1734

I came to a village called Lefkara, that is the white village, so called for the white clay which is found there. Only Christians live there, and there are no Turks there even today. In that village I spent a day and a night in the house of a Christian.

There are two beautiful churches in the village with cupolas. The most important one, which is a large and most beautiful structure, is dedicated to the Holy, True, Life-Giving Cross of Our Lord.

The cross of Lefkara, 14th century

It contains a priceless treasure, that is a large piece from the Life-Giving Tree, which, as is well known from tradition, Saint Helena, returning from Jerusalem after having obtained the Cross of Christ, deposited there. It is said that it is from the suppedaneum, to which the most pure feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ were nailed, and it has been chipped away like a thin plank, in length and breadth like the eighth part of a sheet of paper. In it there are two small holes made by nails at the time of the Crucifixion of Christ, and the wood appears aged and venerable, and emits a strong fragrance.

This I, the unworthy one, venerated and kissed with my sinful lips.

From there I returned to the monastery of Saint Minas, where I again for the second time worshipped. The True Wood of the Cross is nailed to a huge wooden cross, which is all covered with silver except where the Life-Giving wood is; this is left exposed for the veneration of people …

Let it not be misunderstood: the cross of which I have spoken above is always found inside the church, and I have depicted it outside the church so that it could be seen that in its center is the wood of the True Cross with the two holes made by the nails*.

* The sketch does not survive

‘Now my visions are fulfilled: behold the Cross of the Lord.’ And he puts out his hand and takes the Life-giving Cross. And at once the priests take it, and at once cured twelve sick persons of many sicknesses; people who had a seizure, others with an issue of blood, cripples, paralytics and others. And the report went out into the country round about.

When the bishop of Lefkara heard of it, he went out with his clergy, and many people as well, and they came looking for the Cross, saying, ‘This is (the Cross) which they stole from Togni’. And the boy George was unwilling to give it up, but he took the Cross at once and came to the king, and told him how the matter had befallen.”

Leontios Machairas, Chronicle, §§70-71.

  • Ath. Papageorgiou - the holy cross of lefkara (in greek)

  • T. Papacostas - Byzantine Limassol, pp. 113-116