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Holy Monastery of Timios Prodromos | Mesa Potamos, Cyprus

In Troodos forest, in a verdant area, emerges the Monastery of Timios Prodromos of Mesa Potamos, dedicated Timios Prodromos. The Russian wandered Barsky, writes during the 18th century that the Monastery “is located among beautiful mountains covered in dense pine forests, has springs of sweet water near a small river or big deluge”.

The Monastery, according to Nicos Christou, goes back to the Byzantine era, specifically the 12th century, during which all the Monasteries of the area were built. Christou proves through the books of Archimandrite Epiphanios, that this date is also indicated by the 12th century icon depicting Zoodochos Piyi of Sayttiotissa. The icon under discussion was transferred in 1914 to the Church of Timios Stavros in the neighbouring village of Kouka, when the Monastery was destroyed by eparch Meletios Metaxakis. The icon was transferred to the Holy Eparchy of Limassol in 2003. It must be noted that in 1914 the Monastery was turned into a hotel.

The first written indication for the Monastery goes back to the 15th century. To be more specific, it is a decree of the Frank King Jacob II’ dated 4th April 1468. According to the decree, the king helped the abbot of the monastery, Gregorios, financially. This financial help included “twelve meters of wine and five Byzantine dinars”.

The monastery was renovated in 2003 after “the guidance of the Eparch of Limassol K. Athanassios and the contribution of the late Konstantinos Leventis”. The Monastery had seven monks in 2003.

Another written source mentioning the monastery is the firman published during Ottoman domination. The right of the monastery to use water of Mesa Potamos “for the irrigation of the vast land of Sayttas glebe” was renewed in the firman. The channel that brought water from the monastery to the area of Sayttas can also be seen today and it is a project of the monastery, namely a project of more than four hundred years old. What is interesting is how the water was used to operate the “wood cutting machine”, a flour mill and a machine that powered the monastery and the nearby houses with electricity.

Wanderer Barsky also provides important information regarding the monastery. To be more explicit, he writes that “the Monastery has a small church and only two, three cells covered with tiles so as to protect from snow, an Abbot with two monks, a garden and some vineyards. The monks, like in other monasteries, are fed with what they produce from agricultural cultivations and goat stocking”. He adds that “with one word a very attractive landscape, isolated from the rest of the world, suitable not only for monks but also for hermits”. Undoubtedly, Barsky seems impressed with the location of the monastery but at the same time disappointed with its architecture; that explains why he writes “the surrounding is exquisite, its buildings terrible”.

The Monastery, as mentioned earlier operated as a hotel from 1914 until 1960. It was then deserted, seriously damaged until 1988. In 1988 the eparch of Limassol, Chrysanthos started its renovation, which was continued by Athanassios, the next eparch. The renovation was completed in 1003. It re-operated in 2005 with seven monks, assigned there by archimandrite Nicolaos.

It is worth mentioning that in 1949, archbishop Makarios lodged in the Monastery for several days, so as to conduct the Unity referendum. During 1950, and until 1954, the Monastery was the meeting point for Archbishop Makarios and Grivas, the general of EOKA.

Concluding, it is worth mentioning that the Monastery also served as a hideaway for the fighters of EOKA. To be more specific, it provided shelter for the fighter serving under the directions of Lefkios Rodosthenous, Troodos sector head. During the struggle, British soldiers invaded the monastery several times trying to find and arrest the fighters. Their invasions were many times damaging for the monastery.