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                                                     Greek Orthodox Churches & Chapels
                                                            
            Xwkklhsia
If Iím not mistaken Akanthou has 19 Greek Orthodox Chapels & Churches decorating its district, which has been illegally occupied by the Turkish army since the Summer of 1974
Now the Turkish settlelers who were brought from deep inside Turkey to the northern part of Cyprus to boost the Turkish Cypriot population by the illegal Turkish regime are trying to wipe out every trace of the Greek presence. Presence which has been in evidance for thousands of years.These chapels are now being turned into storage areas and stables for their animals without any respect of their history and hollyness.
Nearly all these Greek Orthodox Chapels/Churches are built near ancient settlements/communities. Evidence of that are the ruins of houses nearby. The only exception is the Church of Pergamou ( 11th century ) and the chapel of Ayias(Saint) Paraskevi ( 18th century ).
The roofs(domes ) to many of these Chapels were semicircle ( dome like ) this would improve the sound inside of these Churches & Chapels.
The maintenance of these Chapels & Churches was taken care of by the Chrysosotira Church Committee.
The committee would appoint persons who, every Saturday morning would go to clean and light the candilia ( sacred lamps ).
Such persons in the old days were Nicolas Hadjipavli ( Nicolouri ) and Loukas Hadjikyriakou Hadjihristou.
Although there were people to look after these Chapels, the Akanthiotes themselves would go and visit them as well. On their way to attend to their fields and animals, they would pop in to pray and if needed they would clean and light the candilia ( sacred lamps ). Some of these chapels were situated miles from the village of Akanthou some as far as 10 miles or more.
Akanthouís borough was the biggest borough amongst the Cypriots villages.
On each Saints Name Day there would also be the appropriate celebrations and a priest would visit the Chapels and perform liturgy.
According to my grandfatherís ( Panteli Pantelide senior ) information that he gathered at the time, these Chapels & Churches were built by the following persons:-

THE BUILDING OF THE CHAPELS & CHURCHES

Ais(Saint) Hrisostomos(Chrisostomos)-( AhV CrusostomoV)
Ais Polyhronias-( AhV PolucroniaV)
Ais Yiorkis ( Saint George ) Tou Tihou-( AhV GiorkhV tou Teicou)
Panayia (The Virgin Mary ) Pergamou-( Pergamou)
Ayios Therabos
Ayia Varvara- ( Agia Barbara)
Panayia (The Virgin Mary) Ton Trikon Teratsion
Panayia Tis Melissas (Saint Mary of Melissa)
Ayios Andreas ( St Andrew ) Ais Ntrikas- AgioV AndreaV AhV NtrikaV
Agioi(Saints) Pantes ( All Saints )- Agioi PanteV
Ais(Saint) Pavlos- AhV PauloV
Ayia Fotou- Agia Fwtou
Ais(Saint) Theoros- AhV QewroV
Ayios Merkourios- AgioV MerkourioV(Agia Aikaterinh)
Ayios Savvas- AgioV SabbaV
Ayios Nikolaos- AgioV NikolaoV
Ayia(Saint) Marina- Agia Marina
Ayia(Saint) Irini (Irene)- Agia Eirhnh
Ais(Saint) Haralambos-St Charalambos- AhV CaralampoV
Arhangelos(Archangelos)- ArcaggeloV
Ayia(Saint) Paraskevi- Agia Paraskeuh
Ayios(Saint) Perpyros.- AgioV PerpuroV
Ayios(Saint) Mikallos :- AgioV MikalloV
Ais Yiannis(saint) John- AhV GiannhV
 

According to my grandfatherís ( Pantelis Pantelides -teacher ) information that he gathered at the time, these Chapels & Churches were built by the following persons:-

Ais Yiannis(saint) John- AhV GiannhV
                 Builders: 1) Mouskouros
                               2) Hadji Ttofis Hadjiyianni
                               3) HadjiSaouris Yerofotos

Ayios(Saint) Mikallos :- AgioV MikalloV . Ayios Mikallos was built in 1864 AD
                 Builders: 1) Milonas Fitouras, 2) Kallousias, 3) Hadjitofis Hadjiyianni, 4) Hadjizanetos.

Ayios(Saint) Perpyros.- AgioV PerpuroV
                 The foundations were prepared only .

Ayia(Saint) Paraskevi- Agia Paraskeuh .
                 Builders: 1) Papoutsas, Sotiros,Kailos

Arhangelos(Archangelos)- ArcaggeloV West of Liastrika( Liastrika)
                 Builders: 1) Hailos, 2) Tzirkatzis, 2) PapaYiorkis Aletraris, 3) Kkantonis HadjiMinas, 4)                                         HadjiYeroizis.

