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In the Mesaoria plain within the site of the late antique city and episcopal see of Tremithus (Larnaca district). Tremithus was the cult centre of Saint Spyridon (a local 4th-century bishop) at least since the 7th century when the (excavated late antique) episcopal basilica which housed his relic was mentioned in the Life of the saint [Van den Ven (1953) 89ff.], and was also known outside Cyprus in the medieval period [Constantine the Jew was urged by the saint’s image to visit Cyprus in the mid-9th century: Rydén (1993) 191; see also Van den Ven (1953) 143*-156*; Mouriki (1993) 241-42]. The episcopal see is attested through the middle Byzantine period [bishop Theophylact in the 1170s: Tsougarakis (1993) 126; Papacostas (1995) Gazetteer 16]. A monastery was active on the site in Ottoman times [Stylianou (1957) 113 and Grishin (1996) 94-95; Kyprianos (1788) 392; Kyriazes (1950) 98-99].

Description: The late 4th / early 5th-century column basilica was restored with piers erected on the former colonnade stylobates and opus sectile floor (part of the north pier arcade survives incorporated in the north wall of the present church). A larger vaulted pier basilica with semi-circular apse was built over the earlier structure incorporating its pier arcades which were strengthened with larger piers. The surviving parts of this phase include the lower parts of the south wall incorporated within south wall of the present church, the north wall with engaged piers (responds for the vault arches) which was excavated outside the present building, and the north piers which are incorporated in the present north wall [Papageorgiou (1966b) 32-33 and Papageorgiou (1975) 191].

Dating: A late 7th-9th century (?) date for the first pier basilica is likely, suggested by the architecture and based on the assumption that the earlier column basilica was destroyed during the mid-7th century Arab raids [MKE 12, 295-96; Papageorgiou (1982a) 470]. The newly composed Spyridon’s Life, however, was read in the apparently undamaged church in 655, after the initial raids [Van den Ven (1953) 89]. The date of the second pier basilica is uncertain: it may fall within the middle Byzantine period, if it is related to the traces of 11th / 12th-century fresco decoration and the 13th century tombs discovered [MKE 12, 295-96], even though its architectural type was not common by this time.

Later additions / alterations: The medieval pier basilica was destroyed by the early 18th century, when it was restored as the present two-aisled vaulted basilica. Later buttresses along the south wall and the narthex were added [Papageorgiou (1966b) 19-23].

Modern repairs: In the mid-1960s the adjacent monastic buildings and the church were repaired. A limited excavation inside and north of the present two-aisled church revealed a mosaic floor and parts of the earlier structures incorporated into the present building [BCH 91 (1967) 365; Papageorgiou (1966b) 23-32, Papageorgiou (1968a) 16, Papageorgiou (1969) 222-25].

Early literature: Barskij in 1735 reports the restoration of the ruined church by Archbishop Sylvester (1718-33) and the establishment of a monastery; Jeffery mentions a (preserved) sarcophagus in the church [Stylianou (1957) 113 and Grishin (1996) 95; Jeffery (1918) 182; see also Gunnis (1936) 443-44].

Views: Papageorgiou (1966b) pl. IX-X.

Plan / section: Papageorgiou (1966b) pl. XI-XIII.