In a beautiful setting, above the sea, the Chrysorrogiatissa monastery is dedicated to ‘Our Lady of the Golden Pomegranate.’ It features an unusual triangular cloister built of reddish stone. The monastery was founded in 1152 by Ignatius, who came across an icon with the image of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin appeared and told him to build a monastery. The icon is kept in a special casket. It was supposedly painted by St Luke the Evangelist. Several other icons are also stored here, the most famous being an 18th century image of Mary and Jesus covered with a cloak. Other objects include old Bibles, sculptures, manuscripts and crosses. A small Byzantine museum sits on the premises.
Celebrations are held yearly on the 15th August in honour of the Virgin Mary. In the mid 1980s, the old winery of the monastery was reopened and now runs on a commercial basis. It produces wines from the monastery’s own vineyards.
The Agia Moni church, about two kilometres from the monastery, is one of the oldest on the island. Dedicated to St Nicholas, it was built in the 4th century on the site of an old pagan temple of the goddess Hera.
Nearby, Pano Panagia is the birthplace of Archbishop Makarios III, the statesman and politician, who was born here on the 13th August 1913. In 1960, the Archbishop was elected president of the republic. He died on the 3rd August 1977 and was buried at Throni near Kykkos, overlooking the village. You can also visit Makarios’ family home in Pano Panagia, which is open daily. Donations are welcome.