There’s a tradition that if you want someone to love you, you scrape a little dust from the ‘love’ tomb and secretly and without the knowledge of anyone else, put the dust in the drink of the object of your desire, who will then fall in love with you. If you want to do someone harm, you do likewise with a scraping from the other tomb. The funny thing is, there’s more stone missing from the ‘hate’ tomb!
The bells ring out every Saturday evening, twice on Sunday morning (once to wake us, next to call us to church) every day during the weeks before major religious festivals and whenever there’s a christening, a wedding, a memorial or a funeral, and you can always tell the Safari jeeps have arrived by the tentative couple of dings by a brave tourist.
* A Traveller's Companion to the Legends and Traditions of Cyprus by George Argyris; ISBN: 9963-654-27-4
* Touring Guide of Polis, Laona, Akamas by George and Christina Karouzis; ISBN: 9963-566-58-8
The church of St. Kalandion is the focal point of the village. In 2006 the church and the village square on which it stands were restored.
After the fall of Palestine to the Saracens, a large number of soldiers, clergy and lay people who had participated in the Crusades settled in Cyprus. Many of them led a hermit's ascetic life and after their death they were classified among the "Saintly and Pious" of the island. To these are attributed many miracles and according to tradition they comprise the 300 Alaman Saints of Cyprus. The reference to Alaman (which is a corruption of the French term Allemand, meaning German), derives from the folk conviction that they had served in the German army of the Crusaders and were tall and tough.
The Holy well of Saint Kalandion, in a peaceful valley one kilometre outside the village, has recently been restored. Water from this well is said to be beneficial for sufferers from skin diseases.
In the Alaman Saints were included Kalandion, Agapios and Varlaam who lived as hermits in Arodes. The church was built in the 18th century and is dedicated to the memory of Saint Kalandion. Saint Kalandion was the Patriarch of Antioch (481 – 485) and brought back the relics of Eustathius, ending the schism of Antioch.
There are two ancient sarcophagi on either side of the church, one for the Saint of Love (Saint Agapitikos), which is believed to be the tomb of Saint Agapios and the other, on the north side, to the Saint of Hate (Saint Misitikos) which is believed to be where Saint Varlaam is buried.
Tomb of Saint Varlaam
Tomb of St Agapios
This area was an important Medieval settlement called Thermokrini that disappeared at the end of the Ottoman occupation and there still remain a few scattered stones of the old houses.
The church is dedicated to a beautiful young girl who lived in Thermokrini. She was the priest’s daughter, and the Ottoman Turks wanted to give her to their Sultan. Rather than bring dishonour to herself, her family and her community, she committed suicide. It is believed that the Virgin heals eye problems and local people scrape some of the soot from the walls of the catacomb to smudge on the eyelids, to ward off disease.
The other church, the Virgin of Chrysospiliotissa (locally known simply as ‘Panayia’), is situated just outside the village. Coming out of Pano Arodes past the Co-op on your left, cross over the main Kathikas-Latchi road onto an unmade track and you’ll find this simple little church about 2km away on the right, nestling amongst mimosa and poplar trees. Across the little yard and down a few steps is the original place of worship; a catacomb with sooty walls.
The annual Easter Fair is held in the grounds of this church on the Tuesday after Easter.
* Ταξíδια στην Κúπρο (Journeys in Cyprus) 2 by George and Machis Karouzis