Ais(Saint) Haralambos-St Charalambos- AhV CaralampoV
                 Builders: 1) PapaYiorkis, 2) Kotsoftas, 3) Nikolouris, 4) Tooulos( thV KagkiouV)

Ayia(Saint) Irini (Irene)- Agia Eirhnh
                 Builders: Anastasios Foti

Ayia(Saint) Marina- Agia Marina
                 Builders: 1) HadjiPavlis HadjiYiorki Psara, 2) HadjiLavithies

Ayios Nikolaos- AgioV NikolaoV At Laktsia- ( Laxia)
                 Builders: 1) HadjiSavvas HadjiPiera

Ayios Savvas- AgioV SabbaV at Koronies- ( KorwnieV)
                 Builders: HadjiToulis Kramvis, Kkantris

Ayios Merkourios- AgioV MerkourioV(Agia Aikaterinh) At Mouzomeno spilio-  ( Mouzoumeno Sphlio)                
                 Builders: Katsianis HadjiYiorkis

Ais(Saint) Theoros- AhV QewroV At Lainio- ( Lahnio) .
                 Builders: Loizos HadjiChristou(teacher), Kkantris.


Ayia Fotou- Agia Fwtou one of two cementaries. Agia Fotou

                 Builders: 1) HadjiFotis. He is the father of HadjiMikallous and HadjiHaralambou

Ais(Saint) Pavlos- AhV PauloV At Lainio- ( Lahnio)
                 Builders: 1) HadjiYiannis, 2) HadjiSavvis Kallousias

Agioi(Saints) Pantes ( All Saints )- Agioi PanteV At Lainio- ( Lahnio)
                 Builders: 1) HadjiYiorkis HadjiKalli ( Sioftanos )

Ayios Andreas ( St Andrew ) Ais Ntrikas- AgioV AndreaV AhV NtrikaV At Lainio-( Lahnio)
                 Builders: Manis- PapaYiorkis

Panayia Tis Melissas (Saint Mary of Melissa) - ( Panagia thV MelisshV)
                 Builders: HadjiFotis Tsagkaris, 2) HadjiLoukas ( tou Loukarkou )

Panayia (The Virgin Mary) Ton Trikon Teratsion -Kanakarka- ( Kanakarka)
                 Builders: Tsoullis Foti HadjiYianni

Ayia Varvara- ( Agia Barbara) 1870 AD
                 Builders: Vasilis ProtoPapas

Panayia (The Virgin Mary ) Pergamou-( Pergamou)

                 This is a small Byzantine Church built in the 11th century.

Ayios Therabos : At Trahona Melissas- ( AgioV QerapoV)
                 Builders: HadjiLoukas( tou Loukarkou )

Ais Yiorkis ( Saint George ) Tou Tihou-( AhV GiorkhV tou Teicou) At Kavkalla( Kaukalla)
                 Builders: HadjiStavris Aresti, Manis

Ais Polyhronias-( AhV PolucroniaV) At Mavron Oros(Black Mountain)( Mauron OroV)
                 The villagers at the village of Ayios Nikolaos which is between the areas of Tripimeni    and Melounda. It is believed that the mud from around the Church can cure Asthma sufferers

Ais(Saint) Hrisostomos(Chrisostomos)-( AhV CrusostomoV)
                 This is another old Church built at Mavri Skala(black ladder). Liturgy does not take                           place here.                                          

                                         Some of Akanthouís Churches & Chapels

Ayia Fotou - Agia Fwtou

Akanthou has two cemeteries. Ayia Fotou is the second one and it is situated to the east of the village. Her Name Day is celebrated on the 2nd of August. The women believe that Ayia Fotou is present at the church on Mondays. Every Tuesday that she is at Paphos and on other days she is at all other places in Cyprus.

It is believed that the saint can cure nail-pains and staphylococcus( plhgeV stafulokokkou ),( mimmhqkia ) wounds on the head. Women whoís children suffered from staphylococcus would take the child to the chapel on Mondays. They would light a candle, then they would take some of the content from the sacred lamp ( candila ) also some dust which had been scratched from around the wall area of the Icon , they would then mix everything together. and then place it on the childís head. The therapy was performed in the name, of the Saintís Holy Name.

