The church is situated 1 mile (1.5 km) west of Sotera (Famagusta district), on the site of a medieval settlement. The existence of the latter is suggested by the small concentration of middle Byzantine churches on the site: Panagia Chortakion and Saint Theodore of Chortakia.
Description: The domed pier cross-in-square structure was built in good ashlar with semi-circular barrel vaults and arches. It has a semi-circular apse and inscribed lateral apses resembling tall niches. The longitudinally barrel vaulted compartments open directly (without intermediary arches) into the north and south cross arms. The double window on the west façade is half-hidden by the later western extension. There is a horse-shoe relieving arch over the west door with a carved monolithic lintel (five crosses in relief, within roundels). The cross arm façades bear large shallow blind arches (the west façade is half-hidden by the later extension). Traces of fresco decoration survive in the west vault (two unidentifiable scenes), on the north wall and the west piers [Gunnis (1936) 386; MKE 4, 56]. A domed pier cross-in-square extension was built in somewhat less good ashlar, attached to the west but not bonding with the masonry of the church, clearly imitating the latter’s layout although it is less elongated, lower and without the shallow blind arches on the façades. It has semi-circular vaults and arches, relieving arches over the west and south doors, and a (now walled) double window on the west façade.
Dating: An 11th / early 12th century date for the main church is suggested by its similarities with the churches of the Archangel at Gialousa, the Archangel at Phrenaros and Saint Synesios [early 12th-century date in MKE 4, 56] and the use of round arches and vaults. The western extension must have followed the original construction fairly quickly, within the 12th century
Modern repairs: The ruinous structure was treated in 1945 and it was consolidated in the late 1950s to prevent further deterioration [ARDA 1958, 14, 1959, 15]. The missing southeast naos compartment, the south and east cross arms, the apse, the dome [still standing in 1931: Soteriou’s photograph; it collapsed in the 1940s: MKE 4, 56] and the superstructure of the western extension were rebuilt in 1979-89. A new floor and doors were provided, while the naos, the dome and the apse were tiled [ARDA 1978, 16-17, 1979, 17, 1980, 17-18, 1981, 18-19, 1983, 24, 1984, 22, 1987, 25, 1989, 30].
Early literature: It is presumably one of ‘ruins of two small rustic chapels of the usual description, one of which is known as Panayia Khortakiotissa’ [i.e. Panagia Chortakion] which is mentioned by Jeffery outside Phrenaros, although later on he also speaks of two chapels west of Sotera, outside ‘Kourdali monastery’ [i.e. Panagia Chortakion again; see Gunnis (1936) 386]. Jeffery probably did not visit himself the churches, relying on reported information, leading to reduplication [Jeffery (1918) 227].
Views: Soteriou (1935) pl. 27a [shown before the collapse of the naos dome and the subsequent restoration].
Plan / section: Soteriou (1935) 29 [the niches in the outer walls (north and south) of the parabemata, the apse window, the south door of the west extension and the small windows on both north cross arms are not shown; the plan and section illustrate the pre-restoration state of the monument].