Near the west coast, at Geroskepou (Paphos district) 2.5 miles (4 km) east of Paphos harbour. Geroskepou perhaps grew after the establishment of an Arab garrison at Paphos in the mid-7th century and the (undocumented) fleeing of the city’s population [Megaw (1988) 145].
Description: The multi-domed basilica is covered by a sequence of three domes over the nave and a lower single dome over the central part of each aisle, flanking the taller central dome. The structure was built on an irregular plan, in rubble masonry with rough wall surfaces and no articulation (the interior is now plastered). The gable on the north façade of the north aisle is perhaps a remnant from an earlier transverse vault, which was subsequently replaced by a dome. The aisles are separated from the nave by a heavy low arcade with irregular round arches. Spolia corbels were inserted in the piers almost randomly, sometimes not carrying any arch (as in the aisles). In the semi-circular apse a column base is used as an impost under the conch cornice. A small domed tetraconch of uncertain function is attached to the southeast corner of the church, and it probably belongs to the same building phase as the main structure [MKE 11, 106-8; Wharton (1988) 61-63; Papacostas (1995) 39-44 and Gazetteer 12.d.3, and Chotzakoglou (2005) 486-487]. Fresco decoration dated to different periods survives in the east dome (8th / 9th century), in the central arch of the south arcade (10th century) and over the central arch of the north arcade (12th / 13th century) [Stylianou (1985) 384-85; Hadermann-Misguich (1995) 246].
Dating: A 8th / 9th century terminus ante quem is provided by the earliest layer of fresco decoration, a cross in the east dome [on the date of this fresco see Stylianou (1985) 384-85: 7th / 8th century; Wharton (1988) 63: late 9th / early 10th century; Hadermann-Misguich (1995) 245, n.2: 7th / 8th century (citing N. Thierry); Papageorgiou (1996) 56: late 8th century]. This is the earliest specimen of the multi-domed group of churches according to Enlart, dated to the mid-7th to mid-10th-century period by Megaw [Enlart (1926) 149-50; Megaw (1936) 269, Megaw (1986) 517; see also Papageorgiou (1985a) 326]. A date towards the latter part of this period is suggested by the domed scheme, which is absent from earlier structures.
Later additions / alterations: The interior was extensively decorated with fresco in the 15th century [Stylianou (1985) 385-94; Hadermann-Misguich (1995)]. None of the original doors and windows survive (apart from those in the domes) and the present openings perhaps date from the time of the western extension (19th century?), when the west wall was demolished. A bell tower was added over the southeast corner, while a door was opened between the south aisle and the tetraconch (disturbing its west conch) before the blocking (after 1931) of the tetraconch’s east door.
Modern repairs: In the mid-1970s the floor was replaced (yielding no evidence of earlier structures) and the plaster was removed from the east dome revealing the unique aniconic fresco decoration [ARDA 1975, 20, 1977, 20].
Early literature: Despite its location on the route to Paphos, the church is not mentioned by medieval travellers. In the 19th century it was reported to have been dedicated to the Holy Cross [Sakellarios (1890-91) 1.108; see also Peristianes (1910) 405]. Ancient remains (capitals, columns) and a mention of the area by Strabo (Hierokepia) prompted allegations concerning a temple on the site [Cobham (1908) 2; Hogarth (1889) 41; Sakellarios (1890-91) 1.108; Jeffery (1918) 398; Gunnis (1936) 467].
Plan / section: Soteriou (1935) 17-19 [the window in the west part of the north façade is not shown, while the door on the east wall of the tetraconch is shown walled; the windows of the north dome have been omitted in the transversal section and the longitudinal section along the south aisle does not show the east arch into the nave]; Department of Antiquities Archive C.19.654.