August 11, 2009

The Eroding Tomb of Saint Agapitikos in Cyprus

Saint Agapitikos Church in Paphos, Cyprus

[In Paphos, on the northeastern corner of Fabrica Hill, lies a cave known as the Cave of Saint Agapitikos. Next to the cave of Saint Agapitikos once stood the cave of Saint Misitikos and a third cave dedicated to Saint Xorinos. The caves of Saint Misitikos and Saint Xorinos, however, have been destroyed. It is in these caves where these Saints lived their ascetic lives.

In the central square of Pano Arodes village, in the same district, there is a sarcophagus also dedicated to Saint Agapitikos as well as Saint Mistikos. It is in this area that the article below is referring to. I'm not familiar with this myth, but its unfortunate it has done such a number on the Saint's tomb. Now that it has received the world's attention through this article by Reuters, maybe something will be done to protect what is left of the sarcophagus of Saint Agapitikos. -J.S.]

Cave of Saint Agapitikos

Cypriots Seeking Love Potions Wear Away Saints' Tomb

August 7, 2009
Sarah Ktisti
Nicosia, Cyprus

Unhappy lovers in Cyprus have been taking so much stone from the tomb of Saint Agapitikos to use in love potions that soon there won't be anything left.

Dust from the grave in the courtyard of the church in the village of Arodes in Paphos district has been used for centuries by the lovelorn, who are supposed to slip it into the drink of their objet d'amour.

But in recent years so many have been filching shards of stone that a quarter of the tomb has disappeared.

Mayor of Arodes Matthaios Stefanou is unclear whether Cypriots' love lives are becoming more troubled.

"A lot of people have said it works," he said. "In the last few years I don't know what's come over people, but they are flocking to the tomb for the stuff.

"Just the other day locals saw some people visiting the tomb, and they were there for a very long time, in the end they walked off with a huge chunk of stone, maybe even half a kilo of it!"

The island's antiquities department has been called in to help. "The only thing we can do is examine the damage and try to prevent any further damage," said Maria Hadjicosti, the acting director. Saint Agapitikos -- whose name means "lover" -- is believed to have served in the German army of the Crusaders before settling as a hermit in the area.

"You're very welcome to come and see the tomb, but please don't go taking any of it with you now," Stefanou said.