One view of the monastery

Another closer view


Andrew, the brother of Peter and one of Jesus's twelve disciples, is the apostle most revered by the Cypriots: a monastery was erected in his honour on Cape Karpasia, occupied territory since 1974. St. Andrew's Cape, as it used to be known, is the most north-easterly point of the island, it points, like the tip of a finger, to a region which was called Cilicia in Byzantine times. The narrow Karpas peninsula is practically uninhabited after Rizokarpaso, although in the monastery itself one Greek still holds out, cared for by Austrian UN soldiers. Only an unpaved path leads to the cape, the monastery has been accessible already for some time by an asphalt road.

The sources on the foundation of this famous monastery are scanty. According to tradition, the Apostle performed a miracle during his short stay in Cyprus, he opened a spring with fresh water, which still flows today, in the dry, rocky area. A captain is said to have erected a small church at this spot because the Apostle helped his blind son to see again. Another story relates that the drinking water ran out on the ship on which Andrew was also travelling to the feast of the Passover in Jerusalem; the one-eyed captain became very worried. Andrew restored his whole sight again and instructed the sailors to land at that part of the cape which they were just passing. He prophesied to them that they would find a spring there with drinkable water. Instead of accepting a reward, he preached the Gospel and was able to convert many, a true fisher of men as Christ had called for:

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt, 4:18-19). From this can be seen that Andrew alongside Peter, was among Christ's first disciples, and that is of importance for his esteem and rank among the Apostles. To return to the legend: the captain is said to have acquired a portrait of Andrew in Jerusalem which he left behind on his return to the spring. The place would thus have had an 'authentic' portrait of the Apostle. It was never occupied by a monastic community in the strict sense, but was primarily a place of pilgrimage and as such one of the most important in Cyprus.

In the grounds of the monastery stands a small gothic church from the 15th. Century which alone by its style of construction shows that it was constructed during the period of Frankish rule in Cyprus. A Frankish noble-man is said to have financed the chapel, but his name has not been handed down to us. Its entrances were constructed in unworked stones (fig.181) on the west and south sides. It was repaired and renovated on various occasions in the past. Old Cypriot maps dating from 1465 and 1478 confirm its existence. In these sources, the area is called ' Capo de Santo Andrea' or ' Capo Bonandrea'.