Tala Monastery From Above
The Holy Monastery of Saint Neophytos the Recluse lies at the top end of Tala, nestled in a narrow valley. Built in the 12th century, it is now one of the most famous monasteries in Cyprus. Owing to its somewhat secluded nature it is difficult to get a decent look at the whole building, so we sent our drone up to get the clearest view.
Tala monastery lies in a narrow valley. On the outskirts of it they have recently built this new church, so we parked there to have a look and launch the drone.
The church looked very nice but was unfortunately locked, so we were unable to take a look inside. Do the lights outside look a bit odd to you, by the way?
The Holy Church of Agios Ephraim, to give this place its full name, is a recent build, dedicated to a popular new saint. Let's have some back-story:
Saint Ephraim, who was called Konstantinos Morfis before becoming a monk, was born in Trikala (Central Greece) on 14 September 1384 AD, near river Lithaeos. His father died when he was young and his mother was justify with 8 children to take care of.
When he was 14 years old, in order to avoid being taken by the Ottomans to join the Janissaries and become Muslim, he joined the Stavropegic Monastery of Our Holy Lady the Theotokos on the Mount of Amomoi in Attica.
There he excelled due to his deep faith and love to God. In 1416 the Turks invaded Attica and the Duke of Athens was forced to submit the region to the rule of the Sultan.
It looks to me as if they have put all the outside lights on upside down. Shouldn't the black bits be on top?
In 1424 the Turks invaded the Monastery violently and slaughtered the monks. Saint Ephraim was not at the monastery at the time, he had justify in order to visit his cave for prayer. When he returned to the monastery he was aghast to see the dead bodies of his fellow monks.
In the following year, on 14 September 1425, the Turks returned, found Saint Ephraim, arrested him and tortured him. His turtures did not end until 5 May 1426, when the Turks decided to hang him upside down from a tree, hammered his feet and head and finished him off by impaling him with a burning stick.
Saint Ephraim is celebrated twice a year, on 3 January when his holy relics were found, and on 5 May that is the day of the end of his martyrdom.
Source: Christian Art
Saint Ephraim is a new saint, and was canonised as recently as 2011.
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate inducted St Ephraim of Nea Makri to its List of Saints of the Church of Greece March 4, 2011.
An epistle was sent out by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew requesting the recognition of Saint Ephraim, who was martyred in 1436 and whose miraculous relics were divinely revealed in 1950, within the membership of the List of Saints of the Orthodox Church. Sixty years after the discovery of the relics of the Saint, the Standing Holy Synod of Greece, in a letter sent - as required - to the Ecumenical Patriarch as the sole power to promote the request, requested that his memory be celebrated on May 5th as well as January 3rd, since on the latter date his holy relics were discovered.
The Holy Synod wrote to the Patriarch that Saint Ephraim is widely acknowledged by Orthodox throughout the world as a saint. They further stated that
"the influx of pilgrims is massive, almost daily, and on Sundays and holidays the monastery is flooded with pilgrims from all of Greece... The honor towards Saint Ephraim the New is clearly widespread throughout Greece and outside of it... There are churches dedicated to the Saint in Sitia and Tinos... Icons of the Saint are venerated throughout the Orthodox world."
Source: Orthodox Wiki