Tucked within the historic cityscape of Paphos, stands a monument of profound historical and religious importance – the Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church. Also referred to as the Church of Saint Kyriaki, this active sanctuary serves as a captivating tapestry of Cypriot religious history intertwined with time.
Nestled within the confines of the Archaeological Park of Kato Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church sits on the ruins of the ancient Chrysopolitissa Basilica. This former structure was once the largest Byzantine basilica on the island, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into Cyprus's deep-rooted Christian heritage.
The site is an architectural palimpsest reflecting diverse historical eras. The ruins of the Chrysopolitissa Basilica display elegant marble columns and early Christian mosaics. Adjacent to these basilica remnants is the medieval Agia Kyriaki chapel, constructed during the Frankish era of the 15th century. The chapel exemplifies splendid Gothic architecture, providing a stark contrast to the classical styles evident in its surroundings. Also present is a Byzantine-style church, constructed during the 13th century, which was later repurposed as a mosque during the period of Ottoman rule. This structure now forms the central part of the Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church, hosting regular Anglican and Catholic services.
One of the most noteworthy historical aspects of the site is St. Paul's Pillar. Tradition holds that it was here that the Apostle Paul was bound and whipped 39 times for preaching Christianity. This act led to the conversion of the Roman governor, Sergius Paulus, and the subsequent establishment of Christianity in Cyprus. Today, the pillar remains a potent symbol of faith, drawing pilgrims and visitors from around the globe.
In spite of its historical gravitas, the Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church remains a vibrant sanctuary. Serving the Anglican community of Paphos and hosting Catholic Mass, the church acts as a hub for diverse Christian denominations. Its peaceful ambience, amplified by the historical surroundings, offers a serene space for prayer and introspection.
The Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church stands as a testament to Paphos's rich spiritual history and the resilient faith of its community. More than just a historical site, it is a living place of worship, resonating with hymns and prayers, imbued with a sense of tranquility and sanctity. Whether you're a history buff, a spiritual seeker, or a casual visitor, a visit to the Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church promises an enriching experience, bridging the gap between past and present, the earthly and the divine.