Stavrovouni Monastery

Set high on a mountain top this is a place of pilgrimage for many who come to see a piece of the Holy Cross.

This monastery is recognised as one of the most important religious sites in Cyprus and it sits high atop the Mount of Stavrovouni. Built at the order of Saint Helen the mother of the Emperor Constantine the Great in 327AD. Helene had gone to Mount Golgotha where Jesus was crucified and had discovered relics related to his death, there were the four nails which were hammered into the feet and hands of Jesus and the cross on which Christ was actually crucified on. Returning home by sea, her ship was struck by a terrible storm and Helen prayed to the Lord that she would establish a monastery in Cyprus; the Lord heard her plea and her ship then sailed safely into Cyprus.

Helene was then visited in a dream by an angel who instructed her to build the monastery and leave part of the Holy Cross within it. In the morning Helen found the cross had disappeared and later that night, people were able to see a brilliant light coming from the top of the Mountain, the Cross had somehow been brought there, and this was where the monastery was then built and named Stavrovouni or ‘The Cross on the Mountain’.

Invaders of course kept coming to Cyprus and in 1426 it was the Egyptian army who not only stole the Cross but also destroyed the original Monastery, but again, miracle came about as the Cross once again mysteriously re appeared.Sadly the monastery could not survive neither the invaders nor a number of devastating earthquakes and today only the foundations of the original structure remain. The new monastery was built in the 18th century and today the monks in residence still carry on the ancient tradition of Icon painting and the making of incense, and as for the holy relics, well, here visitors can view a small piece of the ancient cross in a silver frame.Unfortunately the monastery is only open to male visitors as women are not allowed to enter.

Historical Landmarks