What I Saw

01 Mar 2024

Lorenzo Warriner Pease in Nicosia

On 26 March 1838, while walking in the streets of Nicosia, Lorenzo Warriner Pease, an American missionary noted in his diary the following scene:

A few days ago, the brother of the Archbishop was walking through the streets of Nicosia with some of the deacons, when he saw a young man drunk and singing. He began to reprove him for being drunk, when the Archbishop etc., were trying to procure relief to the island from the government. The young man returned some saucy words when the other smacked him on the face. The drunken man then pounced upon him took him by the beard and smacked him, though he did no material injury, as the rest interfered. Immediately, on returning to the monastery, the Archbishop was informed of the facts, when he made a formal complaint to the governor.

The offender was brought up before a Turkish officer and sentenced to be bastinadoed 400 or 500 blows. After having received a few light blows, a few persons interfered but the governor said if the Archbishop consented he would order the beating to cease. The latter would not. He then received about 150 in all and exclaimed “most Blighted, my soul and my body be on you”. He then ordered it to cease. Charalambos says the meaning is my soul will be lost, for I shall become a Mohammedan or my body will finish under the blows. The Archbishop has authority in such offences to imprison and bastinado in his own palace, but he declined doing so, for fear the people would say he ordered the punishment because the sufferer was a brother.

Watercolour: Gwendolen Frere, Nicosia, 1902

© Costas and Rita Severis Foundation

The 'What I Saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and the Active Citizens Fund.

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