Panagia Apsinthiotissa or Absinthiotissa is a Greek Orthodox monastery probably established in the 11h or 12th century as a Byzantine imperial foundation and continued to enjoy a degree of prominence in the Lusignan and Venetian periods. Leontios, the abbot in about 1222, was one of the delegates sent to report the plight of the Orthodox Church under Latin jurisdiction to the Patriarch Germanos II in the Empire of Nicaea. Neophytus, Archbishop of Cyprus, was also in Nicaea at the time, having been banished by the Latin authorities for refusing to take an oath of obedience to the Roman Pontiff. Boustronios tells us that the Queen of Cyprus worshipped at the monastery in 1486, the implication being that Panagia Apsinthiotissa was under the Roman Church. He also reports that pilgrimages were made to Apinthi and Antiphonitis on the fifteenth of August by all the people of Kyrenia. After the Ottoman conquest, the monastery became the property of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and subordinate to the nearby Monastery of Saint Chrysostom in Koutsoventis.
The main church of the monastery appears to have been built in the 12th century and has a cross-in-square plan of the Byzantine type surmounted by a high dome. The narthex, on the west side, has simple Gothic rib vaulting and probably dates to the 15th century. Writing in 1918, George Jeffery describes the establishment as a ruin.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.