Holy Cross with fragment of holy wood (© Holy Monastery of Stavrovouni)
Holy Cross with fragment of holy wood (© Holy Monastery of Stavrovouni)

“Also there are the Cross of Olympas, which is called the Great Cross, as is related above,

and the Cross made Manifest,

the Cross of Psoka,

the Church of the Cross of the man called Koka, and from it flows fragrant oil,

and the Cross of Lefkara.

And they all contain Wood of the Cross and work marvellous miracles”

Leontios Machairas, Chronicle, §38

A widely known hagiographical text, describing the events of the Discovery of the Holy Cross, is the De inventione sanctae crucis by the Cypriot Alexander Monk, composed in the 6th century.

Historiographies, chronicles, and travellers’ accounts, either composed in Cyprus or referring to it, record the tradition of the arrival of Saint Helena in Cyprus in the 4th century, after the Discovery of the Holy Cross and the crosses of the two thieves in Jerusalem. Her presence in Cyprus is associated with the foundation of monasteries and churches, for example Stavrovouni, Omodos, Tochni and Kouka, and the dedication of parts of Holy Wood and parts from the Cross of Christ.

Saint Helena founded the Monastery of Stavrovouni, where is the “Great Cross”, a statement firstly reported by the Russian monk Daniel (1106). According to tradition, Saint Helena built a bridge and a church in Tochni, where she deposited a cross with a fragment from the Holy Cross, the “small” Cross, that works many miracles.

During the Frankish rule of Cyprus, the Latins were questioning the miracle-working power of the Cross. The stealing of the cross of Tochni in the 14th century, its path from Tochni to Kalamoulli, Lefkara, Famagusta, and Nicosia, and other episodes, are firstly described in detail in Leontios Machairas’ work and are later recorded by other chroniclers and historiographers, for example, Steffano Lusignano, Neophytos Rodinos, Archimandrite Kyprianos. These are preserved as a tradition until today in Cyprus.

Alexander Monk

De inventione sanctae crucis

leontios machairas





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ιστορια χρονολογικη της νησου κυπρου

  • saint helena and cyprus - polignosi (in greek)

  • holy cross tochni - polignosi (in greek)

  • cross revealed - polignosi (in greek)