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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Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sheila Brooks (9 months ago)
The monastery is down a long coastal road, with nothing else as you drive but some hotels and lovely beaches. The monastery is in the process of renovation and has some stunning views. The main church is complete and rather vivid and bright with lots of gold. The chandeliers are beautiful as are the lovely wooden seats. Behind the altar area are very nice pictures set in gold. The pulpits are ornate wooden carved with paintings. Their are information boards outside telling you about the renovations. It is worth the drive to visit. Entrance is by donation and their is plenty of free parking. The area has lots of expensive markets stalls, paid for toilets and buses full visiting. You pass the wild donkeys. Buy some carrots and cucumber as they stand in road and wont move until you feed them.
Costa Constantinides (10 months ago)
After many years we made a visit to Apostolos Andreas Monastery. To get there from Limassol was a long drive of about 220 kilometers. Via Pyla border post and via SBA on our exit. The last 15 kilometers of road is very slow and rough. At times you had to give way to other drivers. One car at a time also beware of stray donkeys. The Monastery floor has been renewed. Under the supervision of the bicommunity who running the church affairs. There are efforts to improve the Monastery. Things are moving faster since 2015. You can go inside the church and purchase candles to light in the church. The sea view is great there is plenty of parking and stalls to purchase souvenirs. The toilet are 500 tl. About 1 EU to get some relief. Clean and modern. You need a few hours to get there.... A wonderful pilgrimage to this Apostolos Andreas Monastery Karpas region of North Cyprus.
Leonie Witte (12 months ago)
Really beautiful place. However, we were unable to enter the monastery as no one was there. We asked some of the people running the market and they said the priest was on his lunch break. We waited over an hour and still no one came so we ended up leaving. The market was cute and the place still is stunning so we enjoyed our little break but it was a shame we couldn't go in. However that said, the way there is beautiful filled with amazing views and donkeys left right and center! Make sure to bring some food for them otherwise they won't let you cross :D
M. Hannig (12 months ago)
A very beautifully renovated church that is still being renovated. Around it is a market for tourists. Beware of the café with gözleme at the very front on the right: ask the prices beforehand, otherwise there is a risk of big rip-offs. Unfortunately, we did not ask beforehand....
Radwa (14 months ago)
Located on the sea shore, so much history. There are two small local coffee shops next to it and a souvenirs kiosk. Many wild donkeys roam around, and cats!! Prices are okay in coffeeshop: 20 tl for turkish coffee 60 tl for nescafe 70 tl for gozleme(traditional breakfast pastry) available in many fillings including (cheese, spinach, potato, sweet cheese) 10 tl for water
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