Five golden-coloured domes brought in especially from St. Petersburg will be adorning a new Russian Orthodox Church built within the Tamassos Bishopric, in the mountains of the Nicosia district.
Four of the domes, weighing a total of five tonnes, have already been put into place at Apostolos Andreas Church while the largest – weighing in at some seven tonnes – will be installed on Thursday night during a 7.30pm ceremony that will also see hymns, songs and dances performed as well as firework show.
Made of titanium nitride, which requires less maintenance than gold, and a small quantity of actual gold to create the desired colour, the domes had been shipped to Cyprus in pieces and then put together at the bishopric by Russian experts brought to the country especially for the purpose.
Situated in Episkopio, the church, the largest of its kind to be built in Cyprus, is being paid for by a Russian millionaire ‘in thanks to God for answering his prayers’.
He is reported to be the only person who knows exactly how much is being spent on the endeavour.
According to Russian tradition, the placing of the domes is the most important part of the process of constructing a church, even more significant than setting its foundation.
Commenting, Tamassos and Orinis Bishop Isaias (Kykkotis) said the building of the temple, while a personal matter for the Russian millionaire, had also fitted in his vision to help Russian-speakers in Cyprus “and give them a spiritual home where they can confess and attend services”.
Leading up to the church, meanwhile, will be a series of 14 mosaics featuring saints particularly significant to the Russian Orthodox faith. Icons inside the church, meanwhile, will depict scenes from Russia’s ecclesiastical history.
There will also be a park near the church, which will be accessible to children with mobility problems, also the first of its kind in Cyprus.
Other facilities near the church will be an 800-seat amphitheatre, an area for events, and more.
Everything should be completed by January 2017, in time for the Russian Christmas.
The official opening will take place in March 2017, before the Orthodox Easter.