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St. Barnabas Monastery

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St. Barnabas, born of a Jewish family in Salamis, returns to Cyprus after his studies in Jerusalem and in 45 A.D. starts to work with St. Paul as a missionary for Christianity. Because of his activities he is killed by his compatriots and his corpse is hidden in a marsh, later to be deposited into the sea.

The followers of St. Barnabas watch the events; they take the corpse to an underground cave to the West of Salamis and bury it there after putting a copy of the Bible made by St. Mathews on his chest. The corpse remains hidden for many years as its whereabouts is known to noone.

Bishop Anthemios says he has seen the grave in his dream, and has the place dug. When the grave is opened, St. Barnabas can be identified because of the St. Mathews Bible. After this incident, the bishop goes to Istanbul to inform Emperor Zeno, and gains the autonomy of the Cyprus Church. The emperor makes a donation for a monastery to be built at the location of the grave. The monastery constructed in 477 A.D., consists of a church, a courtyard, and living quarters for priests. The St. Barnabas church has a rich collection of icons mostly dating from the 18th century.

The basalt mill in the courtyard is from the Enkomi settlement and the other columns and stones are from Salamis.

The rooms where the priests lived have been restored and turned into an archaelogical museum. It is possible to see a variety of works of art from a wide range of historical spectrum from the Neolithic Period to the Roman period. Bronze and marble pieces are also being exhibited at the museum.


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