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Saint Barnabas Monastery & Museum…
Very close to the church is a 19th-century small chapel/mausoleum erected over the tomb site and visitors flock to pay their respects, most especially on St. Barnabas’s feast day of June 11th.
Barnabas was canonized and created the Patron Saint of the island…
St Barnabas Monastery is well worth a visit...
An island of mixed religious beliefs…
St. Barnabas Monastery near Famagusta is dedicated to the patron saint of Cyprus, St. Barnabas. The church is now an icon museum housing a stunning collection of Cypriot artefacts dating back as far as the 7th Century BC which are kept in the monks' old cells.
Over the years, Cyprus has had various rulers with different religious beliefs, from Muslim to Christian and Pagan. Cultures have intermingled and crossed and the end result is an island with mixed religions, where churches and mosques sit side by side. Cultures which worshipped the moon and stars, gave way to those that worshipped pagan idols. These, in turn, were superseded by faiths that believed in God and by the time the Romans gained power over the island, there was a strong following of Judaism.
St. Barnabas was Jewish and hailed from Salamis. He travelled to the Holy Land to study law and whilst he was there studying, he met Paul, the apostle, and was converted to Christianity. He was made the Archbishop of Salamis and when he returned from the Holy Land to Cyprus, (pertinent Bible references: Acts 4: 36-37, & Acts 13: 1-5) he became a preacher, teaching others about Jesus Christ. He convinced the Roman ruler of Cyprus at the time, Sergius Paulus to adopt Christianity, making Cyprus the first country in the world to have a Christian ruler. In 61AD Barnabas was martyred by his fellow Jews. He died in 75AD when a group of Syrians stoned him to death and legend says that his body was hidden a secret tomb in part of the Salamis necropolis by his friend John Mark and his followers. The tomb of Saint Barnabas laid undiscovered for over 400 years until the 5th Century AD.
The tomb was discovered around 480AD by Bishop Anthemios after he had a dream in which he saw the location of the long-lost tomb. St. Barnabas was found to be holding an illuminated Gospel of St. Matthew, which the Bishop considered a miracle. He convinced Zeno, the Byzantine Emperor, to let him self-govern his church, so that any church donations in Cyprus remained in Cyprus rather than being sent over to the Patriarch of Antioch. Zeno agreed to this request and the Orthodox Church of Cyprus took its place in the hierarchy of the Christian churches and has its own Patriarch. In Cyprus, most churches, although sadly now closed to the public, feature an icon of Barnabas, holding St. Matthew’s gospel placed in the backrest of the Bishop’s chair. St. Barnabas is said to be the patron saint of peacemaking and hailstorms, with St. Barnabas day taking place on June 11th.
St. Barnabas Monastery as it is today is not actually the original structure, as the original Byzantine church crumbled over the succeeding years and was replaced in the 18th Century by the monastery. The monastery was built with three domes, however due to the lack of foundations and soft soil, one of the domes along with an apse collapsed. When repairs were carried out, the third dome was not replaced, meaning that the church has an unusual square appearance. The walls or the original apse on the eastern end of the church can still be seen today.
The icon museum houses many artefacts including one of the best collections of Bronze Age and Early Iron Age antiquities in North Cyprus. The museum features a small gift shop and restaurant on site.
Don't forget to visit the tomb! - Around 100 yards from the monastery, you will find St. Barnabas mausoleum, built on the spot where his remains were discovered.
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View Our Full Collection of Cyprus Hotels and Accommodation
Take a look at our collections of holiday types to help you decide on your perfect Cyprus holiday, or alternatively, call one of our expert holiday advisors who will be happy to help you choose. Please click the links below to view all of our Cyprus hotels:
Amazing North Cyprus Holidays
With the tranquillity and natural beauty of the Levant, the fascinating medieval ports and castles of Kyrenia and Famagusta and the best Mediterranean climate, there is something for everyone to enjoy on a holiday to North Cyprus. Whether a family vacation or a getaway break for two, the rare blend of delights on offer in Northern Cyprus is guaranteed to leave you with fond memories of your stay. The north of this beautiful island really does give you the best of Cyprus holidays!
Cyprus Paradise Holidays
Cyprus Paradise has introduced thousands of travellers to the delights of a North Cyprus holiday over the last 26 years. We are fully ATOL protected, to ensure your holiday is completely secure financially for your peace of mind. We make it our goal to exceed the expectations of everyone who travels with us – you can book holidays to Cyprus with Cyprus Paradise in the knowledge that you are in the best possible hands.
Hotels in North Cyprus
Whether this will be your first experience of North Cyprus, or you are one of the many holiday-makers who return to the island year after year, Cyprus Paradise should be your first choice. Cyprus Paradise is a specialist UK based tour operator offering the widest range of quality hotels in North Cyprus. With over 26 years experience in selling holidays to the island, no one knows North Cyprus quite like we do!
To most visitors, a North Cyprus holiday means Kyrenia, and Kyrenia means Kyrenia Harbour. Kyrenia is an ideal base to explore North Cyprus, and it has some of the island's best accommodation, yet the serene beauty of the countryside is never far away. Kyrenia is full of architectural interest and things to do. Visit our Discover Kyrenia page to read more about some of the most beautiful hotels and package holidays Kyrenia has to offer. read more...
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Famagusta is an area of truly outstanding natural beauty, where it is possible to drive for hours without seeing another car. As well as villages seemingly frozen in time, the Karpaz offers mile after mile of open countryside and deserted beaches. Venture north from Famagusta during your North Cyprus holiday, and sited on the coast a few miles away, you will find the historical ruins of Salamis. read more...
The Bafra region is a beautiful and tranquil area, and is home to some of the most attractive landscapes on the island. Located between Famagusta and the Karpaz Peninsula, Bafra is a great place to stay during your North Cyprus holiday to experience the beautiful countryside and deserted beaches.
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