Did you know

14 Δεκ 2021

Did You Know? The church of Tochni village

According to the legend, St Helena landed in Cyprus c.327 and rested by the banks of Vasilikos (the Royal) river. She fell asleep and in her dream an angel told her to build a church and place in it the cross of the Penitent thief, and another one depositing in it a piece of the Holy Cross. So, she did.

She built Stavrovouni church (of the Mountain of the Cross) and a small church where she landed, at the village of Tochni. In 1318 the Cross of Tochni, which had the piece of the Holy Cross within it, was stolen by a Latin priest who wanted to take it abroad. But his boat almost perished during a sea storm. So scared was he, that he returned to the shore and threw the cross in the centre of a hollow carob tree. The cross remained there for years till it was found by a young shepherd boy. But its authenticity was doubted by the Latin bishop of Famagusta. And the cross was put to trial. It was decided to be put in fire and if it did not burn it would be the true cross, if it burnt it would be a fake. This took place in the palace and in the presence of the royal family. The cross did not burn and seeing this, Queen Alice, wife of King Hugh, who had been struck dumb for entering the church of Macheras which was forbidden to women, started talking after three years of silence. The present nineteenth century church of Tochni, containing a piece of the holy cross, is built on a bridge over the river and the reason is as follows: The village was infested by 40 evil spirits who made life hell for the inhabitants. A priest advised them to dig a deep pit at the one end of the bridge and then he enticed the evil spirits into the pit. Once there, the priest clapped a cover over the pit and built the church on top. So the evil spirits of Tochni are still trapped under the church. An inscription on a cliff in the river valley near the village, cut in deep coloured letters, has never been deciphered. Is it a magic formula to keep the spirits dormant? Is it a protective prayer? No one knows…

The ‘History Today’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

Ανακαλύψτε περισσότερα