Cave church dedicated to 318 Godbearing Fathers in Archimandrita, Cyprus

There are apparently very few churches dedicated to the 318 Godbearing Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea but we have recently discovered that there is a cave church that shares the dedication in the Oreites Forest in Cyprus.

Located in the southwest of the community of Archimandrita is the chapel of the 318 Holy Fathers, which has been restored by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities and declared an ancient monument.

There are ancient frescos preserved on its internal walls. The small chapel is a cave carved into a rock with relics of saints within a tomb in the cave. The chapel celebrates on the 5th Sunday after Pascha. There is also a doxology on every Monday of the Paschal season at the cave area. In the past the chapel functioned as a community church with with many worshippers gathering from the neighbouring villages.

According to tradition, some of the fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council, when leaving from Asia Minor while sailing in the sea off the coast of Cyprus were swept ashore to the bay of Pissouri by a storm.

Tradition has it that when the fathers headed in shore it was very dark – they commented that it was “Pissouri” dark (pissouri- dark in Greek-Cypriot Dialect means extremely dark). The name of the village originates from these father’s experience. Next, they headed inland and reached the next community. There, they heard the first cock crow (alector in Greek) and therefore the community was named Alectora. Continuing their course, they reached the next community where they established a monastery. The Mission was headed by an Archimandrite and it is to this rank of the church that our village owes its name.

view from the cave church
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