Church of Timios Stavros tou Agiasmati

Platanistasa, Cyprus

The church of Timios Stavros tou Agiasmati is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range. This church used to be the katholicon (monastery church) of a monastery bearing the same name, built towards the end of the 15th century. When Vassili Barsky, a Russian monk, visited the island in 1735, the monastery was almost abandoned and inhabited by only one monk (who was also the abbot) and a servant. According to researchers, the name 'Agiasmati' derives from the word 'Agiasma' (-atos) (sanctified water, spring or well near a church). Another interpretation is that the name is related to Agiasmati in western Asia Minor, a place related to the capture of Constantinople in 1453. It might be the case that refugees from the above area took shelter in Cyprus and later founded a monastery with the same name in the mountains of Cyprus, in commemoration of their homeland. As far as the rest of the monastic buildings are concerned, only traces of the cells survive to the south of the church.

The church is a single-aisled building with a steep-pitched timber roof covered with flat tiles. The roof extends beyond the main structure to form a portico on all four sides, a feature that is unique in Cyprus. According to an inscription, which survives on the exterior north wall above the entrance, the building was erected with the donation of a priest named Petros Peratis and his wife Pepani. Both of them are depicted on a wall-painting on the south exterior wall, offering a model of the church to Jesus with the mediation of the Virgin. The year of the church's erection is not known, but it is generally accepted that its decoration was completed in 1494. This indirectly indicates a date for the construction of the church.

The interior of the church, including the tie beams that support the wooden roof, is completely painted. These wall paintings are of particular interest since they represent a mixture of Palaiologan and local naive art, blended with Italian Renaissance influences. The painter was Philippos Goul, a hellenised Syrian Orthodox with good education. Even though his mastery of each style is different, the general impression is pleasant and sometimes quite impressive. Goul also painted the church of Agios Mamas in the village of Louvaras.

The paintings unfold in two tiers. In the upper tier multi-person scenes from the New Testament are depicted, whilst the lower tier is decorated with individual figures. The narrative cycle of the Discovery of the Holy Cross, to which the church is dedicated, is located in miniature paintings on the north blind arch. On the bema's apse, the Virgin in the type of Vlachernitissa is depicted.

Wall-paintings also survive on the external face of the west and south walls. The extensive and multi-person Last Judgment scene, which unfolds up to the far end of the gable where Jesus Christ is depicted, is worth mentioning.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

George Hasapakos (11 months ago)
Located about 3km outside the mountainous village of Platanistasa, the 15th century church of Stavros tou Agiasmati is a UNESCO World Heritage site and retains the most complete cycles of mural paintings of the second half of the 15th century on the island. Its name derives from the word 'Agiasma' (-atos) which in Greek means ‘sanctified water, spring or well near a church’. The church used to be a monastery church, but only traces of the cells of the monastic buildings remain to the south of the church. The surviving structure is a single-aisled building with a steep-pitched timber roof covered with flat tiles that extends beyond the main structure to form a portico on all four sides - a feature that is unique in Cyprus. According to an inscription, the building was built with the donation of a priest named Petros Peratis and his wife Pepani, who are both depicted on a fresco offering a model of the church to Jesus with the mediation of the Virgin. Also noteworthy is the extensive and multi-person Last Judgment scene, which unfolds up to the far end of the gable where Jesus Christ is depicted. Whilst the year of the church's erection is not known, it is generally accepted that its decoration was completed in 1494.
Xenios Koumides (13 months ago)
Beautiful church in nature's cradle.
Andreas Efthymiou (14 months ago)
AGIAMATI CROSS FREE MONEY INVESTMENT IN ITS FULL RESTORATION AND RESTORATION IN CURRENT CONDITION SPECIAL PLATE IN THE CORRIDOR WITH REFERENCE TO THE EFTHYMTHOS FAMILY
鈴木洋 (21 months ago)
The entrance was closed, but if you call the phone number next to it, it will come to open the lock in about 15 minutes, along with the donation box. The inside was dark but he lent me a big lamp. Photography inside the true interior is forbidden, but frescoes just outside (just inside the wooden building) seemed acceptable.
David Lopez (2 years ago)
Uninteresting.. not worth a visit. Much more beautiful churches all around.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kraków Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).

The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.

The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.

On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.

The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.