Apostolos Andreas Monastery

Rizokarpaso, Cyprus

Apostolos Andreas Monastery is dedicated to Saint Andrew. The monastery is an important site to the Cypriot Orthodox Church. It was once known as 'the Lourdes of Cyprus', served not by an organized community of monks but by a changing group of volunteer priests and laymen. Both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities consider the monastery a holy place.

The monastery was supposedly founded here, as during a journey to the Holy Land, the ship which was transporting Saint Andrew went off course and struck the rocks here. On coming ashore, Andrew struck the rocks with his staff, at which point a spring gushed forth. The waters proved to have healing powers, and restored the sight of the ship's captain who had been blind in one eye. Thereafter, the site became a place of pilgrimage. A fortified monastery stood here in the 12th century, from which Isaac Comnenus negotiated his surrender to Richard the Lionheart. In the 15th century, a small chapel was built close to the shore. The church of the main monastery dates to the 18th century, while the main buildings are 100 years younger.

Mass pilgrimage, however, is only comparatively recent, dating back to the 20th century. The story is told that in 1895, the son of Maria Georgiou was kidnapped. Seventeen years later, Saint Andrew appeared to her in a dream, telling her to pray for her son's return at the monastery. Living in Anatolia, she embarked on the crossing to Cyprus on a very crowded boat. Telling her story during the journey, one of the passengers, a young Dervish priest became more and more interested. Asking if her son had any distinguishing marks, and on hearing of a pair of birthmarks, he stripped off his clothes to reveal the same marks, and mother and son were reunited.

After the invasion of the Turks 1974, most of the Greek Cypriots in the area were ethnically cleansed and removed to the south, although a few remained in Rizokarpaso. For 30 years, very few pilgrims visited the monastery, but with the opening of the crossing points, this flow is now increasing. The monastery has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years, UN funding is in place to pay for refurbishment, along with the Hala Sultan Tekke near Larnaca. In 2013, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus authorities stated that the monastery will undergo extensive restoration costing more than 5 million Euros.

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Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Paul Crabtree (2 years ago)
Long way to go. Both worth a visit. Watch out for the local market traders flogging rubbish gear.
Jessica Day Kottmann (2 years ago)
St. Andreas was an interesting man. This monastery has been renovated by UNESCO. The very tip of the island. The donkeys are walking all over and searching for carrots.
Konstantin Kravchenko (2 years ago)
The place is really popular, there is nice nature around, but it is not so easy to get there. Huge parking is nearly empty in the winter. The most interesting thing on the way to this place is a lot of donkeys that blocking the road when you are heading to this place and begging for food. They are not aggressive at all, and can be fed just from the car. Be ready for dirtiness on road and around monastery, the rubbish is everywhere. This place would be much better without people :)
Kera A (2 years ago)
Restored monastery by the sea... Good road trip destination. Gorgeous inside. Light a candle... Little marketplace outside. Toilets and resident donkeys.
David Booth (3 years ago)
In the process of being tastefully restored. The inside is well worth the visit, to see the icons and lighting. Beautiful. I'm not entirely sure of the "market" alongside the Monastery. Somewhat "tacky", but the fresh juice stand was very welcome. Also hope some 'UN cash might be spent on the nearby public toilets, which are in need of some attention!
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