Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) Church
The ornament and true pride & joy of Omodos is the Monastery of the Holy and Life-giving Cross, built at the heart of the community. It rises majestically and with its imposing presence it becomes a significant part of Cyprus's cultural heritage. The Monastery of the Holy Cross is one of the oldest and most historic monasteries of the island.
According to tradition, one night the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages Pano (Upper) and Kato (Lower) Koupetra, which do not exist today, observed a fire in some bushes at the area where the monastery stands today. When it dawned they went to the spot where the fire was seen but there was no sign. This phenomenon repeated for several nights. So they started to dig the earth, discovering a small cave in which they found the Cross. In order to thank the Lord, they constructed a chapel over the cave and kept their precious treasure there, which became a sacred place of adoration for them. With the passage of time the chapel expanded and was converted into a Monastery with many monks and a vast fortune -not only in Cyprus but also abroad - maintaining a grange (monastery dependency) in Constantinople (Istanbul) and real estate in Russia.
According to tradition, the Monastery was established before St. Helen's arrival in Cyprus in 327 AD. The exact date of establishment is unknown. Perhaps it existed before the village and Omodos was later established around the monastery. Various historians of Cyprus such as Neofytos Rodinos, the Russian monk and traveller Barsky, the Dean Kyprianos and others, refer to St. Helen's visit to Cyprus and to the fact that she left a part of the Holy Rope and the Holy Rood in the Monastery. This rope, with which the Romans bound Christ to the Cross, is described as red coloured and "stained by the blood of Christ".
After several miracles by the Cross, the Monastery gained substantial reputation and evolved to a great place of adoration. The historical Monastery of Omodos has gone through various phases as the aeons went by. During the harsh centuries of Turkish domination, the Monastery managed to sustain itself and achieve great things. Around 1700 it secured a sultan's "firman" (decree) of impunity and immunity. In 1757 water was transferred to the monastery and the cistern and fountain, found in the south-west end of the monastery, were built by the priest-monk Germanos. In 1917 the entire property of the monastery was given to Omodos's inhabitants. A few years later it was deprived of its last monks and was converted to a parish.