The monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis (St. John Lampadistis) is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range.
The exact founding date of the monastery is unknown. The katholicon (monastery church), which is dedicated to Saint Herakleidios, is dated to the 11th century. Among the wall-paintings of the narthex there is an inscription, dated to the 15th century, which describes this church as “katholiki”, i.e. the principal parish church of the village. According to other written sources the monastery functioned until the beginning of the 19th century. Since then it has been used as a church. In the middle of the 19th century a room of the monastic buildings was used as a classroom for the children of Kalopanagiotis and other neighbouring villages.
The group of buildings which survives today is the result of constructions and renovations of different periods. The main monastery church is a domed cross-in-square structure, dated to the 11th century. In the 12th century the chapel of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis was added to the north of the first church, above the tomb of the Saint. This second chapel collapsed and was almost entirely rebuilt in the 18th century. In the middle of the 15th century a common narthex was built to the west of the two churches.
During the second half of the 15th century a vaulted chapel was added to the north of that of Saint Ioannis. It became known as the 'Latin chapel' because of the assumption that it was built for the Latins (Catholics). Sometime between the 15th and the beginnings of the 18th century), a timber roof covered with flat hooked tiles sheltered the entire roof complex . As a result of its tripartite character, the building acquired an external image of a large building covered with a timber roof.
The wall-paintings of the monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis are in accordance with its architectural history. The apse of the southern church of Agios Herakleidios, as well as some other parts, preserve fragmentary scenes dated to the 11th and 12th century. The rest of the church was painted in the 13th and 14th century. These frescoes are an important group and include some rare representations, as is the depiction of the Holy Handkerchief on the north pier supporting the dome.
The decoration of the narthex belongs to a later date and is the work of an artist from Constantinople, who fled to Cyprus after the fall in 1453. These wall-paintings follow the trends of the Byzantine capital, but are not of such high quality.
On the contrary, the frescoes of the 'Latin' chapel, (dated to around 1500), belong to the 'Italo-byzantine' style, which combines Byzantine and Italian Renaissance elements. In fact, it is the most complete set of this style in Cyprus. The “Latin” chapel, if it is so, denotes the coexistence of the two rites under the same roof and reflects the atmosphere of tolerance which prevailed in Cyprus after the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439).
Worth mentioning is the wooden templon screen, dated to the 13th -14th century, with painted decoration imitating coats-of-arms. It is in fact the oldest wooden templon of Cyprus. Another important element of the monastery is the relic of Saint Ioannis Lambadistis, which is preserved in a precious reliquary. It is in a special niche and on the wall above it there are many signatures of eponymous and anonymous pilgrims and travelers who had visited the monastery in the past.
Apart from the complex of the three churches there are other monastic buildings including cells, auxiliary rooms and an oil press. One of the rooms is used today to house icons from the monastery as well as other churches of the village of Kalopanagiotis.References:
The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.
In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.
The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.
In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.
Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.
In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.