Thursday, July 17, 2014

St. Marina Amirou, Cyprus

St Marina Amirou monastery, near the city of Lemessos (Cyprus) is part of the Monastery of Panagia Amirou, where a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary is located. The area is called Amirou, a weird – even in Greek. Researcher Mr. Kostis Kokkinofatos has no idea where the name comes from. However, according to a local folklore tradition this is due to a rich man, an Emir or Amir. He was a very rich man, who gradually was losing his sight. He prayed to the Virgin Mary, who appeared in his dream and told him to travel with a boat from where he lived, in Amathus, and he would look for a light on the hill, behind the city, which he would follow. Indeed, the Emir travelled to Cyprus and following the light, he found that it came from a small lamp, hanging on a tree, near the village of Apsios. He rubbed his eyes with the oil from the oil lamp and his vision immediately returned miraculously.

According to another version, the one who was miraculously treated was the Emir’s daughter, who washed her eyes with the holy water which was pouring out from the cave, where the monastery of the Virgin Mary is currently located. In order to show his gratitude, the Emir built a church dedicated to the Theotokos. From that point onwards the locals named the church of the Theotokos as the Emir’s building, which gradually changed to Amirou. A number of scholars also claim that the name could derive from the name Amiras, widely used in Asia Minor, specifically in the area of Smyrna.

St Marina is a new monastery. No church foundations from the past can be found. Currently a new church building is been constructed, just opposite the main monastery of Panagia. There is one sister there, who kindly accepts visitors, giving the history of the monastery and the countless miracles St. Marina performs daily. Her stories are a reminder that the Orthodox faith is a living faith, where the Saints are part of our life, whether we know it or not, verifying their existence even to sceptics and atheists, who after a miraculous event understand the riches and beauty of Orthodoxy, becoming thus vibrant members of the Church.  

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