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The church was situated in the south foothills of the Pentadaktylos Mountains less than 1 mile (1.5 km) north of Koutsobendes village (Kyrenia district) at 450m a.s.l. It stood next to a later dome-hall structure [Holy Trinity] and served as katholikon of a monastery founded in 1090 and attested in medieval sources [Papacostas (1999a) 6.B.I.45]. The surviving monastic buildings date from the Ottoman period and later [Papageorgiou (1969) 289-90].

Description: The no longer surviving domed octagon structure had three round apses, its dome standing on six engaged and two free-standing cylindrical piers. The drum was probably pierced by sixteen windows, as shown on Barskij’s drawing (a comparison between the suriviving buildings and the Russian monk’s sketches usually shows that they are accurate; thus, his surviving depictions of the domes at Saint Mamas of Morphou, the Holy Trinity chapel at Koutsobendes, the southern chapel at Saint Herakleidios, the katholikon of the Lakatamia monastery and Saint Barnabas, show the correct number of windows; only at the Enkleistra katholikon was he mistaken in depicting eight instead of four windows). An apsidal vaulted narthex and to the south an annex room and a small chapel (?) with an apse were attached to the naos. Although the entire structure was replaced by a new church in 1891, the apses, the north wall, the lower courses of the northern apse of the narthex, and various elements from the decoration survive: parts of opus sectile panels [Michaelides (1993) 109], three marble door frames (two were re-used in the modern church, and one was installed in the north chapel) perhaps originally from the narthex-naos doors, marble columns from the templon, a pair of wooden door valves, and (possibly) a moulded stone cross now in the north gable of the north chapel. The exceptionally good ashlar in isodomic courses is still visible in the north wall, behind the Anastasis fresco in the central recess of the north chapel, and brick was used in the recessed window arches and spandrels of the main apse [Mango (1990); on the opus sectile, see also Michaelides (1993) 79-80]. The same combination of domed octagon with apsidal narthex, apart from the nearby Apsinthiotissa and Nea Mone on Chios (mid-11th century), also occurs in the 12th-century at Menet Ada, on an island in the lake of Herakleia (Bafa Gölü) in Caria [RBK 5, 662-66 and 715].

Dating: A date of construction in 1090 is implied by the documented foundation of the monastery in that year, according to its surviving but unpublished liturgical typikon [Mango and Hawkins (1964) 334]. An untenable 13th-century date was suggested by Soteriou for all Cypriot domed octagons [Soteriou (1942) 429-31].

Later additions / alterations: The narthex vaulting was altered in late medieval times. The church was demolished and replaced with a groin-vaulted structure in 1891, while a bell tower over the south apse was added in 1957 [Mango (1990) 67-68].

Modern repairs: The apse windows were restored in 1958 [ARDA 1958, 15].

Early literature: Van Bruyn (1683) mentions a Pantokrator in the dome and stairs leading to the roof. Barskij (1735) noted the marble and porphyry decoration, the four marble columns (from the original templon?), and the marble door frames and ashlar and brick masonry. Three marble door frames leading from the narthex into the naos were also mentioned by Pococke (1738). The marble and fresco decoration are mentioned by Mariti (1767) and O. F. von Richter (1816) [summary of travellers’ accounts 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 provided a description of the buildings shortly after the construction of the new church [Jeffery (1907a) 20-21, Jeffery (1918) 273-74].

Views: Mango (1990) [monastery in 1683 by van Bruyn, in 1735 by Barskij and in 1816 by von Richter]; Byzantine Cyprus 283 [view of 1806 by Ali Bey].

Plan / section: Jeffery (1915/16) 115 [the dome is shown on a square base while the apse windows are omitted; nevertheless, this is a reliable plan drawn by W. Williams before the demolition, on which all subsequent plans are based; on Williams, see Schaar et al. (1995) 27-30]; Megaw (1974) 84 [improved version of Williams’ plan]; Wharton (1988) 74 [based on Megaw (1974) 84]; Mango (1990) fig. 6 [showing the late 19th-century church with the superimposed plan of the domed octagon and its surviving parts].