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 μαχαÎ¯ρι (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.References:
The Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.
Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98-117), Hadrian (117-138) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180), and is thus a collage. The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia, reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch.
The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. Above the archways is placed the attic, composed of brickwork reveted (faced) with marble. A staircase within the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, on the west side, facing the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum.