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MONASTERY OF AGIOS PANTELEIOMONAS

Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas

The Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas is located in the valley of Achera, and that is why it is called the Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas of Achera.

Historical Background 
Unfolding the historical background of the church, Petros Stylianou cites various documents and researches which prove that the church of the Monastery was built prior to the 18th century. This is indicated on an inscription located at the west entrance of the church. According to this inscription, the church was renovated in 1770, three years after Archbishop Chrysanthos was enthroned. These renovation works were deemed necessary since the older church was about to collapse. No remains of the old church, no original buildings of the monastery, no cells and no historical testimonies have been salvaged. At this point it is worth mentioning that according to Nearchos Clerides, the monastery was constructed in the 15th century and that originally it was inhabited by monks, while later on, in 1970s, it became a nun monastery.

During the reconstruction works, a women’s mezzanine floor was also constructed. This addition, as Stylianou observes, is not often present in Monasteries. In 1774, the church’s iconostasis was gilded, while icons of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, Agios Panteleimonas and Agios Nicolaos were painted at the same time by painter Michalis Thetallos or Thesalonikeas. The cost of the icons was covered by bishop Chrysanthos. There are also older icons, with the oldest one being the icon of Agios Georgios, which was painted in 1684 by Ioannikios, as well as four other icons of the Evangelists which were painted in 1771 by Leontios at the church pulpit. In 1792, Archbishop Chrysanthos funded the creation of a silver-gilded frock which was used to cover the older icon of Agios Panteleimonas.

The old monastery complex consisted of the main church and buildings standing in the northern and eastern side, while in 1989 another annex was added in the southern part of the Monastery. The ground floor of the northern part of the church was divided into storage rooms, a laundry room, rooms with gyles and ovens, as well as a room where sweets where produced. What is also noteworthy is that, according to tradition, one could access the Monastery from the northern side through a crypt which existed during the Turkish occupation. At that time, the entrance of the Monastery was located at the eastern side, while in 1970, when the Monastery was renovated, the entrance was moved to the western side. Moreover, as Stylianou preserves, there used to be an olive-mill at the northeast side of the Monastery which was converted into a storage room.

Nowadays, the church of the monastery is covered by a sloping roof. Externally, it is adorned by carved, acutely angled arched doors, while a gilded iconostasis adorns the interior of the church. The monastery was renovated, as it was mentioned earlier, by Archbishop Makarios in 1970, while in 1986 the southern annex was added. 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that after the Turkish invasion of 1974 the Monastery offered food for one week to approximately 100 people who were refugees from Dikomo, until the Red Cross assumed the supply of food. During the second Turkish invasion, approximately seventy refugees were offered room in the Monastery for 18 months.

Source:
Dr Petros Stylianou, Historical and Archive Editions, Cyprus Basic Library, Lefkosia, 1989

 
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