CHURCH OF HOLY CROSS AT OMODHOS VILLAGE
The Monastery of the Holy Cross at Omodhos has a long history which goes back to the first centuries of Christianity. It is believed that the Monastery is built precisely over the cave in which the reverent residents of Koupetron (the ancestors of today’s residents of Omodhos) found the Holy Cross. Originally it was a humble chapel. Due to the many miracles ot the Holy Cross, it quickly became a holy shrine not only for the residents of Omodhos but also for all the residents of the island.
Besides the local stories handed-down about the Monastery of the Holy Cross, many historians of Cyprus speak about the Monastery. As such, Neophytos Rodinos, in the mid 17th Century mentions that at the Church of the Holy Cross there is part of the Holy Cross as well as a piece of the Holy Hemp. The Russian monk and traveller Basil Gr. Barsky. in his book, "Travels in Cyprus" says that the Church of the Holy Cross, possesses part of the Hemp by which Christ was tied to the Cross, during His passion. Also Archimandrites Kyprianos speaks of the Monastery of Omodhos in his work, "Chronological History of the island of Cyprus". In addition, Archbishop Sinaeou Constantios writes about Omodhos and the Monastery.
During the hard years of the Ottoman occupation of Cyprus, the Monastery not only survived but also acquired great power thanks to the firman issued by the Sultan around 1700 A.D. According to this firman nobody could disturb the Monastery or tts land because it was inviolable
At the time of the Abbot, Dositheos, the Monastery of Omodhos reached its highest peak. In front of the Monastery one can see the bust of the Abbot. Abbot Dositheos was a man of great patriotism strong faith and a dynamic, progressive character. For his activities, he, along with other clergymen and selected Cypriots was hung on the 10th of July, 1821 in Nicosia.
In 1858, the Holy Cross Monastery was renovated and its structure took the form it has today. The church bell was donated by Abbot Dositheos and dates from 1812, was made in Russia.
Entering the church, the beautiful iconostasis is found on the opposite wall. On the iconostasis are expressive Byzantine icons, of which the icon of Christ, of the Virgin Mary, of John the Baptist, and John the Theologian are Russian influenced. In the middie of the church is the impressive Bishop’s Throno, the Holy Icon Stand and the Pulpit, which were gilded by Abbot Dositheos. On the northern and southern walls are the two, huge descriptive paintings by Giavopoulos.
The churcn is surrounded by different buildings from which the most important is the "SYNODIC", which was used as a welcoming halt. On past days, it was used as a National Struggle Museum.[Today’s 2003 is transferred to the ground floor] Visitors are impressed by the wooden carveo ceiling which is of an excellent art.
In the Monastery there are invaluable heirlooms. among these are.
1) the large Holy Gross with the Holy Hemp, which Is placed in a canopy in a special place in the iconostasis. 2) Another Holy Cross's used as a protective cover of the first large Holy Cross. 3) the Holy Cross of St. Panaretos, which was first donated to the Monastery of Anogyra. 4) the skull of St. Philip the Apostle, on which there are seals of tour Byzantine Emperorsthat ceflity its qenuinity. 5)Various heirlooms from the times of Abbot Dositheos, a gospel of 1769, two icons of the Apostle Philip, one 1528 and the other 1773, the Holy Chalice, the Diskarion, Asterisk, and the Holy Lance, relics valuable jewels and other dedications
The residents of Omodhos, the surroundrng villages and the whole of Cyprus have reverence and honour for the Holy Cross. On September the 14th a large religious festival takes place in which people from all over Cyprus attend. A custom of the village is that on the Tuesday after Easter, ''The Great Lord'', the Holy Cross accompanied by the priest, the icons of cherubs, and a choir of children visit each house one by one. Every family welcomes with joy the Holy Cross and makes a generous offering to the church. Every time that the Holy Cross is celebrated and at other religious holidays during the year, such as the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the third Sunday of Lent, Easter Sunday, and the Monday after Easter. The Holy Cross and the Holy Hemp are placed on a stand where all the faithful may venerate them, which fill the faithful with greal religious joy.