Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Machairas Monastery

The Machairas Monastery (also known as the Panagia tou Machaira Monastery and the Holy Royal Stavropegic Monastery of Maheras) is located near the villages of Deftera and Lazanias, about 40 km from the city of Nicosia, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus.


According to tradition, an icon painted by Luke was secretly transported to Cyprus from Constantinople, and then the icon was hidden in the mountains.

In 1145, the hidden icon was discovered in a cave by two hermits, named Neofytos and Ignatios.  This cave was covered with bushes, and in order to reach the icon, the two men had to cut down the bushes with a knife.  Hence, the icon was named Machairiotissa, since machairi is the Greek word for knife. 

In 1148, Neofytos and Ignatios built a church within the vicinity of the cave and started the Machairas Monastery.

In 1187, Emperor Manuel Komnenos provided funds to build a larger church that was destructed by a fire in 1892.  Thus, the current monastic buildings date back to the early 20th century, when the Machairas Monastery was rebuilt. 

According to another tradition, Grigoris Afxentiou hid within the Machairas Monastery as a disguised monk or his hideout was simply located near the monastery.  As part of the EOKA movement for Cypriot independence, Afxentiou was believed to have fought sixty British soldiers, after his four comrades surrendered, for several hours until his death in 1957.

Since Afxentiou is considered a Cypriot hero, the Machairas Monastery has a massive statue of him with an eagle that was built on the same location that he died.

The Machairas Monastery is an interesting place to visit, while exploring this area of Cyprus.

Site: Machairas Monastery. 

Category: Monastery. 

Location: Near the Deftera Village and Lazanias Village, within the Nicosia district of Cyprus.

Phone Number: 22359334. 

Operating Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM on Monday to Sunday. 

Entrance Fee: Free. 

Date of Visit: 2013.

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