Important Christian Monument Discovered in Cyprus



An important Christian site has just been discovered in Cyprus with mosaics which bear clear inscriptions in Greek, according to an Athens Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) report.

The excavation, conducted on the Akrotirio peninsula by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, began in 2007. The twelfth round of excavations has now been completed, and its findings are being recognized for their great historical significance.

The recently-uncovered mosaic, which is in excellent condition, bears the Greek inscription, “Lord, help those who fear Thy Name”.

The archaeological site includes a complex of two temples, totaling about 100 meters (300 feet) in length, on either side of an atrium, with areas to the south and east remaining to be investigated.

However, a second atrium has begun to be uncovered to the north side of the eastern temple.

The first temple, which was unearthed between 2007-2010, belongs to a three-aisled basilica with a transverse aisle, and is 36 meters wide and 29 meters long. It does not have the prominent arch which forms part of a central elevated platform.

All the interior floors are completely covered in mosaics.

Also important is the “presence” of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610-641), who had been connected with the island and with Cyprus Patriarch Ioannis personally. Also, a bust of Alexander the Great on a plaque indicates the influence of Hellenism.

The unique nature of the entire complex in its architectural layout, as well as its wealth of decoration, confirm that “this is a top monument of Christianity, of the times of Emperor Heraclius, when the empire was fighting a fierce war against Persia” according to its lead archaeologist.

Dimitris Triantafyllopoulos, former professor of Byzantine archeology at the University of Cyprus, told AMNA that “this is a monument of martyrdom, a site of burial and worship of holy persons, similar to the site of St. Minas of Egypt.”