The church museum “National Martyr Kyprianos” is located next to the Byzantine church of Panagias Chryseleousas in Strovolos. The museum is sheltered in the renovated House of catechists, at the west side of the church and it was renovated and upgraded by the architect Fanos Loizidis.
The impressive marble stone dedicate to Archbishop Kyprianos is standing at the courtyard of the museum. At the top of the column there is a stone miter, the cross of which was destroyed by the Ottomans. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Kyprianos’ martyrdom, the cross on the miter has been restored.
The objects on display are divided into sections such as the temple and the rituals in it, moveable paintings, sacred vessels, manuscripts, antiques, and woodcuts.
Inside the exhibition hall there is an artistic inscribed cross-like domed temple and the exhibits showed inside are related to the devotional service (paintings, sacred vessels, holy books, wood-carving and embroidery works).
In the museum, in addition to a few but important salvaged relics related to Archbishop Kyprianos, such as paintings, vessels and an armchair, a significant number of objects are exhibited, which come from the churches of Strovolos, Panagia Chryseleousa and Agios Georgios. These objects include moveable paintings from the 16th to the 20th century, of different styles (the age of Venetian rule, the religious paintings workshop of the Monastery of Saint Heraklidios, Nazarene style) and different techniques (egg tempera, oi paintings) from religious paintings workshops of Cyprus, Greece, Holy Land and Russia. Among these, what stands out are the paintings of Virgin Mary-Glykofilousa, Virgin Mary of Passion (16th century), Virgin Mary-Odegetria with saints (beginning of 17th century) from the Ionian Islands, two impressive triptych with the Virgin Mary of Kykkos with a ship and another one with Virgin Mary of Machairas and other Saints (18th century). In addition, there are works of Solomon Fragkoulidi like Panagia Chryseleousa and “Theonympetos Daughter” (20th century), Saint Photios (1957) and “The Virgin of Eleusis of Strovolos”, a painting of Ioannis Kissonergis (1949). There are also works of Panaretos Kousoulidis, such as Saint Nicholas (1953), works of Andreas Paparistodimou, such as Saint Elias (1959) and works from the Stavrovouni Monastery.
Silver sacred vessels such as chalices, crosses, herubium sets, a censer (19th century), are on display and some of them are donations of Xatzisavvas Kyriacos. There is also a shell-encrusted monstrance, as a gift from Archbishop Kyprianos (1819). There are also vestments and embroidery items on display such as written (1692) and stamped altar cloths (“antiminsia”) (19th-20th century), as well as a big Russian coffin (19th century).
What stands out of the rich collection of post-Byzantine manuscripts and antiquities, is the manuscript “Award of living and dead Orthodox Christians” of Strovolos (1792), in which monk Theophanis inscribed the names of Strovolos families, among them the family of Archbishop Kyprianos. Further, there are rites of Saints, the book of the Storehouse 1909-1910 ,as well as printed books from the Greek print shops of Venice and Athens, such as Gospels, Prayers, “Theotokarion”, “Menaion” books, “Triodium” and rites of Cypriot Saints (18th-19th century).
There is also a display of a hearse which was used for transferring the dead at the cemetery. It is a car type AUSTIN and on its truck there is a wood-carved ciborium with depictions of saints. This hearse was used in 1977 for transferring the body of Archbishop Makarios III and the body of the first president of Cyprus for burial at Kykkos Monastery.
The exhibits displayed in the museum’s permanent collections constitute an integral part of Strovolos’ history and part of the memory of all citizens who preserved them throughout the centuries.
Dr. Christodoulos Chatzichristodoulou
Byzantinologist – Museum Curator