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The Monastery of Holy Cross

            The monastery of the Holy Cross (Stravrovouni).
             According to the prevailing tradition on the mountain of Stavrovouni was a pagan temple. The tradition is supported both by the fact that the former name of the mountain was Olympos. Two limestone statues discovered on the precinct of the present Monastery furnish additional evidence in support of this view. According to the most prevailing opinion, this pagan temple was dedicated to Olympian Zeus.
             After many adventures St Helena found the three crosses of Our Lord and the two thieves, as well as the Holy Nails of Our Lord's Crucifixion during her voyage in Palestine at 326 - 328. According to tradition, which has retained its strength down to this day, the blessed empress was compelled by a tempest to seek refuge on the southern shores of Cyprus while journeying by ship from Palestine to Costantinople with the intention of transporting the sacred symbols of Christ's Passion and the thieves" crosses to the imperial capital. According to the same tradition Cyprus was then suffering from a terrible drought, which had caused plagues. Poisonous snakes had also overrun the island. .
             An angel of the Lord appeared before St Helena at this time and told her that it was the will of God for her to erect churches in Cyprus, as she had already done in the Holy Land, to which pieces of the True Cross would be dedicated, so that the Cross of Our Lord would be honored in Cyprus as well in Palestine. Another miracle then ensued, with the passage of the True Cross to the peak of Mt Olympos, the modern Stavrovouni, by divine power. In this manner the location on which a church should be founded in honor of the Holy Cross of Our Lord was indicated to St Helena. St Helena with the assistance of her followers as well as that of the inhabitants of the surrounding areas demolished the pre-existing pagan temple, founding in its place a church dedicated to the glory of the True God.

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