Kykkos Monastery (or the Holy, Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of Kykkos) is located in the forest of the Troodos Mountains. The Monastery of Kykkos, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is home to one of the three icons attributed to the Apostle Luca. The monastery is the richest and most lavishly adorned Monasteries in Cyprus and tourists and locals visit it by the busload. It is located in the Marathasa region on a mountain peak at an altitude of 4,320 feet.
The Byzantine emperor, Alexios Komnenos built the monastery in the 11th century. One of the icons in the church which was gifted by Alexios is the icon of the Virgin Mary which according to legend was created by the Apostle Luca. This icon is revered by the locals as a holy miracle-working icon. The icon, which was placed in the iconostasis of the main church, is hidden by a velvet veil and according to legend, anyone who viewed the face of the Virgin would be stricken with misfortune. To the right of the icon, there is a black cast of a human hand which is said to belong to a visitor who touched the icon.
There are many stories of miracles that have been attributed to this holy icon. Some of these have been chronicled by the monastery and can be seen today. There are stories of exorcisms, sick people being healed, infertile women having children and rainfall amid a destructive drought. The monastery has been involved in fires that ravaged the region on four separate occasions and each time the building remained unscathed. The monastery of Kykkos has one of the most ornate churches in Cyprus. The main entrance is a portal which is decorated with images of the Virgin Mary, Christ the Savior and the Apostles Peter and Paul. The refectory is decorated with the holy images of Cypriot saints and scenes from the New Testament.
The Archeological Museum, which was founded in 1995 is located in the northern part of the monastery. Here you will find a great collection of religious art which have a connection to the Byzantine Empire. There are also books, oil lamps, chandeliers, candle holders, crosses and many other items of interest. The monastery houses monk cells, service facilities and a library that has rare church publications. The frescoes of the first-floor gallery depict the history of the monastery and the miracles performed by the icon of the Virgin Mary. Some of the frescoes in the church date back to the 11th century and some were restored in the 18th century.
The monastery has guest rooms and pilgrims who visit the monastery are welcome to spend the night. There is also a stone chapel on the Throni Hill which is located next to the tomb of Archbishop Makarios III who was the first president of Cyprus. Archbishop Makarios III started his ecclesiastical career there as a monk in 1926. He remained fond of the place and returned there many times. His request to be buried there materialized after his death in 1977. His tomb lies 3 km west of Kykkos monastery and remains a popular visitor’s destination.
The monastery is world famous amongst Orthodox parishioners and is well worth visiting. There are some guided tours available from most city centers that could pick you up from your hotel or residence. But if you want to drive there, the trip will take you through some of the most picturesque mountain views. The monastery is highly revered and you will be expected to dress respectfully before you enter the church.
Tel: +357 22942726, Fax: +357 22942744
Opening Hours: Summer: 10:00 am until 6:00 pm
Winter: 10:00 am until 4:00 pm
Entrance Fee: €5
(Closed on the Saturday before Easter and on Easter Sunday)
Photography is not permitted. The monastery is open daily during the daytime. There is a strict dress code. You could be turned away if you are wearing short, or uncovered shoulders. It is best for ladies to take a cover or shawl if they wish to visit the church.