The Orthodox Pages
THE CHURCH OF
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The Church of St. George was built c.1850 and consecrated in 1874. It is a single aisled building with a vaulted roof, which originally was covered with earth. A second roof with tiles was added at a later date to protect it. The whole structure is entirely of local stone with the walls a metre in depth.
The Church has two main entrances: one on the west side, and the other on the south. In 1995 an additional door was added on the south for an entrance into the sanctuary.
80 or more years ago the, the villagers, believing that the structure had weakened and was in danger of collapsing, had the outside walls covered with 4inches of mortar. In 2004 we removed the mortar and restored the Church to its original stone. In 2011, the ugly metal doors and windows were replaced with doors and windows made of Iroko wood. Then in 2012 canopies were constructed above the doors to protect them from the scorching summer heat and winter rains. Work on the exterior of the Church is almost at an end although the bell tower needs to be replaced for the third time. The original bell tower was of carved stone, but according to the older generation who still remember it, every time the bell was rang, the bell tower would rock to and fro. In fear that it would one day collapse it was replaced with a bell tower made of concrete. The new bell tower was short lived as in time it slanted like the leaning Tower of Pisa, so again it was replaced with the existing tower. The newer tower now shows signs of erosion with pieces of concrete slowly falling away. Although there is no immediate danger of it collapsing, it looks rather unsightly now that the Church has been cleansed from its mortar covering and restored to its original stone. Thus, to harmonize the whole structure the bell tower will have to be replaced with a bell tower of stone. The beautifully carved stones from the original tower still exist and are kept safe. Sadly they cannot be used again for the bell tower, but they can serve to show the character of the old tower and hopefully the stone masons can faithfully reproduce it. The Church courtyard has also undergone a complete facelift. The old schoolhouse which is situated to the south of the Church has been completely renovated and now serves as a house for the Priest. The courtyard is now covered with stone paving and in the south-westerly corner we have erected a large platform from which the Easter service is sung. The platform also doubles as a stage for the band during the traditional Easter Monday festivities. (See Photo Gallery)
The Church in 1994 still covered in mortar The Church as it is today
In the south-easterly corner, we have erected a monument in honour of our local hero, Demetrius Klitou, who died at the age of 18 on 20th July 1974 defending faith and country during the barbarous Turkish invasion. On the anniversary of his death in 2003, his remains, which were buried in the Limassol cemetery, were translated, re-buried and sealed in the base of the monument.
The interior of the Church is covered with gypsum and the walls are adorned with two rows of Icons. In the narthex there is a spiral staircase leading to a higher seating level (gallery) and where one can see the small doorway (now sealed) leading to the bell tower. Over the next few years, a great deal of work is planned to be carried out within the church like changing the pews and Iconostasis and possibly replacing the spiral staircase with an L shape staircase to make the gallery more easily accessible.
The Iconostasis is rather plain and of no great workmanship, but there are remnants of an older hand carved Iconostasis destroyed along with the Church by the Turks during the Ottoman occupation of Cyprus (see history of Sylikou and her Churches). The Cross and the Figures of the Mother of God, St. John the Theologian and the instruments of the Passion found on the top of the Iconostasis as well as the dragon type figures which serve as brackets for the oil lamps are all from an older Iconostasis, probably dated from the 17th century. This is verified by the oldest Icon in the Church, an Icon from the Iconostasis of St. John the Theologian which is dated 1674. The Icon of the Mother of God is dated 1850, but the wood the Icon is painted on is from a much earlier period and one can see that the face of the Mother of God and her hands have been repainted in a style different to the rest of the Icon. In all probability, the Icon must also be from the 17th century, but was damaged during the destruction of the Church and thus repainted and re-dated. This would coincide with the date the Church was rebuilt. All the other Icons on the Iconostasis are from the 19th century with the Icon of St. George dated 1864.
The silver chalice and paten, the silver Processional Cross and the Six-winged Seraphim, and the silver oil lamps were all from the 19th century. Sadly all the silverware were stolen when the church was broken into in 2017. The culprits were caught but the silver was never recovered because it was sold and melted down.