Every corner of Lefkara is deeply connected to Christianity since in every neighbourhood and in short distances around the village there are many preserved chapels that are operate frequently until this day. The church of the Holy Cross, dated back to the 14th century AD, dominates at the centre of Lefkara. A distinguishing feature of the Church is the wood-carved iconostasis built on 1760 AD with the hidden crypt in which the large, silver, gilded Cross which is believed to contain wood from the True Cross, is kept. According to tradition, the Cross on Pano Lefkara was allegedly transferred to the village by Saint Helena, during her visit in Cyprus.
The very heart of Lefkara and the area around it is scattered with very old, picturesque, small chapels. Many of them have strange names such as Agios Xorinos, Agios Georgios Oxys, Panagia Omorfia (Virgin Mary of Beauty), and the rider on the lion's mane who resides as a symbol of unyielding power and as protector at the centre of the village. Other chapels are dedicated to known Saints of the Orthodox doctrine such as Agia Marina, Agios Georgios and Agios Mamas, who brings to mind the coat of arms of the Gate of Lions of the Ancient Mycenae. Many of the chapels are embedded in the houses.
LEFKARA - THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS IN LEFKARA AND THE CHAPELS OF LEFKARA
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS
The magnificent Church of Lefkara is dedicated to the Holy Cross and dates back to the 14th century. More specifically, based on frescos that were saved behind the iconostasis of the church, Byzantinist Athanasios Papageorgiou dated the eastern part of the Church to the 14th century. This date is also confirmed by the metrical inscription of Olvianos which can be found at the bottom of the silver Cross of Lefkara. There is written testimony that Olvianos was a Bishop of Lefkara in 1307, during Francocracy.
In 1740 the temple was renovated and a wooden iconostasis was carved by Chatzikyriakos, a sculptor from Rhodes who was called for this purpose by the Bishop Lourentzo. An inscription at the bottom of the icon of the Descent from the Cross testifies that in 1761 the iconostasis was gilded and the relevant celebration was attended by the -at that time- Bishop of Kition Makarios. In 1857, the magnificent bell tower was constructed, the bells of which were donated by devout Lefkarians living abroad.
Important works on the Church took place in 1867, when the Church was extended in order to be able to accommodate a larger congregation. In 1909 the Church required repair works and it was at that time that the propylea that can be seen today were built. Moreover, it became a gate to the south.In 1953, the dome was painted.At its eastern section, the Temple is of cross-in-square rhythm, whereas its most recent section is of 19th century Cypriot rhythm. On the inside it has six columns, in two rows of three.
THE SILVER CROSS
The iconostasis has an invisible cavity. It is the crypt where the large wooden Cross to which the Church is dedicated is safely kept. According to tradition, the centre of the Cross contains a piece of the True Cross.
The Cross is entirely coated with thin leaves of silver. Fourteen embossed depictions from the Lord's life, with angels and the Equal-to-Apostles Constantine and Helena can be seen at the front side of the Cross. The representation of the Crucifixion dominates at the centre and is covered by two side doors, which represent the Theotokos (the Mother of God) and Ioannis (John). This representation is surrounded by four angels.
Constantine the Great, the "Betrayal of Jesus", "Golgotha" and Saint Helena are represented in a horizontal row on the Cross. "The Throne of the Second Coming" and the "Resurrection of Jesus" as well as the "Deposition" and the "Burial" of Christ are represented in a vertical row on the Cross, from top to bottom. At the very bottom of the Cross you can see the icon of Olvianos and the metrical inscription.