About six miles inland from Pafos lies the huge monastery of Ayios Neofytos, at the end of a cool, shady canyon. It is a nice one as monasteries go, even with a small museum showing off an exquisite collection of Byzantine religious paraphernalia. The main attraction, however, is neither monastery nor museum. Long before these were around, in the middle of the 12th century, there was a hermit living in a nearby cave: the St Neofytos who gave his name to the whole site.
- Well, Neofytos may have been a hermit but even a hermit needs some distraction: so had his entire cave complex painted (there is speculation that he did some of the paintings himself) and the whole thing now looks uncannily like a Cappadocian rock-cut church. The surface in the caves is uneven but the design of the paintings cleverly take this into account.
- The panel in the middle shows the washing of the feet. The left scene shows part of the Last Supper, and to the right is a bit of the Betrayal of Jesus. There are many other scenes and persons and angels, all of them beautifully executed in the same simple Syrian/Cappadocian style, but alas most were simply too dark to photograph. Another thing we found engaging was the enormous number of small holes and cut-out shelves in the cave walls: Neofytos was obviously a man who liked to have all his things in perfect order.
- This is the entrance to the caves, also covered with paintings (one can just make out the Annunciation). Currently only the lower level is accessible; the upper level, with Neofytos' private chambers, is still under restoration.
- We're approaching the end: Limassol Foothills.
$updated from: Ayios Neofytos.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$