Ayia Varvara - Agia Barbara

This chapel  is situated in Akanthouís 1st cemetery. Around 1850 the Akanthiotes were first educated here by teachers in the chapelís yard. The first teacher to teach here was the son of Vasili Protopapa, known as Fotios Papadopoulos. He taught here for 3 years. Later a village school was built, after he suggested it to the church committee.
Saint Varvaraís Name Day is celebrated on the 4th of December.
Women would take a little dust scratched from around the Iconís edges(wall) they would mix this in with the kollyva(boiled wheat offered in remembrance of a dead person) and then they would take this mixture and put it in with the pitoura ( chicken feed). By doing this they hoped the chicken would be cured from any decease that they were suffering at the time.In the old days pitoura(chicken feed) was the basic food for the chickens. The chapel was built by Vasilis Protopapas around 1870.

Ayia Marina - Agia Marina

This chapel is situated 8 miles west of Akanthou. Saint Marinaís Name Day is celebrated on the 17th  of June. A paniyiri ( public feast, festivity ) took place on that day as well
The author N. Politis in one of his books ď
Meletai peri tou biou kai thV glwsshV tou Ellhnikou laou ď( studies on the life and language of the Greek nation ) he mentions very briefly a proverb in the collection Warner Ē Agia Marina maraine olouV touV keratadeV ď  ( Saint Marina get rid of all the demons)
At Akanthou, the women, especially the younger ones would make a special potion and give it to their loved one( fiancee,husband,lover) to drink. This was done when there was a feeling of coldness in their relationship. The potion was made in the following way:- From the framework of the Icon or the ground in front of the Icon the woman would take some dust and put it in the drink of their man. Hopefully this would get rid of the bad demons or feelings hovering around in their relationship.

Panayia ton Trikon Teratsion - Panagia twn Trikwn Teratsiwn

This is an other chapel and its location is 8 miles east of Akanthou. Its Name Day is celebrated on the 24th of June. At that time of the year the carob-beans( caroupia ) would be half ripe, so on the evening of the 24th, little bonfires were erected and the wild carob-beans were thrown into the fire to cook and then eaten. While eating the carob-beans the villagers would hope for a good and plentiful crop. The young men of the village would gather around the fire and they would call out while jumping over the fire:

Yulloi,Yulloi,fugete
kio AhV GiannhV ercetai
na saV yullokontarisei.
Essw mou o MaV ki AprilhV
Tzessw thV...h tou ...korkoi kai yuloi
.

Ayios Charalambos(Haralambos) - AgioV CaralampoV

This chapel is situated 7 miles east of Akanthou. The villagers believed that Saint Haralambos was a big protecter and a curer for animal deceases, especially for cattle. According to tradition at the spot where the chapel is built today, a farmerís two daughters died while they were ploughing the field due to the big plague. They were the first victims to fall to the terrible plague. The plague spread to the village of Akanthou, it also affected other Cypriot villages. At the end of the plague the occupants of Akanthou built the chapel and named it Ayios Charalambos (Haralambos). They had an Icon made in the Saintís Name. The Icon shows the plague portrait as an evil person and the Saint standing on the chest of this evil person. The Icon is dated 1846 AD

Ayios (Saint) Mikallos

They say that Ayios Mikallos and with some other Christians who lived at the time in the Holy Land and who did not want to fight the Saracens left by sea. When their ship was off the coastline of Akanthou Ayios Mikallos fell overboard. He hold on to a log which was floating in the sea and finally arrived on to a beach near Akanthou. That beach was half a mile from a settlement called Pergamos.
His survival in this area was due to the fact that there was water here. with the aid of the water he ploughed the soil with various vegetables. He also prayed to keep his spirits high. Unfortunatly he only lived 9 months. When he realised that the end of his life was nearing he dug his own grave and he was layed to rest there by Christians who lived in a settlement nearby.

Sometime during the 19th century Paraskevas Kallousias saw a dream about a grave that was hidden behind some bushes and that it belong to Ayios Mikallos. After he cleaned the area of the bushes he revealed an entrance to a natural cave . Deep Inside this cave there were stalactites and in a corner of this cave there was a pile of rocks and under these rocks the was a skeleton. On one of the rocks the name of Ayios Mikallos was engraved.
The building of the church of Ayios Mikallos was finance by Hadjittofis and Fitouras. The job was given to a builder called Ttofas Karpasitis who during the building of the church lived in the village of Akanthou.
It is believed that Ayios Mikallos is a curer of Malaria. Children with Malaria were taken to Ayios Mikallos by their mothers. The childrenís faces would be washed with the Holy Water dripping from the Stalactites. Pieces of clothing would be placed on the branches of a Mersinia (Myrtle) which was outside the cave. Today that Mersinia is still were.

I f you have any more stories about the Akanthou folk life , or any comments about improving this website please send your emails to: Pantelis Pantelides