In the southern foothills of the Pentadaktylos Mountains, less than 1 mile (1.5 km) north of Koutsobendes village (Kyrenia district) at 450m a.s.l. The chapel was attached to an earlier domed octagon church which was replaced by a new building in the late 19th century [Saint John Chrysostom]. The monastery to which these churches belonged was founded in 1090 and is attested throughout the medieval period [Papacostas (1999a) 6.B.I.45].
Description: The dome-hall structure with round apse and semi-circular arches and vaults was constructed mostly of brick, although the dome calotte is made of pantiles, while some rubble masonry is used in the west façade. Ashlar blocks were used in the apse wall, in the north façade (moulded ornamental cross), and in the dome drum where the use of bricks in a few vertical joints results in a cloisonné masonry appearance. The dome-hall chapel is attached to the north of an earlier domed octagon [Saint John Chrysostom], using its north (ashlar) wall on which the engaged (brick) piers of the dome-hall abut. The fragmentary fresco decoration is of exceptional quality, and is best preserved in the west recesses and on the engaged piers. In the dome there was a now lost Pentecost (as in the bema dome at Hosios Loukas and the west dome of San Marco, Venice). The later rectangular vaulted (non-bonding) narthex was squeezed between the north apse of an earlier south narthex and the west façade of the dome-hall chapel [Megaw (1974) 85; Wharton (1988) 74-76; Mango (1990) 69-72].
Dating: A date in c.1100 is strongly intimated by the fresco decoration and the contemporaneous inscription naming as donor Eumathios Philokales, who served in Cyprus in 1092-1103 and again from c.1110 to before 1118 [Mango and Hawkins (1964) 337]. The decoration (and consequently the church too) was ascribed either to the patron’s first or second tenure [Stylianou (1985) 458; Mango and Hawkins (1964) 338-39; but see also Mango (1969) 101] based on its relationship with the Asinou decoration of 1105/6, although the consensus clearly favours the earlier date [Mango (1990) 63; Mouriki (1980/81) 98; Hadermann-Misguich (1985) 236; Wharton (1988) 74; Kitzinger (1990) 237]. The narthex (only the north wall survives) was added very shortly after the construction of the church [Mango (1990) 71].
Later additions / alterations: The structure was strengthened with the addition of masonry to the four engaged piers and to the arches under the dome, the filling-in of the west recesses and the construction of a buttress along the north wall, while the north door and the drum windows were blocked. These alterations were presumably made fairly early, protecting the concealed fresco decoration [MKE 14, 118-19; Mango (1990) 69].
Modern repairs: The apse and the west façade were restored in the 1940s, while the structure and the decoration were repaired in the 1950s/60s. After the strengthening of the superstructure, the buttress along the north wall and the later masonry under the arches of the dome and in the west recesses were removed, revealing the fresco decoration and the dedicatory inscriptions naming the donor Eumathios Philokales. The brick masonry of the dome was repaired and the roof was re-tiled. Also a new floor was provided and the north wall of the narthex was repaired [ARDA 1956, 15, 1957, 13, 1958, 15, 1959, 16, 1963, 11, 1967, 13, 1970, 13; Papageorgiou (1964) 214-16; Mango (1990) 70]. The frescoes were cleaned by Dumbarton Oaks in 1963-69 [Mango (1969) 101].
Early literature: Van Bruyn in his description of the monastery (1683) hardly mentions the church. It was in bad condition according to Barskij (1735) and Pococke (1738), and it was serving as a stable by 1767 when it was visited by Mariti [a summary of travellers’ accounts can be found in Mango (1990) 64-67; see also Gunnis (1936) 293-96]. The monastery was also briefly described in 1862 [Unger and Kotschy (1865) 513-14]. Jeffery described the buildings shortly after the construction of the new south church [Jeffery (1907a) 20-21, Jeffery (1918) 273-74].
Plan / section: Jeffery (1915/16) 115 [the apse windows are not shown; there is no distinction between the original parts and the (now removed) masonry which was added to strengthen the structure]; Soteriou (1935) 45 [no distinction is made between the original west bay and the added masonry]; Megaw (1974) 84 [the prothesis niche is not shown]; Wharton (1988) 74 [based on Megaw (1974) 84]; Mango (1990) figs. 6 and 24-25; see also Procopiou (2006a) 148-151.