Located in the central part of the Troodos Mountains, on the northern slopes of Adelphoi peak (1613m a.s.l.) descending into a deep valley outside Lagoudera (Nicosia district) at 1000m a.s.l. Late Roman remains (settlement, church, bath) have been reported in the valley below [Winfield (n.d.) 4]. The monastery on the site dates from at least the late 12th century [Papacostas (1999a) 6.B.I.13] and the recent two-storey monastic building on the north of the church was restored in the late 1960s [Papageorgiou (1969) 150-52].
Description: The dome-hall structure with semi-circular apse (with three windows) is covered by a protective timber roof extending around the church and forming porticoes [Megaw (1974) 87-88; ODB 2.1169]. It is built mostly of local sideropetra rubble, although brick was used for the window and the door arches, and presumably for the arches and vaults under the dome (which are covered with frescoes). The dome drum is pierced by twelve windows and was built in ashlar masonry from the lowlands [cf. Asinou narthex], although brick was used in the window arches and in the uppermost course (diagonally-laid bricks). The arches and vaults in the naos are slightly pointed, providing one of the earliest such examples [Nicolaides (1996) 9]. The interior is completely covered by well preserved fresco decoration [Nicolaides (1996), with earlier bibliography], dated by inscription to 1192 and executed for Leo Authentes [inscriptions in Winfield (n.d.) 15-17; Stylianou (1960) 101-2; Sodini (1970) 486; Wharton (1988) 84-85; Nicolaides (1996) 4-8]. The decoration is attributed to Theodore Apseudes who decorated the Enkleistra of Neophytos the Recluse in 1183 [Winfield (n.d.) 24; Wharton (1988) 87], although serious doubts remain over this identification [Nicolaides (1996) 8-9]. The late 12th-century icons of Christ and the Virgin Arakiotissa from the church (now kept in the Byzantine Museum of Nicosia), which are contemporary with the fresco cycle, were perhaps also executed by the same painter [Papageorgiou (1968b), (1976) 267-70; Mouriki (1985/86) 16-17].
Dating: Built in the second half of the 12th century, before 1192 [Procopiou (2006a) 248], when most of the surviving fresco decoration was executed, and after the earliest (undated) layer of decoration in the apse [mid-12th century: Winfield (n.d.) 4 and 24, Winfield (1978) 286; 1180s: Nicolaides (1996) 134]. A partly excavated and no longer surviving apsidal narthex was added in c.1200 [ARDA 1956, 12; Nicolaides (1996) 11].
Later additions / alterations: The timber roof was added later [as shown by the original roof tiles which remain in situ on the vaults: Winfield (n.d.) 6], probably in the 14th century (painted decoration on the north façade of naos), and it was repaired in the 18th century The west wall of the naos was pulled down when the apsidal narthex was replaced by the present west extension in the late 18th century [Nicolaides (1993) 424, Nicolaides (1996) 11; Winfield and Mango (1969) 378; Winfield (1978) 287; MKE 2, 270-73].
Modern repairs: In the mid-1950s the blocked north and south doors were reopened, the timber roof was replaced, and a retaining wall was built west of the narthex after the removal of earth that had accumulated against it [ARDA 1955, 10, 1956, 12, 1957, 10]. In 1955 the timber beams between the dome piers were cut off [Winfield (n.d.) 6]. In 1968-73 the frescoes were cleaned by Dumbarton Oaks, revealing parts of an earlier layer under the Arakiotissa panel on the south wall [ARDA 1968, 8, 1970, 10; BCH 93 (1969) 566-69; Mango (1969) 103-4; Winfield (1971a) 262, Winfield (1971b) 147-48, Winfield (1978) 284-86; Stylianou (1982) 525], while the apse frescoes were treated again in 1977 [ARDA 1977, 14].
Early literature: The church and monastery were visited by Barskij in 1735 who signed his name on the prothesis wall [Winfield (n.d.) 17; Winfield and Mango (1969) 377], and who described the protecting timber roof and the surrounding monastic buildings, giving the foundation legend involving the discovery of an icon [Stylianou (1957) 93-94 and Grishin (1996) 75-76; Papageorgiou (1969) 147-50]. A marble slab associated with the foundation legend was reported in the early 20th century [Jeffery (1918) 306].
Views: Stylianou (1957) pl. 28 and Grishin (1996) pl. 13 [Barskij’s drawing of 1735, showing the roof structure probably before the reconstruction of the narthex, without the section extending beyond the apse].