The barbaric frescoes of Agios Georgios Tou Sporou

Published 9th of August, 2019

It's time for another guest blog from Max. He's been out visiting some old churches and has uncovered some gruesome scenes...

The Five Saints Akindinoi

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Saints Akindinoi were Persian soldiers who embraced Christianity. When King Shapur II found out their betrayal he ordered their death by burning them in fire.During the execution a strong rain took place, putting out the fire. King Shapur then draw his sword and decapitated one of them with the name Afthonios and he ordered the guards to throw the other four in a fired cauldron. Their names are Akindinos, Afthonios, Elpidoforos, Anempodistos and Pigasios.

Agios Georgios Tou Sporou

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History tells us the story a bit different though:

Shapur II was not initially hostile to his Christian subjects, who were led by Shemon Bar Sabbae, the Patriarch of the Church of the East. However, the conversion of Constantine the Great to Christianity gave Shapur distrust towards his Christian subjects, whom he considered as agents of the foreign enemy. The war between the Sasanian and Roman empires changed Shapur's mistrust into hostility. After the death of Constantine, Shapur II, who had been preparing for war for several years, imposed a double tax on his Christian subjects in his empire to finance the conflict. Shemon, however, refused to pay double tax. Shapur then gave Shemon and his clergy a last chance to convert to Zoroastrianism, which they refused to do. It was during this period the "cycle of the martyrs" began during which "many thousands of Christians" were put to death. The two successors of Shemon, Shahdost and Barba'shmin, were also martyred the following years.

So, back to the church I found and photographed the gruesome wall paintings.

Old Columns

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These column and stones indicate that the place is very old..

Dark Interior

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On this picture one can see how dark it was inside the chapel, hence I did not recognize the barbaric frescoes in the first place...

St George

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To start with, a wall painting you expect from a church with the name Agios Georgios.

This is why the rest of the frescoes will come as a surprise. This church is dedicated to St George. There is another church a few miles away, and indeed the only church in Cyprus, that is dedicated to these five saints. However, you will find no such frescoes there. Instead, they are tucked away in this remote church in the middle of nowhere. Strange.

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