Biography of Saint Epiktitos the
Celebrates October 12
Ayios Epiktitos village took its name from Saint Epiktitos (Ayios
Epiktitos). According to the historian Leontios Macheras
he was one of the 300 Christians that came from Palestine to Cyprus at
1187 A.C after participating in the Second crusade 1147-1149 A.C. He lived
and died in the location where our village lies. The village was
established after 1200 A.C. (according to "Horia ke polis"
(Villages and towns) of historian Kliridis).
Saint Epiktitos was a Greek labor worker living in Germany, (that's why
the name Alamanos - Germania/ Germany was the country of Alamania). Saint
Epiktitos along with 300 other Greek Christian soldiers were traveling
from Germany to Jerusalem during the Second Crusade 1147-1149 in order to
free the Holy lands from the barbaric hands of the Muslims. Because of
several problems the crusade ended before even reaching Palestine. The 300
Greek soldiers decided to move on to Jerusalem to worship since Jerusalem
was still under European rule. After reaching Jerusalem and worshiped at
the Holy grave, they decided to split and dedicate to ascetic life at the
Jordan desert plains. Despite their strong will to dedicate their life to
God following the strict rules of the ascetic life, they were attacked and
persecuted by Arabs and Latin. Under the circumstances they decided to
flee towards Cyprus for safer shelter. During their journey, the
boat sunk just outside the shores of Paphos, at the south part of the
island but nobody was hurt. They split again throughout Cyprus to dedicate
their lives to God through the ascetic life. Some of them went on the
mountainous terrains, others found caves or even dig holes on the ground
to be their shelter.
Leontios Macheras, the chronographer of Cyprus, in his
"Chronicle" describes the particular event.
επήραν τήν γήν
τότε εβγήκαν οί
καί επήγαν όπου
καί επήγαν όπου
ήρταν καί είς
ήσαν τ' (300)
τόπον, διά τόν
είς τό ένα
μέρος καί είς
τό άλλον καί
έσκαψαν τήν γήν
τώ Θεώ καί ήσαν
διά τήν ζωήν
τόν αυτόν νησίν,
καί πολλοί εξ'
άλλοι διά τά
Historian Macheras gives 67 names out of the 300 among them the name
of Ayios Epiktitos.
Saint Epiktitos is said to have traveled to the North mountainous terrain of
Cyprus, "Pentadactylos" and settled at the location of "Kaza
Pifani" (Καζά Πιφανή)
the nowadays known village of Kazaphani which is approximately 4 miles away from
the town of Kyrenia.
καί προς τού
Κάζα Πιφάνη ό
πολίτης και εν
τας ψυχάς των
Σοι. Δόξα τω
ισχύ. Δόξα τω
δια σου πάσιν
At the beginning the Saint Epiktitos lived at a totally isolated location.
Later on he found a cave and there he set up his ascetic shelter. His struggle
was multilateral, intensive, and continuous. His weapons, the prayer, fast,
study and exercise. His yearning is to defeat his weaknesses and his passions;
to defeat his inferior self and become the one that follows the will of God.
With this way of life the result was direct. His spirit and his heart are
enlightened and the dedicate Saint achieves what he struggles. He achieves to
become one of God's favorites, honest, Saint.
After the Saint's death, his holy body was buried inside his cave. They also
baptized the new village under his name to honor him. His holy cave was the
first church of the village and still exists. It is like a catacomb, or burial
chamber, that was built by digging the rock. You can reach the cave by stepping
down a cylindrical stair. At the end of the stair, there was a spring with water
used by the Saint for surviving, and also watering the few plants for a small
harvest. Inside the cave you can see the rocky bed and a rock that looks
like a head that was used as a pillow by the Saint. In a corner lies the grave
of the Saint. The church of Ayios Epiktitos (Saint Epiktitos) was built at the
end of the 12th century. In 1856, according to "Historical Cyprus"
of Rupert Gunnis, the icon of Ayios Epiktitos was transferred from the cave
into the church upstairs.