Machairas Monastery

Troodos, Cyprus

Machairas lies at an altitude of about 900 m and was founded at the end of the 12th century close to the current village of Lazanias. Legend has it that an unknown hermit smuggled one of the 70 icons said to have been painted by Luke the Apostle secretly from Asia Minor to Cyprus. This icon of the Virgin Mary remained in its hiding place until the arrival of two other hermits from Palestine in 1145: Neophytos and Ignatius who stumbled across the icon in a cave. To reach it, they had to machete their way into the cave through the thick plant growth, so the icon assumed the name 'Machairotissa' in reference to the Greek word for knife μαχαίρι (Makhaira). The whole monastery founded on this site takes its name from this icon.

Following the death of Neophytos, Ignatios travelled with Prokopios (another hermit) to Constantinople in the year 1172 where they succeeded in obtaining financial assistance from the then Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos. The monastery was also granted ownership of the entire mountain on which it is now situated and the status of stavropegion (meaning it remained independent of the area bishopric). The initial monastery was then enlarged by the monk Neilos in the early 13th century. He became the first abbot of the monastery (later he even became bishop of Tamassos). The monastery received further grants from two other Byzantine emperors: Emperor Isaac II Angelos granted cash and land in Nicosia and Emperor Alexios III Angelos donated 24 serfs.

The monastery has a rectangular layout and a red-tiled timber roof. The main entrance faces towards the east; a second faces due west. The supporting buildings and monks' cells are built around a centrally located church designed in Byzantine style. The main aisle of the church is lined with an attractive row of columns. It is covered by a dome and the large tiled roof. The interior of the church is decorated with religious icons, chandeliers, stone floors and wall frescoes. As expected, the icon of the Virgin Mary takes a prominent position. Currently the monastery holds 20-30 Orthodox 25 monks who live off of agricultural activities.

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Address

E4, Troodos, Cyprus
See all sites in Troodos

Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Cyprus

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

hawkeye hawkeye (21 months ago)
Machairas Monastery is situated on a mountain in a dense forest. It is a unique monastery worth visiting. The views are stunning. A perfect drive with small picturesque villages for stopovers. Should call to find out the time it is open and there is a dress code. The monument site where Greek-Cypriot hero Grigoris Afxentiou sacrificed his life fighting British colonialism on a hill outside the Monastery
George Kouppas (21 months ago)
Atmospheric. Really stunning temple. Respect the holiness of the place.
Nina Maxim (2 years ago)
It's stunning! Quite far from everything, it's well worth the drive
Adrian Walter (2 years ago)
Wonderful place, full of peace and reverence. If you want to go for the vespers, they are generally at 5pm but it is always best to ring a few days before to check. (22 359334) The call will go to voicemail but if you ask the question and leave your number they will call you back. Saturday is reputedly the best evening to go but they chant every evening.
panicos kyriacou (2 years ago)
One of the most famous holy monastery you can visit. A unique Peacefully place .A perfect place trip for your weekend .The surrounding view is excellent. If you go once you want a go again. Highly recommended !!
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