Our Lady of Lefkosia. The Church of Phaneromeni and its Relics
The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation and the Ecclesiastical Board of Panagia Phaneromeni Church in Nicosia are the co-organizers of an exhibition entitled Our Lady of Lefkosia. The Church of Phaneromeni and its Relics. These important relics are presented for the first time to the public. The exhibition will be inaugurated on 22 March 2012, 7.30 p.m. by his Beatitute Chrysostomos II' the Archbishop of Cyprus, at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, in Phaneromeni, and is scheduled to run until 31 December.
Both the exhibition and the supplementary publication are meant to present a diachronic account of the history and contribution of the church of Our Lady Phaneromeni to the city of Nicosia within-the-walls and to the wider island.
Exhibits to be displayed The Exhibition will showcase portable icons, post-Byzantine art woodcuts, carved stone reliefs, golden embroideries, metalworking and manuscripts dating from the 12th to the 20th century. Portable icons originating from Phaneromeni will be loaned by the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation.
More than a hundred representative specimens will be displayed in separate units, complemented by pertinent visual material and texts. Those units are: History of the Church, Saints of Nicosia, Icons of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Icons of Our Lady, Icons with individual Saints, Icons with the Lives of Saints, Icons and Objects from the Holy Land, Sacerdotal vestments and embroidery, Religious works by Ioannis Kissonergis and Adamantios Diamentis and tokens that were offered to the poet Dimitris Lipertis and subsequently donated to Phaneromeni.
Among objects in display, the following are expected to take center stage: the icon meant for public veneration of Our Lady Phaneromeni (proably 12th century); the icon of Our Lady Vlahernitissa (13th century) now kept in the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios II Foundation; the icon of St George with scenes from his life (13th century); a dedicatory icon with the family of dragoman Hadjiosiph (18th century); the icon of St Paul with scenes from his life (1789), a gift of dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios; an embroidered epitaph, a gift of the Archimandrite Kyprianos (18th century); a sacred Chalice and a sacred Paten (1800); a vessel for the Prothesis, works of the renowned goldsmith Polyvios Kolokos (1926). Also exhibited will be the icon of St Phanourios that used to belong to the martyr Archbishop Kyprianos of Cyprus (1810-1821); the icon of Kyriaki Samareitis (19th century), a work of the painter Christodoulos; and the icon with the representation of the 9th Eothinon Gospel’s “Tiberian Sea”.
Parallel events Parallel events will take place in the framework of the exhibition, such as a scientific meeting, tours, educational programs and music events with the participation of the church choir of Our Lady Phaneromeni.
History of Our Lady Phaneromeni Church The Church of Phaneromeni is located at the historic centre of the old city of Nicosia. It is the largest Orthodox church in Nicosia within-the-walls. The church is built on what used to be a Medieval Orthodox convent. The convent seems to have been ruined after the conquest of Nicosia by the Ottomans in 1571, its church operating as parish church. Tradition has it that the Turks attempted to convert the church into a mosque, yet abandoned the idea as, one after the other, the imams appointed there died, not long after taking up their duties. A second attempt to turn the church into a mosque was ventured in 1821 by the Turkish Administrator of Cyprus, Kucuk Mehmet Pasha. That attempt too was halted owing to Our Lady’s miraculous intervention.
According to a marble proprietary inscription, the previous church was built in 1715. Archimandrite Kyprianos, a learned man (18th century), ranks Phaneromeni among the nine Orthodox churches of Nicosia and considers it to be “ancient and very old”. In its present form it was built in 1872-73. It belongs to the three-aisled basilica type with a dome and bears influences from Western architecture.
National Martyrs Mausoleum A mausoleum of fine marble has been built in the churchyard, wherein the relics of clerics and laymen slaughtered by the Turks in 1821 are kept, together with the relics of national martyr, the Bishop of Mareotis, Dionysius Kykkotis, who had served in Phaneromeni.
Phaneromeni Library The Library of Phaneromeni was founded in 1933 in Nicosia. It stands to this day, the cost being borne by the Phaneromeni Church. The Library contains a wealth of writings, rare collections and books that amount to around twenty thousand volumes. Following a decision of Archbishop Chrysostomos I, the books have been transferred to the Library of Archbishop Makarios III Foundation in Nicosia.
Visiting hours: Monday - Sunday 10:00 - 19:00 (except bank holidays)
Note: While every care has been taken to ensure the information provided is accurate, we advise you to check with the event organisers before travelling to confirm the details are correct.