In the Marathasa valley of the central Troodos Mountains, on the east bank of the Setrachos next to sulphur springs, opposite the village of Kalopanagiotes (Nicosia district), at 700m a.s.l. The settlement is attested in late medieval times [Mas Latrie (1852-61) 3.506, Mas Latrie (1879) 410]. The now defunct monastery on the site is not attested before Ottoman times [Kyriazes (1950) 53-58; Clerides (1968) 49-53], although according to the 17th-century synaxarion of Saint John Lambadistes, it was functioning in the late 11th century when the saint was buried there [Delehaye (1907) 256; Vogel (1923); Mouriki (1993) 248-49]. A complex of late monastic buildings stands around the courtyard to the south of the church.
Description: The domed pier cross-in-square structure with three semi-circular apses and barrel vaulted compartments was built in local sideropetra rubble. Some brick is used in the north apse, the south façade (in the walled triple window over the later doorway) and the arches. The interior wall surfaces are irregular and unarticulated, and there is a cavity in the centre of the almost drumless dome. The main apse preserves fragments of its 11th and 12th-century fresco decoration (kneeling donor monks wearing red gowns), while the dome and the west and south cross arms are decorated with 13th-century frescoes [various dates within the 13th century suggested: Papageorgiou (1972); Stylianou (1985) 295-98, Stylianou (1996) 1265-77; Weyl Carr and Morrocco (1991) 89-90; on the dome and west lunette crucifixion, see Velmans (1984) 139 and Marcato (1994) respectively]; later frescoes survive in other parts of the church [Stylianou (1985) 298-304]. A vaulted single aisled structure was added over the tomb of Saint John Lambadistes north of the cross-in-square church. This was reconstructed in the 18th century and only (?) its three-sided apse and northeast pier with the arch over the tomb survive within the rebuilt chapel. Wooden door valves of medieval date survive, with two different decorative patterns in low relief for the upper and lower halves [similar patterns appear on the doors from nearby Asinou (early 12th century?) and Moutoullas (late 13th century?); cf. the 10th / 11th-century marble transenna panel decoration from north Italy now in Venice: Soteriou (1935) pl. 142 and 143; Evans and Wixom (1997) 452, no. 292]. Several 13th-century and later medieval icons from the church are preserved, together with a late medieval wooden templon screen [Gunnis (1936) 245-47; 13th-century icons: Papageorgiou (1992) 37 and 40-42; Mouriki (1985/86) 24].
Dating: An 11th century date (or at least a terminus ante quem) for the cross-in-square church is suggested by the earliest layer of fresco decoration in the apse. An early 11th-century date has also been suggested by Orlandos on account of the plan’s proportions [Orlandos (1961) 15 and 19]. A 12th-century date for the original Lambadistes chapel is suggested by traces of fresco decoration in the northeast arch [Stylianou (1985) 295 and 305].
Later additions / alterations: An originally barrel-vaulted, now timber roofed narthex was added in the mid-15th century. A vaulted ‘Latin’ chapel was attached to the north of the Lambadistes chapel during the Venetian period. In the (early?) 18th century the north wall of the cross-in-square was replaced by a large pointed arch when the Lambadistes chapel was reconstructed. The south cross arm façade was altered when the doorway was enlarged and the triple window over it was walled in 1731 [MKE 8, 189-91; Papageorgiou (1985a) 328; Stylianou (1985) 306-20]. A protective timber roof was added at an unrecorded date, in its current configuration surely after the collapse of the 15th-century narthex vault and before Barskij’s visit (1735).
Modern repairs: The timber roof was repaired, and the south porch and gable were rebuilt in the 1950s, while a small bell tower was added over the southeast corner [ARDA 1950, 10, 1955, 10]. The frescoes were cleaned, the original tile floor was revealed under the later pavement, and the monastic buildings were restored in the late 1960s / 70s [ARDA 1968, 9, 1969, 8, 1970, 9, 1971, 9, 1973, 14, 1975, 12-13; AD 29 (1973/74) 1014].
Early literature: The monastery is described by Barskij in 1735, who left a graffito next to the tomb of John Lambadistes, and dates the foundation to the Venetian period [Stylianou (1957) 59-61, Stylianou (1985) 305; Grishin (1996) 43-44]; Jeffery’s comments concern mainly the ‘Latin chapel’ [Jeffery (1918) 287-88].
Views: Barskij made a drawing that has not survived [Stylianou (1957) 60 and Grishin (1996) 44, n.99]; the south gable of the cross-in-square before the rebuilding of the 1950s is shown in Lazarides (1987) 37; Soteriou (1935) pl. 143 [wooden door]; Stylianou (1985) 295 [12th-century apse fresco of kneeling monks].
Plan / section: Jeffery (1915/16) 121 [without distinction between building phases; the chamber west of the ‘Latin chapel’ is not shown, the west door of the cross-in-square is placed in the south compartment instead of the west cross arm, the apses are wrongly depicted]; Soteriou (1935) 27 [the chapels and narthex are shown as belonging to a single phase]; Department of Antiquities Archive C.19.648, C.19.649, C.19.650.