Another view of the monastery

An older photograph during a festival

Scholastic research has shown that Kykkos made a considerable contribution to sacred pictorial art and ecclesiastical literature . This is shown by the large number of manuscripts written on parchment in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries which were used in Kykkos and which are nowadays kept in the French National Library in Paris , the Vatican Library and other major European libraries . Some of these manuscripts furnish valuable information on the abbots and famous persons from Kykkos's past . During Ottoman rule , in Cyprus the old Byzantine tradition of the writing and decoration of books was continued . This can be seen by the numerous liturgical works written by calligraphers and illuminators in an unusual manner which are to be found in the monastery library , the Library of the Patriarchate in Jerusalem , and elsewhere . The illuminations and miniatures in these manuscripts reflect the great influence of the baroque calligraphic schools in Italy which is intermixed with elements of Cypriot popular art (examples in the introduction , fig. 14-16 , p.40f).

Various pilgrims from the West and the East report important details about the past of Kykkos . In 1683 , the Dutchman Cornelis van Bruyn toured Cyprus which at that time was suffering from swarms of locusts . In order to protect the country , Van Bruyn reports , "the inhabitants organised litanies in which they carried round the icon of the Virgin Mary holding Christ in her arms . It is the work of the Apostle Luke which is normally in a monastery called Chicho (Kykkos) with 400 monks . At certain intervals , some monks travelled to Russia and other places in order to carry out the most varied tasks . The monastery is situated on Mount Olympus - the highest on the island . In periods of drought , the icon is carried from the monastery into the church service . The face of the icon is turned to the side from which rain is expected . The same divine service was held against the invasion of locusts , and as soon as the icon was fastened on a pedestal , birds came and descended on the locusts , eating some of them . At that moment , a great gale arose and swept the locusts straight out to sea . The birds which had eaten the locusts had - so it was said - never been seen on Cyprus before and will never return . At the order of the Pasha , nobody was permitted to kill the birds , and if anyone did nevertheless dare to do so , he was put to death . " The Russian monk Basil Grigorovich Barsky , who visited the monastery in 1727 and 1735 , left informative reports on Kykkos .

The main church is a basilika ; the iconostasis may be dated to the 18th. century . Some of the icons in the iconostasis come from the 17th. century . The frescoes in the main part of the restored church were painted recently by the well-known Cypriot painter George Georgiou . The frescoes in the other buildings in the monastery were done a decade ago by Greek , Romanian , Serbian , Bulgarian and Cypriot painters . Impressive are the mosaics , a recent work by the Cypriot artist Philippos Kepolas .

In the church there is a special room in which a large collection of old icons is kept . The small ecclesiastical museum (a new , large museum is due to be completed shortly) is located in the chapel , near the entrance door of unusual design . Here one can view crosses , relics ,vestments , golden shrines and other objects of historical value . In addition to all these things , there are numerous old books . The finest among them are the printed Russian gospels decorated with precious stones which were presented to Kykkos in the 18th. and 19th. centuries by various Russian church and state dignitaries .

Under the Turks , it was prohibited to call the faithful to divine service with bells . Only at the end of the 19th. century was it permitted to build a bell tower in which five bells hang . The heaviest one weighs 1280 kilograms , according to an inscription underneath the edge of the bells it was a gift of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great and his wife Catherine .

Kykkos nowadays has a valuable library with some 15,000 printed volumes - some dating from even the early 16th. century . The monastery collection includes more than a hundred Greek manuscripts . Among them are parchment fragments from the 10th. century .

The churchyard in Kykkos is accessible through two entrances from the south and east . The buildings around the main church , including the abbot's residence , were erected , together with those on the eastern side , between 1700 and 1755 . The complete restoration of the Kykkos Monastery has been accomplished thanks to the great efforts of the Most Reverend Fr. Nikiphoros , the present abbot of Kykkos .