A local walking and photography group has reported that a man is living in Kato Paphos’ ancient catacombs.
In a post on their Facebook page ‘Cyprus from Air’ says: “This poor man has made one of the Ayia Solomoni Christian catacombs his home”.
The group asked anyone who knew the man to come forward to help him or at least let his family know where he was in case they were searching for him.
“He does not seem dangerous,” the Facebook post adds, suggesting that anyone kind enough to take him some food should do so.
According to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation’s website, the Ayia Solomoni Church is a chapel that forms part of a small underground complex of chamber tombs from the Hellenistic period.
In Medieval times the site was a popular pilgrimage and has also been called ‘The Chapel of the Seven Sleepers’, or ‘The Seven Maccabees’.
Ayia Solomoni was one of the first to reject idolatry and embrace Christianity on the island.
- Ayia Solomoni Christian Catacomb (Paphos)
- Heart betrayed unidentified homeless man
- Fundraiser for homeless Paphos woman
“According to tradition, Solomoni took refuge in the cave to escape persecution from the Romans, but they walled up the entrance, condemning her to a slow and cruel death. However, when the cave was opened 200 years later, the saint walked out alive,” the CTO says.
The site consists of an open court, surrounded by five rock-cut chambers, one of which has a spring. The west chamber has an apse set into the west wall and remnants of 12th century Christian wall paintings. The names of 13th century Crusaders are among the’ graffiti’ cut into the plaster.
The CTO adds: “Above the catacombs stands a sacred tree with its branches adorned by colourful rags and bits of clothing left by the faithful as offerings to the saint. It is believed that the tree has curative powers”.