Cyprus - Late Antiquity - medieval period
The concept of pilgrimage grew progressively during the early Christian times and Late Antiquity. In the early Christian times, Christianity, deviating from Judaism, had to find a way to distinguish itself from it. In Judaism, the idea of pilgrimage was not exactly conceptualized. The Jews had a Temple in Jerusalem, a sacred place where no common people could penetrate. Nevertheless, population had to go there and worship it at least once a year. On the opposite, the early Christians, following the idea of splitting the two religions, thought that God and spirituality were everywhere and within everybody. Therefore, there was no need to build sacred places for the believers, as they could gather anywhere1. But the evolution of Christianity led the Fathers of the Church to come up with the necessity of churches, and the first ones looked like pagan temples, convert for the needs of the specific liturgy. Throughout the time, the idea of pilgrimage also developed. As early as the 3rd century, the Holy Land was seen as sacred; it was the place where the life of Christ occurred. The graves of martyrs were also progressively adorned. It is in the 4th century with the conversion of Constantine the Great to Christianity that sacred places were sought, and churches were built all over the Empire. His mother Helena was sent to Palestine; there she found the True Cross and other relics2. Churches were built on these specific shrines, as the Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem, the Anastasis and the Martyrium, Golgotha, or the Mount of Olives. The construction of sanctuaries throughout Palestine developed until the 6th-7th century, time of Justinian. In the Holy Land, the afflux of pilgrims from Constantine onwards led to the construction of monasteries and hostels built especially to receive these pilgrims.
We can thus define pilgrimage as taking a journey to a place or to ecclesiastical buildings as monasteries, or tombs, which deserve and worth being worshiped and venerated. These places were brightened up by relics, objects or bones belonging to a sacred man. The pilgrim could, there, worship the place, pray, ask for forgiveness or for help, or wish for a cure. Relics were considered as objects performing miracles through the Saint to whom it belonged. Palestine, Rome, and other places were considered as sacred places and to have worthy relics.
[...] It is also a good example because his tomb, his Life, and his portraits survive today. The Saint lived in the 7th century before the Arab invasion, and was so pious that he gave away all his belongings to the poor. The jars from where the food was given were fulfilled every time they became empty. He died around his twenties and is also famous for having saved sailors during a storm, and he appeared several times to the eyes of people although he was dead. His remains demonstrated miraculous effects. [...]
[...] We can see his popularity through the numerous icons and paintings of him all over the island. His cult became more popular under the Lusignan. In the middle Ages, the Greeks had to manage the settlement of the Latin who took over the Byzantine rule. Latin and Greek clergy had to cohabite, and rapidly the Lusignan lost control of the situation. The popes in Rome wished the Orthodox to embrace the Latin Church, leading to a confrontation between the two clergies. [...]
[...] Their particularity was that they were not local Saints, but foreigners. The first one is the pilgrimage of St Jean de Montfort in Lefkosia at Beaulieu, which was really popular in the 15th century19. Nobody knew who he really was, some claiming that he was a German knight, other native of Utrecht, Leon Machairas thought he was a French lord20. Because of his high state of conservation, he was attracting both Greeks and Latin pilgrims, and was supposed to cure fever. [...]
[...] 227- Weiss Daniel H., Mahoney Lisa, France and the Holy Land: Frankish culture at the end of the crusades, JHU Press Weil Annemarie, Lusignan Asset?” p.313- Shabel Christopher, Cyprus, Society and Culture 1191-1374, BRILL “Religion” p.157- Makhairas Leontius, Recital concerning the Sweet Land of Cyprus entitled “chronicle”, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, Volume Vincent Catherine, Identités pèlerines colloque tenu à Rouen le 15 et 16 mai 2002, Publications de l'Université de Rouen Grivaud Gilles, “Pélerinages grecs et latins dans le royaume de chypre (1192-1474) : concurrence ou complémentarité”, p.67- www.oboolo.com of seeing the Greek veneration changed and the Stavrovouni Cross was under royal patronage. Greeks and Latin from now on adorned the same relics. The coexistence between the native population and the Lusignan elite was not the only contact between Greeks and Latin from West. As I already mentioned, Cyprus was on the way for the Holy Land, therefore pilgrims often stopped there to rest, some also enjoyed this occasion to visit Stavrovouni. [...]
[...] As she returned to Constantinople by sea, she was forced to stop in Cyprus, where she was the subject of two miracles. While she was sleeping, she had a vision urging her to build churches on the mountain of Olympia. She thus built a church there, Stavrovouni, for the relic of the Cross of the Good Thieve, with a chunk of the True Cross lodged in6. For the Cross of the Bad Thieve, she installed it in a separate monastery in Tochni below Stavrovouni. [...]
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