THE HOLY METROPOLITAN DIOCESE OF LIMASSOL

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            email: pater@christopherklitou.com

 

THE CHURCH OF

ST. GEORGE

SYLIKOU LIMASSOL CYPRUS 

 

REV. CHRISTOPHER

KLITOU

 

 

 

 

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OUR CHURCH

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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.

70 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 are all from the 19th century.