Nestled in the serene heart of the Troodos Mountains, the Machairas Monastery stands as a beacon of faith and history in Cyprus. This Orthodox Christian monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is not just a religious site but a journey through time, offering visitors a glimpse into the devout and meticulous life of its monastic community.

Founded in the 12th century the monastery owes its name to a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, which according to legend, was brought to Cyprus by Apostle Luke and discovered in a cave by these monks. The church tradition connected the foundation of the monastery with the icon fights.

It is said that the icon of the Virgin Mary Machaira is one of the seventy icons which were painted by the Evangelist Lukas and was brought to Cyprus in secret by the monks Ignatio and Neophyto who has escaped the Jordan desert. The two monks were then given a reward by the emperor of Constantinople Manouel Komninou and had built a small chapel and a few rooms."Machairas" translates to "machete" or "short sword" in Greek, a name derived from the story of how the icon was retrieved from the thicket using a machete.

The icon of the Virgin Mary of Machaira is miraculous and is well known all over Cyrus for its many miracles. The Virgin Mary of Machaira is also well known for the healing of traumas. According to the local tradition, in 1337 Alix d'Ibelin the wife of the Louisianan King Henry IV, did not respect the monks who told her not to enter the altar where women who have their periods are not allowed to enter. It is said that she was struck by the Virgin Mary of Machairas and she remained deaf for three years.

During 1530, a large fire destroyed the monastery completely from which only one icon was saved. During the British Ruling, in 1892 the monastery was burnt completely again, and once again the icon of the Virgin Mary of Machaira was saved. There were also some icons from the templo which were saved and the most important artefacts were kept in the library. In 1905 the monastery was built again. Today there are only 25 monks in the monastery. They live through agriculture and from the donations given by the Christians.

The monastery has very important land around it as well as many houses in Nicosia which were owned by the monastery. During the Turkish occupation, the monastery was even richer, but on the 9th of July 1821 a large part of it was taken by the Turks. The Archbishop Kyprianos who came from the Machaira Monastery also, donated a piece of land to the monastery in 1813.

The monasteries of Machairas, Kykkou and Agiou Neophytou were given privileges during the Byzantine years. They are Royal and that makes them autonomous by the Archbishop of Cyprus.

The monastery played a very important role in the fights of the country. The Archbishop Kyprianos , the monk Ioannikos as well as the hero Gregoris Afxentiou had hidden in the monastery in many occasions.

The architecture of Machairas Monastery is a testament to Byzantine influence, with modifications and expansions reflecting various periods. The main church, a structure that captivates with its simplicity and elegance, houses the venerated icon of the Virgin Mary, known as the "Machairotissa." The icon is celebrated for its believed miraculous powers, attracting pilgrims and visitors from around the world.

Throughout its history, Machairas Monastery has been a center of education and culture. During the Ottoman rule, it served as a covert school, preserving the Greek language and Christian teachings amidst suppression. The monastery's library is a treasure trove of religious manuscripts, rare books, and documents, offering a fascinating insight into the spiritual and cultural heritage of Cyprus.

Life at Machairas Monastery follows a strict routine of prayer, work, and communal living, adhering to the Orthodox monastic tradition. The monks engage in various activities, including farming, beekeeping, and the production of wine and olive oil, following sustainable practices that respect the surrounding environment.

Surrounding the monastery, the Machairas National Forest Park offers breathtaking landscapes and a tranquil retreat for nature lovers. Hiking trails wind through the dense forest, leading to panoramic viewpoints and secluded spots for meditation and reflection.

Visiting Machairas Monastery is more than a religious pilgrimage; it's an experience that transcends faith, offering peace, reflection, and a connection to the natural beauty of Cyprus. Whether you're drawn by spiritual curiosity, historical interest, or the call of nature, Machairas Monastery welcomes all who seek solace and inspiration within its hallowed grounds.

Throughout the year, the monastery hosts several religious celebrations, with the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary on November 21st being the most significant. These events offer a unique opportunity to witness the rich traditions and spiritual fervor of the Orthodox Church.

 In conclusion, Machairas Monastery is not just a monument of religious importance but a living community that embodies the enduring spirit of Orthodox Christianity in Cyprus. Its storied past, sacred art, and pristine natural surroundings make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the island's cultural and spiritual legacy.

Opening PeriodAll year round
Opening hoursDaily: 08:30 - 17:50 (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 09:00 - 12:00)
AdmissionFree
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