October 22, 2018

Saint Eulalios of Lambousa

St. Eulalios of Lambousa (Feast Day - October 22)

South of the Acheiropoiitos Monastery, near Lambousa, survives an undecorated chamber carved into a rock to which the locals have attributed the name "Saint Eulambios". This Saint found martyrdom in 296 AD at Nicodemea and is not connected with Cypriot tradition. However, a short distance east of the Acheiropoiitos Monastery survives a church built in the 16th century in the place of an older church and is dedicated to Saint Eulalios. According to Leontios Machairas, Saint Eulalios was the "most holy bishop Lapithos." Perhaps this was the hermitage of this Saint, and the name was changed by local tradition due to confusion with the name of the nearby city of Lambousa (Eulalios - Lambousa - Eulambios). Besides, even today the refugee inhabitants of Lambousa (ancient Lapithos) identify Saint Eulalios with Saint Eulambios.

According to a local tradition which is very well known, Saint Eulalios was bishop of the city of Edessa in Syria. In this city, the image of the Holy Mandylion was kept with great veneration. This Mandylion was kept for many years in Edessa in the royal palace. However, after the death of the king, one of his successors who was a fanatical pagan, decided to destroy this sacred relic. He made his unholy decision known to the then Bishop Eulalios of Edessa. And he, in order to save the image which was not made by human hands, without losing any time took the Holy Mandylion secretly at night and left Edessa. He walked all night. The next day he arrived at the seashore. There he found a ship, which traveled to Cyprus, and embarked on it. But when the ship was approaching Cyprus a great storm rose. The waves which seemed like huge mountains, threatened to sink the ship. The passengers were running scared here and there not knowing what to do. At some time Bishop Eulalios took out of his bosom the precious treasure, made the sign of the cross, and opened with solemn reverence the Holy Mandylion, stretched it out on the stormy sea and sat on it. Just at that time, the sea became calm and the waves brought the bishop on shore to Lambousa (ancient Lapithos). When he arrived on shore, Eulalios took care and brought it to the Monastery of Acheiropoiitos (which was then dedicated to the Theotokos), where he dedicated the Holy Mandylion. This is why the monastery since that time took the name of Acheiropoiitos Monastery, since the image of Christ which was imprinted on it was not made by human hands.

However, another Cypriot tradition tells us that Saint Eulalios was the first Bishop of Lambousa and has nothing to do with Saint Eulalios the Bishop of Edessa. The first is another person, unrelated to the other, who was born and raised in Lambousa.