The Monastery of Panagia – Machaira’s

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Monastery of Panagia of Machairas, also known as Machairas Monastery or simply Machairas. This exquisite monastery is an important Stavropegic Temple belonging to the Church of Cyprus, with Bishop Ledra serving as its abbot.

Nestled at the eastern edge of the Troodos Mountains near the peak of Kionia (1423 m), the Holy, Royal, and Monastery of Panagia of Machairas stands proudly at an elevation of 870 meters above sea level. Surrounded by lush pine trees on a picturesque hillside, it overlooks the Pedieos River. The term “basilica” is used to describe the monastery due to the royal assistance it received during its construction. It is also referred to as “stavropegic,” signifying its self-governed status within the church, symbolized by the foundational cross position. The monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and celebrates her on November 21.

The renowned image of the Virgin Machairiotissa resides within the monastery.

The origins of the Monastery of Panagia of Machairas date back to the time when Fathers Ignatios and another elder monk named Procopius envisioned the creation of a monastery following the communal model followed by prominent monastic centers of that era. To bring their vision to life, they embarked on a journey to Constantinople, where they met Emperor Manuel Comnenus (1143-1180) and shared their aspirations. The benevolent emperor not only provided the necessary funds but also donated the land and surrounding area to the new monastery, granting it stavropegic status and exemption from taxes, both public and private. These privileges were further endorsed by the emperors Isaac and Alexios of the Angelid dynasty. Saint Ignatius, the successor of St. Nile, left a written document stipulating the regulations and rules governing monastic life and the smooth functioning of the commune, which has survived to this day and serves as the primary source of information about the monastery’s foundation. Bishop Tamasos, elected in 1209, handed over the reigns to his successor, Joachim, who eventually became the Archbishop of Cyprus between 1215 and 1221. During his time as Bishop of Tamasos, he endorsed the order and established a convent dedicated to the Virgin, known as Blachernitissa. The memory of the monastery’s founders, Neophytou, Ignatius, Prokopios, and Nile, is celebrated on December 13.

Following the island’s independence, the monastery faced challenging times both economically and spiritually. However, under the leadership of Archimandrite Paul, who later became Metropolitan of Kyrenia, the groundwork was laid for the monastery’s spiritual revival during his short tenure as abbot. The appointment of Monk Athanasios from Mount Athos as the new abbot in 1993 marked a significant milestone in the monastery’s modern history. Abbot Athanasios completely renovated the monastery’s buildings and implemented traditional monastic practices that had endured for centuries in ancient communes on Mount Athos. He constructed new temples, chapels, and hospitable areas, and rejuvenated various ministries and the sacristy. After the election of Fr. Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol in 1999, Archimandrite Arsenios succeeded him as abbot, continuing the work of his predecessor. Tragically, both Abbot Arsenios and Patriarch of Alexandria Petros, a great supporter of the monastery, lost their lives in a helicopter accident over the sea on September 11, 2004.

Today, the monastic community consists of 27 monks, under the guidance of Abbot His Grace