Church of Timios Stavros

Pelentri, Cyprus

The church of Timios Stavros is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which included nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range. The present form of the church is the result of several additions and alterations, carried out throughout various periods. Originally, it was a single-aisled domed structure, built around the middle of the 12th century and it is possible that it was the church of a cemetery. The original church was destroyed under unknown circumstances. Only the apse survived, which was incorporated in a new church of the same type, built at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. This was the first of a series of interventions, where collapsing parts were either rebuilt or expanded. The north aisle is a slightly later addition but it clearly dates to before the middle of the 14th century, while the south aisle is a 16th century addition. The final result is a three-aisled structure with appealing proportions which manage to conceal its turbulent architectural history.

According to an inscription surviving in the apse, the original wall-painting decoration dates to 1171/2. Fragments of the decoration are preserved on the apse under the layer of the 14th century frescoes. They belong to a style rarely seen in the 12th century wall-paintings of Cyprus, but very common in contemporary churches in Capadocia, Greece and Crete.

The main part of the church of Timios Stavros was decorated during the second half of the 14th century. At least two artists belonging to the same workshop were involved, together with their students. Many donors contributed towards this decoration complex. From these wall-paintings we can distinguish a group which follows the Palaiologan style developed in Constantinople during the 14th century. A second group follows the contemporary local Byzantine tradition, enriched with crusader and Armenian features, both in terms of the style and iconography.

The north aisle, which is more or less contemporary to the previous wall-paintings, served as a private chapel for the family of the Latin feudal lord of the area, Ioannes Lusignan (1353-1374/5). The wall-painting decoration of this aisle is a combination of western and Byzantine features, indicating that the Latin rulers of Cyprus did not necessarily have solely Gothic preferences in art.



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E806, Pelentri, Cyprus
See all sites in Pelentri


Founded: c. 1150
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nick F (2 years ago)
Σύμφωνα με την επιγραφή που σώζεται στην αψίδα του Ιερού Βήματος, η αρχική εικονογράφηση της εκκλησίας χρονολογείται στα 1171/2. Τμήματα από τη φάση αυτή σώζονται στην αψίδα του Ιερού, κάτω από το στρώμα των τοιχογραφιών του 14ου αιώνα. Πρόκειται για μια σπάνια για τις εκκλησίες της Κύπρου τεχνοτροπία του 12ου αιώνα, που μοιάζει με σύγχρονα παραδείγματα από εκκλησίες του ελλαδικού χώρου, της Καππαδοκίας και της Κρήτης.
sorin siluan (2 years ago)
Armenoui Kasparian Saraidari (2 years ago)
It is such a privilege to be able to visit such a monument. A place with rich history and art mastery. We visited the church out of the visitors hours but we could still enter the church. This was due to a very kind local lady that we found through the word of mouth. Totally worth visit as the other church in the village also an UNESCO site of heritage.
James Sweeney (2 years ago)
Incredible history and art combined
Reinhold W (2 years ago)
We arrived here after the church was closed, but a nice elderly gentleman appeared out of nowhere to let us in. The setting is beautiful. The church is set in a small, serene valley, in a small town. It was so peaceful. Off in the distance, we could hear a man singing in Greek. The inside of the church is painted on the walls and ceilings with intricate artwork. It was pretty cool to see.
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