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Church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) Pelendria

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Location: Pelendri village in Limassol area south east of Kato Amiantos village near Saittas

Founding date: Built in 1178 according to an inscription surviving in the apse.

Architecture: A small single-aisled dome-hall church decorated with wall paintings in 1178. For unknown reasons it was destroyed and only the apse remained that was incorporated into the same type of church built at the beginning of the 14th century. Later in the century, the north chapel was added with a rectilinear east wall rather than an arch and in the 16th century, the south chapel was built with an arch. At some point the north chapel’s vault and north wall collapsed leaving only the wall paintings on the west and south walls and on the lower part of the east wall. In addition, the east wall with the arch, the south wall and the arch of the southern chapel were destroyed, although the exact date is unknown.

Today it is 3-aisled with wall paintings on the eastern part of the central aisle. The vaults, but not the dome, are covered with a pitched tiled roof, a recent construction that possibly replaced an older steep pitched sloping roof covering the dome.

Wall Paintings: Some survive in the church apse with compositions and techniques that were rare in Cyprus, but common in the wider region.

The main part of the church was decorated with wall paintings during the first half of the 14th century by at least three painters from the same atelier. The first followed the Paleologan style developed in Constantinople in the 13th and 14th century, the second has a less sophisticated, more linear and schematised style and the third followed the local tradition of Byzantine painting with eastern elements of the 14th century. Wall paintings of the central part of the church, also a work of the third painter, were removed and placed in the south chapel to save them from destruction. They became detached from the original wall painting layer.

Some surviving wall paintings in the north chapel are from a later period and follow the more mainstream style of Paleologan painting, whereas those in the south chapel follow the local Byzantine tradition.

Athanasios Papageorgiou

Church of Timios Stavros, Pelendri 3D modeling


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