Cyprus, Nicosia

"Monastery of Cats"

Updated: 2 months ago

Not far from Limassol there is one unusual religious place with a history - it is the monastery of Nicholas the Wonderworker. It is popularly called "the monastery of cats".

At the time of the foundation of the monastery in 320th years on Cyprus there was a terrible drought, and snakes on the island multiplied so much that the locals had to leave their homes and flee to other lands.

Helen Augusta, mother of Constantine the Great, just at that difficult time got to Cyprus in search of Christian relics - the Life-Giving Cross and the Holy Sepulchre. Seeing the plight of the locals, she ordered cats to be brought to Cyprus to exterminate snakes. Strange as it may seem, until then there were no cats on the island.

It was in the monastery of St Nicholas in Akrotiri that the bells were rung to feed the imported animals, and they in turn fought the snakes. In this way the island was saved, and in the monastery still live hundreds of cats, and according to the ancient tradition of the monks feed them - the state allocates a special subsidy for this important work.

Tourists are not allowed into the territory of the monastery itself, but you can see hundreds of cats around this picturesque place every day.

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