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The Monastery of the Holy Cross and the traditions from the Byzantine Era

The village of Omodos, in Limassol, has one of the most historic and ancient monasteries of the island. The Monastery of the Holy Cross, though overwhelmingly dominating the heart of the community, didn’t always have this look. It was developed during the Byzantine period and has undergone tremendous changes. However, it managed to maintain its position to the village, counting hundreds of centuries of life.

The history of the monastery starts from the Byzantine years, with the tradition that accompanies its construction, being alive until today. According to the tradition, residents of the neighboring villages, which later disappeared, had observed a strange phenomenon for many consecutive nights. At the spot where the monastery is built today, among shrubs, they were seeing a burning fire, but when they were approaching the area, they couldn’t find anything. The phenomenon had caused their curiosity and so one day, they decided to dig at the specific point. Surprised, they discovered beneath the land, a small cave, which had contained the Cross.

As the tradition continues, the residents, wishing to express their gratitude to God, they built a chapel above the cave and kept the precious cross, which became a holy worhsip for them. The chapel was expanded in the following years and turned into a monastery, possessing a great fortune.

Still, the church was connected with a great personality from the Byzantium, the Saint Helen. According to the tradition, the Saint, during her visit to the village, left to the monastery a piece of the Holy Wood. Afterwards, during the Ottoman domination, the monastery managed to maintain its operation, assuring immunity from the Sultan, while as estimated, in 1917, the building was abandoned by the monks and turned into a parish.

In 1850 AD, the monastery was completely renovated, taking a more modern view. Today, the monastery of the Holy Cross is housed in 2 floors building with tall, stone-built cells, vaulted arches, hostels and a large courtyard. Although through the centuries, its form has changed significantly, the sacredness that follows it remains the same, and thus, the monument is considered an important part of the cultural heritage not only of Limassol, but of the entire island.

* NOTE: The articles of the Project "History of Limassol" present information that has emerged from historical research thus far. Any new data is embedded into the articles, once it has been confirmed.

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