Church of Agia Aikaterini
The church of Agia Aikaterini was built between 1884 and 1894 AC. Later some other rooms were manufactured also. The belfry of the church was built in 1925. The church was renovated in 1994 by Mr.Kyriacos A. Kyriacou.
The icon of Agia Aikaterini that is found in the church is a hagiography of 1884. It does not exist any similar icon in other homonym churches. It is considered miraculous due to the fact that the old residents of the village report a lot of miracles concerning this icon.
It is manufactured with stones from the river, with white hard stones from the region and few lightweight stones at certain points. It consists from five arches and the rooms.
The church was consecrated by the most reverend Metropolitan of Morfou Chrysantho A’ (Sariyianni) on the 11th of June.
The life of Agia Aikaterini
Agia Aikaterini was born in Alexandria of Egypt. She was from a rich and aristocratic roman family. Her family was a royal one. At small age she began to study Greek and Roman writers. She learned the foreign languages of the season and she was discussing philosophical subjects with various wise men and scholars. At the age of 20 she was already a recognized personality. Except from her enormous intellectual and social education, she was beautiful also. She acquired however many proposals of marriage from rich young persons because her interests were located in the intellectual life.
The study of the Gospel and her contacts with concealed partisans of Christianity forced her to follow the Christian religion and to declare obviously her faith. It was the time when persecutions against the Christians had burst out and the sovereign of Egypt Maximinos was worried when he heard that Agia Aikaterini became a Christian, because he knew the she had influence on the population of Alexandria. He tried to dissuade her by sending to her initially 50 wise men of the season. However the discussion they had with Agia Aikaterini resulted to dissuade themselves. After that Maximinos killed the wise men and put Agia Aikaterini in prison.
Then they made to her too many horrible tortures. One of them was the wheel that had thorns on it and they were turning it on the body of Agia Aikaterini in order to flay her skin. The horrible tortures of beating and the wheel affected only her body without affecting her soul and spirit. After the tortures, Maximinos seeing how deep her faith was, ordered to decapitate her. This was done in 307 AC.
Her horrible death became source for legends and popular traditions. Egyptian Christians found her relic during the 8th century on the mountain Horiv and it was transported to the homonym abbey at Sina Mountain. Our church nominated Agia Aikaterini as a martyr and honors her memory on the 25th of November. She is considered protector of philosophy and education.
The Byzantine painters of hagiographies painted her with a broken wheel and a sword with blood that symbolize her tortures. They also painted her with a branch from a date-palm tree and a book in her hand, symbols of her wisdom.
It is said that Agia Aikaterini came to Cyprus. This happened during the season where her father died. She was led at her uncle that lived here. When however her uncle was informed that she had kissed the Christian religion, he firstly put her in prison and afterwards he sent her back to Alexandria.
When Agia Aikaterini studied and kissed the Christian religion she rejected the marriage proposals made by rich young persons of the season, by saying to her parents that she wanted to marry Christ. One evening, she saw in her dream the Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. She said to him that she is devotional to him. The Christ then, put a ring on her finger and said to her that she married him. That moment everything was dark around her and she woke up. When she had seen the ring on her hand she believed that her dream was real.
Church of Agios Andronicos and Agia Athanasia
The church of Agios Andronicos and Agia Athanasia is built at an abrupt side of the hill. It is a beautiful chapel in a magic environment.
In the locality that is found today the chapel, there was an old underground place where the icon of Agios Andronicos was found. This place was the place for the faithful people who wanted to offer their respect to the icon. The tradition reports that before a lot of years one Turk wanted to go to the church in order to steal the icon. However Agios Andronicos made him blind and he could not be cured.
After the Turkish invasion in 1974, the military governor of Vyzakia decided with his soldiers to offer their working hands and with pecuniary offers of the residents of the village, it was achieved to built the chapel of Agios Andronicos and Agia Athanasia again.
In particular, after the Turkish invasion of 1974, the Commandant of the Army camp, Greek Infantry Lieutenant-Colonel Athanasios Yiannikas, who served at the 281 Infantry Battalion headquartered in Vyzakia from the 27th of August 1975 until the 2nd of January 1977, promised and built on his own initiative the Holy Church of Agios Andronikos and Agia Athanasia.
|Private Savvas Katiris||Worked for the construction of Church|
|Private Nicos Sarris||Worked for the construction of Church|
|Private Sophocles||Worked for the construction of Church|
|Private Kyrpos||Worked for the construction of Church|
|Private Panayiotis Kountouris||Construction of the church’s doors, windows and chancel.|
|Private Panayiotis Kalvaris||Construction of the sign|
|Captain Demetris Manolesos||Offered the necessary concrete for the construction of the church|
|Mr. Savvas Karkotis||Commissioner, Donation: £10 CYP|
|Mr. Michalis Kokkinos||Engineer, disinterested preparation of architectural plans.|
|Mr. Andreas Solomou||Disinterested earth work|
|Mr. Savvas Achilleos (Psyllos)||Paid construction of the roof’s forming block|
|Mr. Leontis||Disinterested provision of a water vehicle for the transfer of water|
|Holy Bishopric of Morphou||Donation: £100 CYP|
|Commandant Athanasios Yiannikas||Money donation for the construction of the entire Chancel Table|
Various Military Officers and privates of the 281 Infantry Battalion contributed financially to the expenditure.
