In the ancient / late antique coastal city of Salamis / Constantia (Famagusta district), 5 miles (8 km) north of Famagusta. The church was erected to the southeast of the great seven-aisled episcopal basilica of Epiphanius (late 4th / early 5th century), that was remodelled in the 6th century with five aisles [Papacostas (1995) Gazetteer 13]. Epiphanius’ cult at the pilgrimage site is attested through Late Antiquity into the early medieval period [Sozomen, Piacenza pilgrim, John the Almsgiver: see Rapp (1993) 176; Anastasius of Sinai: PG 89.732-33, and Flusin (1991) 394; Willibald: Wilkinson (1977) 126; later medieval travellers: Cobham (1908) 14 and 20; see also Mouriki (1993) 240; Papacostas (1995) 36].
Description: A timber roofed three-aisled pier basilica with a semi-circular apse and synthronon was built over a corridor leading to the baptistery attached to the southeast of the vast late antique basilica, after the latter’s destruction probably during the mid-7th century Arab raids [the sack of the city is reported by Theophanes: de Boor (1883-85) 343-44; the destruction of Saint Epiphanius is reported in the 13th-century Armenian version of Michael the Syrian’s chronicle: Oberhummer (1903) 34]. A chapel with the saint’s (?) tomb [excavated: AR 1956, 30-31] was incorporated to the west of this new church [Megaw (1974) 78, (1986) 509]. The shrine is presumably to be identified with the church containing pictorial decoration mentioned by John of Damascus in the 8th century [Rapp (1993) 177 n. 44]. An unsubstantiated domed scheme for this phase has been also suggested [Papageorgiou (1966a) 221]. Following damage or destruction of the timber roofed basilica the piers were strengthened, three domes were added over the nave, the aisles were vaulted (ribs on pilasters), and the west part housing the tomb (narthex?) was enlarged [AR 1957, 49-50; Papageorgiou (1982b) 439].
Dating: A late 7th / early 8th century date is likely for the timber roofed phase [7th-century pottery was found under the bema: Dikigoropoulos (1961) 182-89]. An 11th / early 12th-century date for the domed phase [Papacostas (1995) 37-38 and Gazetteer 13.d.I] is implied by the use of brick in the domes [found in the debris: Megaw (1974) 82, n.109], the style of the opus sectile floor and the carved slab excavated east of the late antique basilica apse / north of the domed church [BCH 84 (1960) 290]. An unlikely late 9th / early 10th-century date has also been proposed, based on the similarities with the church of Saint Lazarus and the alleged translation of Epiphanius’ relic to Constantinople by Leo VI (together with that of Lazarus), which is reported only in the 18th century [AR 1957, 49-50; Dikigoropoulos (1961) 182-89; Kyprianos (1788) 352; see also Rapp (1993) 186, suggesting that the relic perhaps was kept at Constantinople in Saint Philemon at the Strategion]. But in the 16th century the relic was said to be in Famagusta, where a marble monument of Epiphanius is reported in the Greek cathedral [Cobham (1908) 53 and 78; see also Meinardus (1970) 29, Papacostas (1995) 37; the relic of an Epiphanius taken from Kythraia to Koutsobendes according to Machairas (15th century), was probably not that of Epiphanius of Salamis: Dawkins (1932) 1.30 and 70, Delehaye (1907) 252].
Later additions / alterations: The domed church was destroyed after the strengthening of the transverse arches sometime in the Lusignan period [AR 1956, 30-31; shown on Dikigoropoulos’ plan]. Although allegedly it was still standing in late medieval times [MKE 5, 156-57; AR 1957, 49-50], 15th-century travellers and visitors to Salamis only speak of ruins and the shrine of Saint Catherine [Grivaud (1990a) 63, 126 and 134], while Etienne de Lusignan in his description of the city says nothing about the church [Lusignan (1580) 25-26].
Plan / section: AR 1957, 49 [plan showing excavation trenches]; Dikigoropoulos (1961) pl. 6; Megaw (1974) 77, Megaw (1986) 509 [detailed plan showing the various building phases of the medieval church]; Papageorgiou (1985b) 302, Papageorgiou (1986) 498 [plan showing the entire site with the late antique and medieval churches].