Panagiatou Sinti Monastery is part of the Kykkos Monastery near Paphos and is near the villages of Pentalia, Agia Marina, Kelokedara and Salamiou, where it stands at the intersection of two rivers: the Xeropotamos and the Sinti.
There was once a village here, which, like the monastery, was called Sinti after the nearby fast-flowing, even rough, river whose names translates as «destroy». The river’s rapid and turbulent current often wreaked havoc on the land. However, it was also a source of prosperity for the monastic brotherhood, who built water mills and cultivated orchards.
It is believed that Panagiatou Sinti Monastery was founded in 1500 and was initially independent. However, by the end of the 16th century, the monastery became part of the Kykkos Monastery complex.
The Russian pilgrim Vasily Grigorovich-Barsky described the monastery in detail in his travel essays of 1735. He wrote that the monastery prospered, owned two mills, its own fields, a small livestock farm and orchards. It is still unknown when and why this period ended.
In the 19th century, many pilgrims and travellers came to the monastery. They included William Turner, who produced a detailed description of the area surrounding the monastery, which was published in 1815.
In the 20th century, the monastery began to fall into disrepair due to the increasing construction work nearby; earthquakes; the fact that the monastic lands were sold off and other hard times. In 1966, it was recognised as a heritage site and put under state protection in order to prevent the ultimate destruction of the complex.
The monastery’s wide, rectangular courtyard is paved with a stone with a golden-ochre hue. It is thought that the monastic cells were in the eastern part of the complex; the main entrance to the monastery was located not far from the building housing the cells. The kitchen and the room of the synod were out on the open-air veranda in the inner courtyard. The northern entrance, which was blocked up with earth for a long time, was also here.
The storerooms, oven and other auxiliary structures were in the western part of the courtyard. The monastery’s pride and joy, its main adornment, is its single-nave domed Byzantine church with two entrances (the South Entrance remainsblocked up with stones to this day).
There is a sad legend about the Panagia tou Sinti Monastery, which Rupert Gunnis, writer and traveller from England, published in his book, Historical Cyprus, in 1936.
The story focuses on a studentunderthe famous architect who built Agia Paraskevi Church on the bank of the Xeropotamos River with an incredibly beautiful dome (that has seen been destroyed). The student was instructed to build a church at the monastery at Sinti.He strived to attain glory by designing and building a dome even more impressive than his mentor’s. Upon realising this, the mentor lost his temper and struck the unfortunate student down.
It is also worth mentioning that the monastery has been successfully restored. The work earned the Kykkos Monastery an award and a commemorative diploma. The works began in 1995 and employed ancient techniques and methodsin order to maintain the original appearance of the monastery.
The final stage of the work saw the restoration ofthe ancient three-tiered gilded wooden iconostasis. The restorers used horizontal fragments of carved panels from the 16th century that had been stored in the Church and Archaeological Museum of Kykkos Monastery.
The restoration work on the completed was completed in 1997. There are no monks currently living in the monastery: the complexis an architectural heritage site that attracts hundreds of pilgrims and tourists.
Elements of the design of the northern and western portals of the churchare influenced by the conventions of Western architecture. Only three of the icons that once hung in the church have survived to this day: the icon of Christ Pantocrator by John Cornaro, the icon of the Blessed Virgin and Child, and the icon of the Blessed Virgin Hodegetria, produced by hieromonk of the Kykkos Monastery, Grigory. All three icons date back to the late 18thearly 19thcentury and are kept in the museum at the Kykkos Monastery.
There is now a museum were the monastery’s refectory once was. It exhibits photographs documenting the monastery’s restoration work.