Following is the letter written by A.K. Anastasiou, General Director of the Ministry of Interior, as well as a letter sent by the late Metropolitan Bishop of Morphou, Chrysanthos, both addressed to Athanasios Yiannikas.
A lot of people gather every year at the small chapel on the day of feast of the two saints, where a festival takes place. Agios Andronicos made a lot of miracles at Vyzakia.
The Life of Agios Andronicos and Agia Athanasia
Agios Andronicos came from Antiochia. He was a moneychanger and he was very rich. He was distinguished for his devotion and his virtue and made a lot of works of charity and love. He was married with Athanasia that was also very modest. They both came from rich families. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Their children however fell sick with a certain incurable illness and both died the same day. Andronicos faced this disaster with a lot of patience and dignity. However his wife had an inconsolable sorrow. As a result of her big sorrow she took the decision to go to the monastery, because she believed that it was the only place where they could find comfort after the villain that found them. They shared therefore part of their fortune with the poor people and allocated the remaining for charity works.
Agia Athanasia went to the Abbey of Tavennisioton and Agios Andronicos after taking the angelic form from the old man Avva Daniel, he stayed next to him for twelve years. After twelve years, Andronicos asked permission from the old man in order to go and offer his respects to the Holy Places. The old man made a wish and released him. On his way from Egypt to Jerusalem, he stopped for a moment under a tree in order to rest . At the same time his wife Athanasia was passing from there and she was going also to offer her respects to the Holy Places, wearing a male angelic costume. Athanasia did not tell who was she. They moved together for their adoration, without speaking. When they finished their travel, Athanasia asked from the Andronicos to stay at the same monastery, but in different rooms at the locality “Oktokaidekatos”.
Athanasia kept her secret until she died, however a note that she left back it was telling the truth for her identity. Agios Andronicos found out the truth and he died in very little time and buried at the same place with his wife, Agia Athanasia.
Church of Archangel Michael
At the village of Vyzakia there is an old church that is devotional to Archangel Michael. During the old years it was the only one church found at the community. It was built during the 16th century near an olive grove. During the old years this church was property belonging to Panagia tou Araka and some monks were staying there. Today it belongs in the Bishopric of Morfou that rents it to the community of Vyzakia.
The church was repaired recently by the department of antiquities. Repairs were made to the roof, to the exterior part, to the doors and to the courtyard where a stone wall was built around it. This small church has a vestibule at the left and a semicircular arch at the east side. It is also wooden roofed. Some murals are saved from the 16th century at its southern and western department. The main murals that are work of a popular painter are at its southern side, the Annunciation of Virgin Mary, the Resurrection of Lazarus, the Birth of Christ, the Meeting and the Baptism of Jesus Christ. At the lower part there are portraits of the apostles Petros and Pavlos, Agios Georgios on his horse, Agios Mamas sitting on a lion and Agios Demetrios. In the pediment it dominates the Crucifixion, while more southerly there are portraits of the Lord’s Supper, the Betrayal and the Inhumation. Agios Constantinos and Eleni are seen at the southern side of the western door.
The church of Archangel Michael attracts many people mainly foreigners that combine their visit at the church of Asinou with a visit at the church of Vyzakia. Today the church of Archangel Michael is protected from the department of Antiquities and some efforts have been done in order to put the church under the protection of UNESCO.
The tall eucalyptus that is found in front of the church with its bell, the company of the pigeons that nestle in its roof, they really create a magic spectacle that attracts the attention of every traveler. The tradition in order to explain the building of the church at that concrete village, reports that the season where the illness of plague existed, the icon of Archangel Michael was transported in the village and the donkey to carry it stopped there without moving furthermore. This was considered as a divine will and the church of Archangel Michael was built there.
Archangel Michael was an angel of the Old Testament. He was protector of the church of Jesus Christ. Usually in the murals and hagiographies it is depicted as a Roman soldier that keeps spear or sword and strikes a dragon.
This church functions two times every year:
- On 6 September it celebrates the miracle of Archangel Michael made at Chones.
- On 8 November on the day of feast of “Asomaton”.