Wednesday, September 14

Saint Paul's Pillar

Paphos (also known as Pafos) is a coastal city, located in the southwestern region of Cyprus.  It's divided into two areas: Pano Paphos (also known as Ktima) and Kato Paphos.  Pano Paphos is the main residential area of the city, while Kato Paphos is the main tourist area.

Throughout the city of Paphos, there are numerous historical ruins and cultural sites from various time periods.  Some of the sites to visit in Kato Paphos include the Agia Kyriaki Church, Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins, Gothic Church Ruins, Saint Paul's Pillar, Frankish Baths, and the Agios Solomonis Catacomb.

The Agia Kyriaki Church was built in the 16th century in present-day Kato Paphos.  Currently, the Anglican Church of Paphos utilizes this church building.  The Agia Kyriaki Church was built on the ruins of the largest Early Byzantine Basilica on the island of Cyprus, as well as the ruins of a Gothic Church.  However, the ruins of both these ancient churches are quite difficult to differentiate, since the ruins are located very close to each other.

The Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa dates back the 4th century AD.  It was originally built with seven aisles, and then it was reduced to five aisles during the 6th century.  Mosaics covered the entire floor of the basilica, but only some of the mosaics are still preserved throughout the ancient church ruins.  During the 7th century, this basilica was destroyed, and it's now in ruins.

The Gothic Church, also now in ruins, was built in the 14th century on the north side of the basilica.  When Cyprus was controlled by the Ottoman Turkish rule, this Gothic Church was converted into a mosque.  Eventually, the church turned mosque was destroyed in the 16th century.

Also, near the Ayia Kyriaki Church and the ruins of the two churches, there's a sign that marks the spot where the King of Denmark died in 1103 in Paphos, Cyprus.  The sign states: "Eric Ejegod, King of Denmark (1095-1103).  In Pafos was buried Eric Ejegod King of Denmark who died suddenly on his way to the Holy Land."

The Ayia Kyriaki Church is commonly referred to as the church by Saint Paul's Pillar, since the pillar (formerly a column) is located within the church's courtyard.  According to historical tradition, shortly before the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus converted to Christianity, he had Saint Paul tied to a column and beaten.  Paul was flogged at this pillar for preaching Christianity.  Then, the Roman Proconsul converted to Christianity, and Cyprus became the first country in the world to be governed by a Christian.

During one of his missionary journeys around 45 AD, Paul visited Paphos...the capital of Cyprus at that time.  After first landing in Salamis (which is now located in the northern side of Cyprus), Paul, Barnabas, and John entered Paphos through one of the town entrances (referred to as gates).  It's believed that they entered through the northern gate, located near Fabrica Hill (click HERE to read that blog post).  Later, Paul left Paphos by ship from the Paphos Harbor...currently located in Kato Paphos.

Here's a passage of scripture, which shares about Paul and Barnabas' visit to Cyprus:
"The two of them [Paul and Barnabas], sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.  When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.  John was with them as their helper.  They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos.  There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus.  The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.  But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.  Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 'You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!  You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.  Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?  Now the hand of the Lord is against you.  You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.'  Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.  When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.  From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem."  Acts 13:4-13
  
Almost three years ago, we visited the Ayia Kyriaki Church, as well as the Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins, Gothic Church Ruins, and Saint Paul's Pillar...during our honeymoon in Paphos.  :)  However, the Frankish Baths are located nearby, so we revisited this site over the summer.  The Frankish Baths were built during the 14th and 15th centuries, and these baths are among the limited Frankish public building to survive in Paphos.

The Agia Solomoni Catacombs are located nearby on Apostolos Pavlos Avenue in Kato Paphos.  It was built during the Hellenistic period, and the entrance to the cave is marked by a decorated tree with a stairwell simply cut into the rocks leading down to the catacombs.  The decorated tree is covered with items of clothing tied to it, since some people claim that there are healing powers associated with this action.  According to tradition, Agia Solomoni rejected idolatry, in favor of Christianity.  She hid in the cave to escape persecution, and the entrance was closed by her persecutors; thus, she was buried alive, which lead to she death.  Also, according to tradition, the cave was reopened 200 years later, and she walked out alive.  So, the Agia Solomoni Catacombs are named after her.

Kato Paphos (also known as Kato Pafos) is the main tourist area in Paphos.  The Kato Paphos tourist area is such a lovely area that extends along the harbor with a pleasant coastal path along the Mediterranean Sea, as well as tourist shops, restaurants, hotels, and even archaeological sites.  This is my favorite Cypriot city's tourist area, although I'm slightly partial, since my husband and I spent most of our honeymoon in the Paphos area.  :)

Over the years, we've continued to explore Paphos; to view my previous blog posts, please click HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Here are some recent photos from the Paphos region:

The Agia Kyriaki Church, along with the Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins and Gothic Church Ruins.

Elie with the Agia Kyriaki Church, along with the Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins and Gothic Church Ruins.

 
The Agia Kyriaki Church, along with the Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins and Gothic Church Ruins.
 
The Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins and Gothic Church Ruins.
 
Elizabeth with the Agia Kyriaki Church, along with the Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins and Gothic Church Ruins.
 
The Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins and Gothic Church Ruins.
 
A sign sharing about the King of Denmark, as well as the Agia Kyriaki Church, Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins, Gothic Church Ruins, and Saint Paul's Pillar.
 
Agia Kyriaki Church, as well as the Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins, Gothic Church Ruins, and Saint Paul's Pillar.

Saint Paul's Pillar, as well as the Agia Kyriaki Church, Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins, and Gothic Church Ruins. 

Paul's Missionary Journey to Cyprus. 

Frankish Baths.

Elie with the Frankish Baths. 

Elizabeth with the Frankish Baths. 

Elizabeth with the Frankish Baths.  

Entrance to the Agia Solomoni Catacombs.

 View of Kato Paphos.

 View of Kato Paphos.
 
 View of Kato Paphos.


Here's a recent video from the Paphos region:


Driving in Kato Paphos...from the Amathus Hotel towards the Paphos Fort, and then starting towards Ktima. This video includes several clips to simply provide a glimpse of the tourist area in Kato Paphos.


Hope you enjoyed the photos and a video clip of the Agia Kyriaki Church, Early Christian Basilica of Panagia Chrysopolitissa Ruins, Gothic Church Ruins, Saint Paul's Pillar, Frankish Baths, Agios Solomonis Catacomb, and the city area of Kato Paphos.

Here's another one of my recent blog posts, regarding the Cypriot city of Paphos:  To view my Fabrica Hill blog post (which includes photos of the Paphos Archaeological Site, Fabrica Hill, Agios Lamprianos Rock-Cut Chamber, and Ancient Theater Ruins), please click HERE. 

Throughout the summer, my husband and I continued to explore the island of Cyprus...Ayia Napa, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Polis, Troodos, etc.  So, I have plenty of photos (and even some video clips) to share in upcoming blog posts.  :)

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