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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Address

E806, Pelentri, Cyprus
See all sites in Pelentri

Details

Founded: c. 1150
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sheila Pizur (Ron) (4 months ago)
Visited on a March Wednesday, after 13:00. The door was closed but a caretaker saw our car in the lot and came to open the door.
George Weeks (18 months ago)
Small church in process of renovation. No wheelchair access. Some interesting murals and screens. Limited opening hours. No toilets. Access from main road via steep village road.
Francois Lagrange (3 years ago)
You have to persist a bit in finding it, up the small very steep road that you don't want to drive into. Walk the 50m- a little hidden gem with very well preserved frescos of the 12-14th century.
Jordan V (4 years ago)
Unesco site of heritage! Just impressive!
Liss Ambres (4 years ago)
Charming little church from the 12th century, down in the village. Worth to be seen for the paintings.
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