The Catacombs of Agia Solomoni
The Woman who became a Saint
The Catacombs of Agia Solomoni in Kato Paphos were originally built in the Hellenistic period. They comprise an open courtyard surrounded by five rooms carved into the rock, one of these has a spring. The west room is entered through an arch in the west wall and contains remnants of Christian wall paintings. In the 9th century a Christian church was built on top of the Catacombs. Saint Solomoni was one of the first to reject idolatry and converted to Christianity.
There is a huge Terebinth tree above the catacomb. Its branches are full of coloured rags and pieces of fabric left there by visitors as offerings to Saint Solomoni. Many believe that hanging these pieces of fabric on the branches, will cure eye problems.
To see the church, remnants of old frescoes of the 12th century and the holy water, visitors have to descend about twenty steps.
The actual tomb of Saint Solomoni lies on the other side of the island in a church in the occupied village of Koma tou Yialou in Karpasia, Famagusta.
Agia Solomoni was a Christian Jew from Judea. Her seven sons were killed during the persecutions of the Jews in 168 A.D
The period 115-117 AD saw the Jews of Cyprus rebelling against the Romans and Greeks led by Artemionos 240,000 people were massacred. Ancient Salamina was destroyed and all its inhabitants were massacred. At the same time, Jews were rioting in Libya and Egypt. After the rebellion in Cyprus, tough measures were taken in Cyprus and Jews were not allowed on the island at all. With the passing of time, the prohibitions softened and the 3rd century AD saw Jews residing in Cyprus again.
The Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes, who ruled over Cyprus during the period 170-168 A.D, decided that he would humiliate the Jews including those who had adopted the Christian religion. He gathered Saint Solomoni’s children along with some others and gave them pork to eat saying that they would be spared from death if they ate it. Eating Pork was forbidden by Jewish law, as unclean. This prohibition continued in much of early Christianity. The children replied that they would rather die than eat pork. Antiochus was furious and killed them all. When she saw this, St Solomoni threw herself into a fire in protest. She became an “Unsolicited Witness”.
Visit beside Saint Solomoni the big cave of Saint Lambrianos