Our 5th time to visit Gateways Beyond, the international school in the mountains of central Cyprus. During our stay we experienced Easter with the Orthodox church (interestingly a year when Easter and Pesach fall on the same weekend and the following weekend is Orthodox Easter followed by Celtic Easter!). The service was filled to bursting with locals from the village, many who return to their mountain homes for Easter. Just before midnight, the church is darkened, symbolizing the tomb of Jesus. The only light comes from an oil candle at the Holy of Holies brought out by the priest. At 12 o’clock the candle is passed around and the room which slowly fills with light as the lighted candles are passed from person to person. A very moving moment. Afterwards bonfires and fire crackers everywhere!
The Monastery of Kykkos is a spectacle – and at an altitude of 1318 metres, stands high on a mountain peak. Apparently it is the richest and the most lavish of all the monasteries on the island, in the region of Marathasa.
There’s a great story that we heard associated with the monastery – here’s the condensed version. “Blessed with divine grace, Cypriot hermit Isaiah miraculously cured the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118 AD)’s daughter of an incurable illness. As a reward, he asked for the icon of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) kept at the imperial palace at Constantinople. Though grieved at the prospect of losing his precious treasure, the emperor sent it to Cyprus with fitting honours together with funds to pay for the construction of a monastery where the sacred relic would be kept.” – VisitCyprus.com