Monday, March 10, 2008
BOOK REVIEW: Cyprus: Byzantine Churches and Monasteries Mosaics and Frescoes
By Ewald Hein, Andrija Jakovljevic and Brigitte Kleidt
Melina-Verlag, Ratingen, 1998
Reviewed by Dr. Chrissi Hart
This beautiful textbook is the result of a collaboration between the three authors about the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Cyprus. It begins with historical accounts of the turbulent history of Cyprus, the Byzantine Empire and history of the Orthodox church. Dr. Jakovljevic’s scholarly description of monasteries, churches, icons, mosaics and frescoes is supplemented with beautiful color photographs. The appendix includes references to Cyprus in the Bible; a list of Archbishops of Cyprus; Byzantine, Lusignan and Ottoman rulers; a chronological table or timeline of Cyprus, a summary of saints; and a glossary.
The book is rich with information into the Byzantine Empire that lasted over one thousand years. Of particular interest is Stavrovouni Monastery, the oldest monastery on the island, founded by St. Helen when she brought the holy cross to Cyprus. Kykkos Monastery houses one of three original icons written by St Luke dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary. The oldest church in Cyprus is that of St Lazarus of Bethany, in Larnaca, which contains his precious relics. A number of Byzantine churches on the UNESCO World Heritage List are also included. These are located throughout the Troodos mountain areas of Marathasa, Solea and Pitsilia, set in enchanting scenery of cedar valleys or pine forests. One such example is the painted church of the Mother of God at Asinou. There are also descriptions of neglected churches in the Turkish occupied north of the island which have been inaccessible since 1974.
Scholars and students of Byzantine history and art will find this book an invaluable resource into the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of Cyprus and thus should be in every University Library.
Dr. Andreas Jakovljevic is a Byzantine scholar and Director at the Research Centre of Kykkos Monastery based at Archangelos Monastery, Nicosia, Cyprus. Cyprus: Byzantine Churches and Monasteries Mosaics and Frescoes is available from Moufflon Bookshop in Nicosia, Cyprus. Tel: (357) 22 665 155; Fax: (357) 22 668 703. www.moufflon.com.cy.
Chrissi Hart is the author of Under the Grapevine: A Miracle by Saint Kendeas of Cyprus (Conciliar Press, 2006) and The Hermit, The Icon, and The Emperor: The Holy Virgin Comes to Cyprus (Conciliar Press, October 2008).