The church of Panagia tis Aggeloktistis is situated in the northwestern end of the village of Kiti, 12 kilometres to the northwest of the city of Larnaka and the ancient city of Kition. It was built in the 11th century over the ruins of a 5th century early Christian basilica. The basilica had a semi-circular synthronon, still surviving in the bema of the 11th century church. According to local tradition, the residents of ancient Kition moved to Kiti in order to escape the Arab invasions. In Kition they decided to erect a church in honour of the Virgin (Panagia). While building the church, they realised that the foundations had moved to a different location overnight. After the miracle had occured the villagers then changed the location of the church and noticed that an army of angels was coming down at night to build it; hence the name 'Aggeloktisti' ('built by Angels').

The architectural plan of the church belongs to the type of the domed, cross-in-square structure. Its current form is a result of later additions and alterations. In the 12th century, a barrel-vaulted parekklesi (chapel) was built to the north of the temple, dedicated to the healer saints Anargiroi, Kosmas and Damianos. Medieval tombs were found outside the northern side of the chapel, and it is possible that it had a funerary character. In the end of the 13th/beginning of the 14th century, another chapel (the so-called Latiniko parekklesi (Latin Chapel), was built to the south of the church of Panagia, in order to serve the religious needs of the then rulers of Cyprus. Three coats-of-arms still survive above the chapel's entrance. One of them belongs to the rich Frankish family Gibelet, owners of the chapel. The inscribed tombstone of Simone Renier de Gibelet, who died in 1302 still survives inside the chapel. It is quite possible that the chapel was contemporary to her burial and that it also had a funerary character.

The interior of the church is decorated with significant frescoes of the 13th century, icons dated to various periods and the famous mosaic of Panagia tis Aggeloktistis. The mosaic is on the conch of the apse, inside the bema. It is considered to be one of the most significant and elaborate wall mosaics of Early Christian art. It depicts the Virgin standing, holding baby Jesus in her left arm, with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel on either side. It is the oldest surviving monumental representation of the standing Panagia Aristerokratousa. On the inscription she is referred to as "H AGIA MARIA" (Holy Mary). This creates difficulties as far as the theological interpretation of the inscription is concerned, since during that period Panagia is encountered as Agia Maria only in the Monophysite districts of Anatolia. This particular representation of Panagia is probably the forerunner of the later known type of Panagia Odegetria. In the Latin chapel's sacristy, twenty-one portable icons are kept.
Church of Panayia Angeloktisti in Kiti villageChurch of Panayia Angeloktisti in Kiti village Church of Panayia Angeloktisti in Kiti village Church of Panayia Angeloktisti in Kiti village Church of Panayia Angeloktisti in Kiti village

District: Larnaka

Τelephone: 24424646

Opening Hours Daily: 7:30-12:00, 14:00-16:00

Admission: Free

Wheelchair accessibility

 
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