden templum on the east side of the temple and the master throne are creations of Eftichios Leptourgos from Larnaca. The interior of the church is also attributed to the work of another great artist, Othon Giavopoulos, grandfather of the former President of the Republic of Cyprus, Giorgos Vasileiou, who painted all the murals in the church between 1910 and 1919. Inside the holy area there is also a picture of Mary dated back in the 11th century, while in the temple there are also several pictures dated in the 19th century and a picture of Mary, which Robert Gunnis dated back in the 16th century.

 On the exterior of the church, there are 2 stone built belfries, built back in 1910. The eastern belfry was decorated with 8 lions and 4 angels. Due to an issue on the belfry, the lions had to be removed and 4 of them are embellishing the entrance of the church, while the other 2 of them are at the fountain in the yard. The artistic, threefold belfry hosts a rather large bell with a deep sound. In older times, when the bell would ring, people would hear it all the way to Lania village, Kivides and maybe even to Koilani. The bell on the single belfry was also used as a bell for the school.

The tradition around the construction of the church: Locals say that some shepherds used to live at Foinikas area (south of Lofou) in the “Chatziroussos cave” and they would see a light coming from across the cave. Curious enough, they decided to look around in the dense plantation and they found Mary’s picture. They moved the picture in their cave, but the morning after the picture was missing and it was again found on the spot where the light was shining. According to the legend, the shepherds cleaned up the area and they built a small house. They placed the picture inside the house, next to a candle. Later on, the church was built in that place.

Further explore the beautiful village of Lofou with a click here.

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