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Church of Apostles Peter and Paul

The main church of the village dedicated to Apostles Peter and Paul is located at the centre of the community. The church was built at the end of the 19th century, when Asgata was flourishing. 

The inscription of the south entrance of the church indicates that it was built in 1865 when churchwarden was Costas Pyrros. As the stone sculpture of Costas Pyrros located above the inscription indicates, he was also president of the church and the main fund resource for the church to be built. Another inscription, located on the west entrance, as Antonis Kavazis mentions, holds that the church was completed in 1876 when Panayis Nicola was churchwarden. The same inscription indicates that the plot of land in which the church was built was donated by Hadjichristinou Hadjilouca. 

According to Antonis Kavazis, the church architectonically falls under the “usual style followed in Cyprus at the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century”. Explicitly, it is a one-room church, built with local stone. What is impressive, is “the high bell-tower with three arches” and the “elaborate classical carving” which, according to the inscription, was added in 1900. 

What is worth mentioning at this point is the tradition brought forward by the inhabitants as far as the bell-tower is concerned. Specifically, during Turkish domination, the taxes in villages were raised by Turkish soldiers, known as “tax collectors”, assigned by Turkish administration. Once, one of the tax collectors asked how to get to the next village as soon as he finished form Asgata. He asked an inhabitant from Asgata…however, this could only be achieved through a river. The soldier decided to swim across the river but he did not manage to do it and he drowned. Then, the man who showed him the way took the money and gave it for the bell-tower to be built. The man shouted “Fellow villagers, we found the money for the bell-tower!”. Thus, the bell-tower was built with the taxes collected by several villages in the area. 

The internal of the church is “decorated with an exquisite wood-carved iconostasis, Episcopal throne, pulpit and faldstool”. They were all created by Sophocles Leptourgos. The internal staircases of the church were incorporated at the side walls leading to the “beautiful wooden seraglio, the roof and the pulpit”. It must be noted that the Episcopal throne and the faldstool were made in 1888 while the iconostasis in 1910.

Source:

Antonis Kavazis, “Asgata”, ed. Asgata Expartiates’ Association, Limassol 1992

Inhabitants of Asgata

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