Map of 1st Century Cyprus

Tucked away in the farthest eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea – just a short 45 minute flight from Tel Aviv – the island of Cyprus was not only one of the major commercial centers of the Roman empire, but also of major significance to early Christians.

Cyprus played an integral part in early Christian History, though the events on the island are often overlooked. Few people know that Christianity reached Cyprus BEFORE Barnabas and Paul arrived on their First Missionary Journey. In Acts 11:19 the Bible clearly states “those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

Both Barnabas and Lazarus are buried in Cyprus. Saul performed his first miracle at the Roman proconsul’s chamber and chose the name Paul in Paphos, in honor of the Roman Proconsul, Sergius Paulus. Eustolios of Kourion was one of the first to openly dedicate his home to Christ. One of the oldest pieces of Christian jewelry ever publicly worn was found in Cyprus, which is also home to some of the world’s most ancient monasteries, many of which house sacred relics of the true cross, brought there from Golgotha for safe keeping by St Helena, mother of Constantine.

Map of Cyprus and its Roman Cities
Barnabas and Paul’s 1st Mission

Not only did Barnabas and Paul visit Cyprus on their first mission, but Paul also performed his first miracle here

St Lazarus Church in Larnaca
St Lazarus Church

Constructed during the 9th Century, the church is built over his tomb and his relics are venerated there.

Underground Churches of Cyprus

For two hundred and fifty years, Christians had to pray out of sight or underground.

The House of Eustolios

Eustolios’ House in Kourion was one of the first residences to be openly dedicated to Jesus Christ.

4th Century Chi Rho

This symbol was etched onto the Christian ring unearthed at Kourion by David Soren and his team in 1987.

The Monasteries of Cyprus

Dating back to the 4th Century, Cyprus is home to some of the oldest monasteries in the world.

Tomb of Barnabas
Tomb of Barnabas

Barnabas’ second mission to Cyprus ended in the Saint’s martyrdom and burial at Salamis.

Early Basilica on Kourion Beach
Kourion Basilica

The building of basilicas began in the latter 4th Century, once Christianity became the Empire’s religion.

Similar Posts