Agros is a village in the Limassol district in Cyprus. According to the inventory of 2011, it had 806 residents. Agros is built amphitheatrically between tall mountains at an altitude of 1100 metres.
Founding and name
The village Agros took its name from the Great Agros Monastery which was built in the area where today’s Virgin Mary chapel was built. The great iconoclast and abbot of the Virgin Mary Eleousa Monastery, who was called the “Saint Theophanis of the Great Agros” coming from Asia Minor had been condemned and chased. He was banished to Samothrace where he died in 817. Because the abbot denied signing the emperor’s decree he was condemned. According to tradition, the monks which stayed with him in the same monastery in Asia Minor, decided to come to Cyprus after his death. For a certain amount of time they lived in a village in the Agros area. Later on, they built a new monastery and they named it the same name as the original monastery which was “The Great Agros Monastery”. In 817 they brought the icon of the Virgin Mary Eleousa to the monastery. As the monastery was full with monks, it operated normally. Later on between the 16th and 17th century, a great cholera epidemic fell upon Cyprus, and the 2/3 of the residents died. The area residents built their houses outside the monastery, under the roof of the Virgin Mary. That is how the Agros village was created. The monastery operated as normal until 1830. Later as the monastery did not accommodate monks any more the metropolis began to rent the rooms and they started to take advantage of the monastery. This tactic continued until 1880. It must be noted that during the Turkish occupation the residents gave their land to the monastery in order to avoid the taxes which were imposed upon them. Therefore the residents rebelled and wanted revenge. One of the residents had suggested that if the monastery was demolished, then the metropolis wouldn’t have any rights. That way in 1894 they demolished the monastery. When the minister went to the monastery he was surprised. This wasn’t accepted by the metropolis which resulted in placing fines to the residents.
Installations and resident engagements
The village has a child-minders station, a nursery, primary, gymnasium, lyceum, agriculture training centre, police station, post office, health centre banks, supermarket, football field, indoor basketball court and regional theatre. The main produce of the village is grapes, garden products, excellent quality fruit, soutzouko, traditional type meats (sausages, lountzes, and chiromeria), traditional sweets and jams. Its residents also engage in tourism (one and three star hotels, tourist apartments, guest rooms, traditional cafes, taverns and entertainment centres).
- Virgin Mary Eleousas Church
The Virgin Mary Eleousa Church is located in the centre of the village. It was built in 1919 in the area where the “Great Agros Monastery” was built. In 1894, the same year as the demolition of the monastery, the residents began the reconstruction of today’s church. The construction ended in 1909. It is a building with a crossed dome. It is a large enough church to accommodate up to 1500 believers. On the outside, it is built with stones and rocks found in the area. The church has a length of 97 feet and a width of 48 feet. The dome height is 49 feet and the surrounding wall has a thickness of 4 ½ feet. The belfry, tall and located at the northeast corner of the church, has three large bells. On the inside it is whitewashed but without any angiographies. The Altar remains the same, since it was saved during the monastery demolition. The iconostasi is wooden and engraved. It is surrounded by icons of saints painted by the well-known iconographer Solona Frangouli during 1930 until 1934. Indoors it is flat and quite spacious with the adding of the loft. The loft was built later in 1955. The dedicated icon of the Virgin Mary exists and is very old since 1856. The icon was covered by a silver drawn cover. This was kept until 1987, when the Holly icon was uncovered. This icon was restored and is located in the chapel which was built in 1990 in order to remind the existence of the Great Agros monastery. Along with the old icon, there are also other saved objects such as a piece of the iconostasi, an icon of Christ, many other icons, some old copies of the bible and some other books. The Virgin Mary Eleousa is celebrated on the 21st of November and the oncome is given to the church. There is a large festival and many believers go in order to worship the Holly icon of the Virgin Mary.
- Church of Timiou Prodromou
The church of Timiou Prodromou was built east of the village, around 1860. The church was built with the initiative and the participation of the village residents. It is the second village parish devoted to the inner environment. It has a Vasiliko type, with bricks and a roof. Its length is 100 feet and its width 25 feet. It is unique in concern to its length. The church opening ceremony was done in 1892. In 1984 the roof needed repairing, due to the passing of time as well as the rain which caused serious damages. On the outside, it is surrounded by a low wall which is covered by stone, found in the area.In 1990 two marvellous and stone covered water taps were built. One to the east and the other to the west. On the outside there are some angiographies like the Virgin Mary the Platitera over the altar. In 1914, a wooden iconostasio was built. At the iconostatio, two gates are formed, the centre gate and the north gate. On the inside it is flat. 1960 they placed a new floor, since the old one could not withstand the weight. The dedicated icon of the Virgin Mary is dated from 1887 and is located at the iconostasio right next to the Holly icon of Jesus. The church is celebrated on the 29th of August.
- Church of Saint Gerasimos
The chapel of Saint Gerasimos was built at the beginning of our century as is located northeast of our century as is located northeast of the Agros Gymnasium. The construction of the church began in 2004 and was completed in 2008. There are usually ceremonies there such as on the 16th of August, 20th of October, 4th of March. It is a small vasiliko church with a wooden iconostasi which was constructed between 2006 and 2008 by Nicholas Taliadoros. The church dimensions are 6 metres width and 14 metres length, while around the church there is a covered area of around 3 metres.
The Agia Kiriaki Chapel is located 5 kilometres northeast of the village on the Agros – Nicosia road. It is a church similar to that of the Timios Prodromos in Agros. The inside part of the temple is decorated by a simple wooden iconostasi , which was constructed in 2000 by Kyriako Agridioti , as the icons began in 1997 and were completed in 2007. The temple is small and its dimensions are 4, 5 x 4, 60 metres. The church was built in 1992-1993 in the memory of Ikonomou Papachristodoulou Avgousti who died in 1989 and who was the minister of the Timiou Prodromou of Agros. The opening ceremony was completed by the Metroplolite of Limassol, Chrysanthos on the 7th of July 1993.
The Frangoulidi Museum began its operation in 2004 and is near the Virgin Mary church. With the foundation of the particular museum Solon/Solomos Frangoulidi ,one of the most important representatives of the first generation Cypriot artists as well as artists and hagiographers in Cyprus. Frangoulidis developed relations with the villagers during his stay in the village during 1932 until 1934.
- The Olive mill of Ioannis the Prodromos Church
In 1930 the Olive mill was transferred from the basement of the all-girls school of Agros, to the traditional house which it is found today next to the church of Ioannis the Prodromos. The handheld system which the oil producers used to take the oil is in excellent condition. The house is built by stone, wood and its roof had tiles. The whole project occurred under the guidance of the Antiquities Department of Cyprus.
Similar to the Olive mill for the Virgin Mary of Agros, it was located until 1949 next to the Kaoura water tap. It was demolished for the creation of the electric generator of Vrasiida Irinarchou and was transferred between the Virgin Mary church and the Primary school, where there are still mill stones.
- Byzantine Church – Museum of the Great Agros Monastery
In 1894 the historic monastery of the Great Agros, was destroyed. According to tradition it was built by monks who came from Kizino of Asia Minor during the period of the icon war. In its place today is the Church of the Virgin Mary Eleousas of Agros. According to the description of the monastery a church –monastery was rebuilt where the iconostasi, the pectoral icons of the 12th century old books and other objects were placed. In the church, the department of antiquities found architectural remains, as well as samples from the iconographies of the monastery.