The church is situated in the eastern Mesaoria plain, near the ancient / late antique coastal city of Salamis / Constantia (Famagusta district), 5 miles (8 km) north of Famagusta. A monastery was founded on the site in the late 5th century under the emperor Zeno, and the cult of Barnabas is attested throughout the medieval period. The nearby ancient city was abandoned after the 8th century [Papacostas (1999a) 6.B.I.19; Papacostas (1995) 36-37 and Gazetteer 13].
Description: A no longer surviving barrel vaulted (pier?) basilica was built over a late 5th-century timber roofed column basilica destroyed perhaps during the Arab raids (Constantia is reported to have been sacked in 649). Part of the 5th-century north and west walls are preserved within the walls of the present structure, while the east end was revealed during the excavation carried out by T. Mogabgab in 1934. A large multi-domed basilical structure was erected over the barrel vaulted basilica incorporating its (no longer surviving) vaulted east end. It consists of two domed cross-in-square units with piers built in rough ashlar masonry. Its two large irregular ribbed domes have sixteen windows each, while traces of mosaic decoration (a cross) have been reported [Michaelides (1992) 1; Soteriou (1937) 179 and Soteriou (1940) 405, n.1; Papageorgiou (1965a) 227; MKE 3,157-59; Papacostas (1995) 38 and Gazetteer 13.d.II].
Dating: A late 7th / 8th century date for the barrel vaulted phase is likely, assuming that the destruction of the timber roofed column basilica occurred in the mid-7th century and rebuilding took place soon thereafter. An 11th / early 12th century date for the domed phase is suggested by the domed scheme and the use of cross-in-square units. On earlier suggestions for the dating of the multi-domed group, see Papacostas (1995) 29-30, 33-35 and Gazetteer 6.d; and Chotzakoglou (2005) 490-491.
Later additions / alterations: The east part of the vaulted building (later incorporated in the domed church) collapsed at an unrecorded date, perhaps in the late medieval period and at any rate before the 18th century A new east end was built (before Barkij’s visit in 1735) with only one apse, and pointed transverse arches were added in the nave under the domes [shown in Papageorgiou (1986) 503; perhaps 17th century work: Soteriou (1937) 176 and n.1]. The rebuilding under archbishop Philotheos (1734-59) which is mentioned by Ephraim the Athenian [Ephraim (1751) 39] presumably refers to the alterations of 1740 on the west façade [Soteriou (1940) 402 n.1]. Buttresses were added to the north wall in the late 19th / early 20th century [Jeffery (1918) 239].
Modern repairs: The west façade was restored in 1949 [ARDA 1949, 12; views before and after the restoration in Papageorgiou (1965b) pl. LI and (1965a) 228], with the central doorway and roofline altered to conform to Barskij’s drawing. The structure was strengthened in 1964 [ARDA 1964, 8; date of the north wall buttresses’ removal?].
Early literature: According to Lusignan in the 16th century the church was still ‘large and beautiful’ [Lusignan (1580) 25v.]. It was mentioned by Porcacchi in 1576 and Pococke in 1738, who also mentioned the ruins of the earlier building’s apses [Cobham (1908) 165 and 256-57]. The shrine was visited by Barskij in December 1735, who speaks of the undecorated interior and three doors on the west façade, of which the two lateral were walled [Stylianou (1957) 113-15, Grishin (1996) 95-97]. Mariti in the 1760s mentioned a planned lengthening of the church that was never carried out [Cobham (1909) 71], presumably referring to the ruins east of the present building. The structure was first described in detail in the early 20th century [Jeffery (1918) 238-39; Gunnis (1936) 224-25].
Views: Soteriou (1937) pl. 2, Stylianou (1957) pl. 33 and Grishin (1996) pl. 16 [Barskij’s drawing of 1735]; Ohnefalsch-Richter (1994), pl. 20.2 [the west façade in the late 19th century]; Enlart (1926) 145 and 147 [photos presumably of 1896?]; Soteriou (1935) pl. 15b-18 [before the restoration]; Papageorgiou (1965a) 228, Papageorgiou (1965b) pl. LI; Megaw (1974) fig. 27.
Plan / section: Jeffery (1915/16) 124; Enlart (1926) 143; Soteriou (1935) 11 and Soteriou (1940) 403 [showing the buttresses against the north wall]; Papageorgiou (1986) 503 and Megaw (1986) 517 [the most accurate of all, showing the various phases and the excavated remains]; Papageorgiou (1965a) 226 [the excavated east part is shown without the conjectural north apse appearing on Enlart’s and Soteriou’s plans]; Soteriou (1937) pl. 1 and Soteriou (1940) 405 [the conjectural reconstruction of the late antique phase with domes is based on no archaeological evidence, and it was rejected in Krautheimer (1986) 511, n.65 and Megaw (1974) 78, n.85, although apparently and surprisingly it was accepted in Buchwald (1981) 315 and Buchwald (1984) 211].