The Catholic Church of Ayia Kyriaki - Chrisopolitissa

The Catholic Church of Ayia Kyriaki - Chrisopolitissa

Where the Roman soldiers tied up Apostle Paul to a column and whipped him 39 times...

Ayia Kiriaki - Chrysopolitissa is a lovely little church with raised pathways all around it. If you are going to the Tombs of the kings from the harbour it is well sign posted and is very easy to find. Entrance is free and there’s lots to see. It's definitely one of the places to see when you visit Paphos! It dates back to 45 AD when Sts Paul and Barnabas came to Cyprus.

The Church of Ayia Kyriaki is built on the ruins of an early Christian basilica of the 5th century that unearthed the ruins of recent excavations from the Department of Antiquities. It was built at the time of the Christianisation of the island and eventually became the first Cathedral in Paphos. It is one of the greatest early Christian basilicas in Cyprus. Almost the whole area is coated with a mosaic floor and decorated with geometric motifs.

Beside the church there is Apostle Paul's Pillar.  According to the Acts of Apostles, when Paul had come to teach  Christianity here, the Roman soldiers tied him to a column and whipped him 39 times, before the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus was converted to Christianity. 

It was also the first Episcopal Temple in New Paphos from the late 4th century until it was abandoned in the middle of the 7th century AD. We have here some of the oldest Roman structures,  built on top of ancient Greek structures.  The Romans used many of the architectural elements, mainly from the neighboring theater, which had already been abandoned. The plan of the basilica is irregular, which may be due to pre-existing urban axes.

In the mid-7th century, probably during the first Arab raids, some crude alterations took place, and later towards the end of the 7th century, the early basilica was abandoned. The activity of the arab invaders is indicated by some arabic inscription preserved on some of the columns of the nave. These are invocations to Allah for the fallen Muslim warriors. The columns were still standing while incised, before the partial collapse of the building probably by the earthquakes of 685 A.D

After the abandonment of this complex, the area was converted into a quarry. Existing, but abandoned, building material was reused for the construction of secular and ecclesiastical edifices. Lime kilns were constructed for the recycling of the marble architectural pieces into lime. A much smaller church was erected within the ruins of the early Christian basilica that is not visible today. It was transformed and rebuilt several times over many centuries of existence. It was finally demolished around 1500 when the existing church of Ayia Kyriaki was constructed.

Aside the Catholic church is the ruins of a Episcopal Palace which was initially a two storey edifice. This building was probably the residence of the Bishop of Paphos. 

After the destruction of the basilica, a Byzantine church was built in the 11th century. Another church succeeded it in 1500AD. Today the new church is used as a Roman Catholic Parish Church. Of course, all Christians can pray there.

The entrance is free

The Catholic Church of Ayia Kyriaki - Chrisopolitissa

Don't miss the amazing Tombs of the Kings near by.