Location: Near Galata Village on the banks of the Karkoitis River in the Solea Valley

Founding date: According to the dedicatory inscription on the upper part of the exterior west wall, it was built in 1502. It is consecrated to the Virgin Eleousa. It is the main church of a monastery of the same name that was dissolved at the beginning of the 19th century and of which, until approximately 50 years ago, a small two-storey monastery building from the period of the Ottoman rule, survived.

Architecture: It is rectangular, with a semi-circular apse at the eastern end. The other three sides were later surrounded by a U-shaped portico sheltered by the same steep-pitched timber roof with flat tiles that also covered the church whose floors are paved with terracotta tiles.

Wall Paintings: Never entirely decorated, the wall paintings in the church were painted around the time that it was constructed, with the exception of those of Apostle Peter and Paul on the north and south walls respectively that were painted in the 17th century.

The wall paintings are significantly influenced by western painting techniques from the Italian Renaissance with the use of vivid colours and three dimensional scenes.

Two scenes stand out:

  • The enthroned Virgin with the Infant Christ on her lap, flanked by the Archangels Gabriel and Michael that face her holding torches, dressed in richly embroidered garments and,
  • The Communion of the Apostles.

These are considered to be amongst the best examples of the Italo-Byzantine school in Cyprus; a style that combined classical Byzantine elements with those of the Italian Renaissance and first appeared at the end of the 15th century after the Venetians occupied the island in 1489.

The wood-carved iconostasis, re-gilded in 1783, and the Venetian lectern are from the same period as the wall paintings.

Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou

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