Agios Neophytos Monastery
This incredible holy place is one of the most popular monasteries in Cyprus. Furthermore,it is located around 10 km outside of Paphos. Agios Neophytos Monastery enjoys a position near a beautiful village with the name of: Tala.
The monastery was founded in the 12th century and it took the founder’s name,Neophytos.
Neophytos of Cyprus:
Neophytos was a cypriot orthodox monk and till this day he has a reputation of one the most important figure in the history of the church in Cyprus.
The monk was born in a mountain village of Kato drys,near Pano Lefkara. Even more he was one of the 8 children of farming parents. His parents tried to marry him, but instead he fled to the the Monastery of Saint John Chrysostomos in Koutsovendis(Kirenia District) to follow his religious calling.
He became a novice and in 1152 he became a tonsured monk. A tonsured means the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility.
His whole life, Neophytos wanted to become a hermit(a person living in solitude as a religious discipline). The head of the Monastery refused due to the fact that in his eyes, he was too young for this kind of life. But,in 1158 he did let him go to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Here,he tried to find hermits who might endorse him,but unfortunately he had no success.
When he returned to Cyprus, he still wanted to pursue the hermit life. Because of this, he tried to escape to Mount Latmos in Asia Minor. Yet he was arrested in Paphos,when he tried to embark. Though he was arrested,he was released shortly, but without any funds.
So in 1159,he found a cave that has been used by a previous hermit and enlarged the space,by creating 3 caves. Today those caves are known as : Cell,Bema and the Naos.
Finally in 1170, the Bishop of Paphos recognizes him as a priest and convinced him to take a disciple.
And this is how,it all started…..
The monastery started in his time and the name was Engleistra. This was always a small monastery, made out of maximum 15 to 18 monks. Neophytos wasn’t a big fan of materialism and to be honest he preferred the solitude life over people.
After his death, he was buried in Engleistra, as this was his final wish.
The monastery grew over time. Also,with expansion,came also repairs, to ensure the longevity of this stunning place.
I have visited many times this place. Not necessarily for it’s religious purpose,but because it brings you peace,beauty and relaxation after a stressful day. I can also recommend with all my heart the small restaurant in front,that gives you the opportunity to enjoy natures beauty at the gates of this incredible building. And the food: amazing!! Inside,the monastery you will also find a museum that you can visit for €2,00!
From my point of view this amazing architecture stops time and makes us enjoy every moment like this would be the last time we would see a beauty like this….