Located near the south coast on a hill overlooking Kellia (Larnaca district) and the coastal plain. The village is first mentioned in 1197 [Papacostas (1999a) 6.C.37].
Description: Of the elongated domed pier cross-in-square structure with three apses and rectangular compartments opening into the nave through low semi-circular arches only the core (the crossing piers and the inner walls of compartments) and part of the south wall survive, incorporated into the present late medieval church. There is no evidence for earlier phases [as suggested in Stylianou (1985) 433-37]. It was perhaps originally a monastic church [Kellia = cells, frequently used for monasteries: Janin (1975) 160-61] since the toponym is recorded as early as the 12th century [Papacostas (1999a) 6.C.37], although by that time it was probably applied to the surrounding village. A congregational function has also been suggested [Wharton (1988) 57-60]. A fragmentary inscription on a reused marble piece inserted in the northeast pier with a painted red cross names a certain George, perhaps patron of the building [Stylianou (1985) 436; Wharton (1988) 60; the inscription is visible under the later layer of decoration (13th century Archangel Michael)]. More than twenty largely unpublished fresco panels in several layers are preserved on the dome piers and the western engaged piers (late 9th / early 10th century to 13th century).
Dating: A late 9th / early 10th century date has been proposed [Stylianou (1985) 433-37], making this one of the earliest cross-in-square churches on Cyprus [Papageorgiou (1985a) 328]. A terminus ante quem is provided by the earliest votive fresco panel (Crucifixion) on the southeast pier [Wharton (1988) 57-60].
Later additions / alterations: The church was largely rebuilt with a vault over the crossing presumably after the Mamluk raids of the 1420s when Kellia is reported to have been destroyed by fire [MKE 2, 227-28; Papageorgiou (1985a) 328; Dawkins (1932) 1.635]. The south porch was added at an unrecorded date.
Modern repairs: A campaign of repairs started in 1975 when the machine-gun post established earlier on the crossing vault was removed. The vaulting was consolidated, the floor was repaired, while the later masonry around the crossing piers was removed revealing several layers of fresco decoration which were treated and separated [ARDA 1975, 17-18, 1978, 27, 1981, 18, 1982, 20, 1983, 20, 1984, 21, 1985, 23, 1986, 19-10, 1987, 24, 1989, 28, 1990, 29, 1991, 25-26; BCH 103 (1979) 724].
Early literature: The church is mentioned by Ross in 1845 concerning a Phoenecian inscription (now in the Larnaca Museum) and a funerary stele used in the masonry [Ross (1852) 197; Cobham (1910) 102; also briefly described in Jeffery (1918) 193-94, and Gunnis (1936) 261-62].
Plan / section: Wharton (1988) 56.