the basilica of Kampanopetra

Brass cross (Sal. 5334)
(cross: Georges Roux, Salamine de Chypre. XV. La basilique de la Campanopétra, Paris 1998, Fig. 200)
Brass cross (Sal. 5334) (cross: Georges Roux, Salamine de Chypre. XV. La basilique de la Campanopétra, Paris 1998, Fig. 200)

Drawing on architectural and archaeological evidence, scholars suggest that the Basilica of Kampanopetra was dedicated to the Holy Cross.

Athanasios Papageorgiou states that “in the south-east of Salamis a large, three-aisled basilica has been excavated, known as the basilica of Kampanopetra. The basilica was built in the 6th century, and it is one of the largest and most magnificent buildings of its time.

Its architecture appears to be influenced by the Basilica of the Resurrection. The existence of a second eastern atrium was due to the existence of a ciborium intended most possibly for the keeping of a yet unidentified relic.”

It is possible that this relic was one connected with the Cross of Christ or the Golgotha.

Part of the ambo, east atrium 
(source: Georges Roux, Salamine de Chypre. XV. La basilique de la Campanopétra, Fig. 173)
Part of the ambo, east atrium (source: Georges Roux, Salamine de Chypre. XV. La basilique de la Campanopétra, Fig. 173)

Holy Cross parish, Famagusta city

Holy Cross church, Famagusta, 2021 (photo Panikos Assiotis)
Holy Cross church, Famagusta, 2021 (photo Panikos Assiotis)

“The church of the ‘Stavros’ at the opposite or southern end of the straggling village of Varosha is an XVIIIth century building with many fragments from Salamis used up in its construction. It is of no interest in itself, but against its west end is a curious little tomb-inclosure or private cemetery containing one grave, on which rests a fine old Roman sarcophagus, which has already been referred to in describing Famagusta Cathedral.”

G. Jeffery, A description of the historic monuments of Cyprus. Studies in the archaeology and architecture of the island, Cyprus 1918, p. 226.

Since the 1974 Turkish invasion until today, the church remains abandoned, its “stones crying out,” awaiting believers and pilgrims to take their crosses and walk in procession.

Holy Cross church, Famagusta, 2021 (photo Panikos Assiotis)

The inhabitants of the city of Famagusta celebrated with devotion the feast days of the Holy Cross. The diving of the Cross in the sea of Famagusta on the day of Epiphany was an event of great significance.

Epiphany in Famagusta, 1965

Video

© "Digital Herodotus" - CyBC. Used with permission.

the path of relics from the occupied famagusta

(© Byzantine Museum, Archbishop Makarios III Foundation)
(© Byzantine Museum, Archbishop Makarios III Foundation)

The Crucified

16th century: The unknown Cypriot painter creates the Crucified to be placed in the iconostasis of the old church of Saint John the Forerunner (Kourratha) in the city of Famagusta.

1960s: The new church of Saint John is consecrated, for the old has been destroyed. The Crucified is one of the few relics preserved, and it is taken to the newly established church.

The cross is brought to Nicosia, in the Holy Archbishopric, for restoration, at the instruction of Athanasios Papageorgiou, who considered it an excellent example of 16th century art, combining artistic elements of the Palaiologan and Cypriot tradition of the time.

1974: The new church of Saint John is destroyed during the events of the Turkish invasion. The church functioned as a so-called “icon museum” from 1994 until 2003, by the Turkish troops.

Today: The Crucified was exhibited at the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation (BM086). In May 2022 it was bestowed to the Holy Bishopric of Constantia and Ammochostos. It awaits to follow the path of return to the city of Famagusta.

THE PATH OF THE REFUGEES

After the 1974 Turkish invasion and the occupation of Famagusta, following the path to exile as refugees, people manage to bring with them a few relics from their churches.

A Crucified and the “Lypera”, dating from 1890, have been rescued and have been brought from the church of Saint Marina to the church of Panagia Trachia in Achna.

A processional cross and a sanctification cross from Acheritou are still in use. A gospel book from Arnadi, having the Crucifixion on its cover has been preserved by the people and has been restored.

A pectoral cross, with part of holy wood, was one of the very few relics of the three fathers of the Monastery of the Apostle Barnabas, Stepanos, Chariton, and Barnabas, could take with them, when they were evicted from their monastery in 1976. The cross has been given to Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia and Ammochostos, a former member of the monastery, and under the spiritual guidance of the three fathers.

(© Holy Bishopric of Constantia and Ammochostos)

Read more about the relics in the Exhibition Catalogue:

  • GEORGE ROUX - Salamine de Chypre. XV. La basilique de la Campanopétra

  • Campanopetra- europeana