February 8, 2021

The Church and Miracles of Saint Theodore the Stratelates in Karpasia of Cyprus

Wherever in Cyprus there is a church dedicated to Saint Theodore, it is dedicated to the Stratelates and not the Tiro, except in two cases (in Larnaca and Monagrouli). The other twenty-one churches, chapels and ruins are dedicated to the Stratelates. Only one chapel is dedicated to both Holy Theodoroi, located west of the village of Agios Therapon in Limassol and was of the basilica style. Unfortunately, however, the church was swept away by the river and rebuilt.

The village of Agios Theodoros in Karpasia has about a thousand inhabitants and owes its name to a church found there. It is built on the east side of the village, with dimensions of 42 feet long and 12 feet wide. It used to be the parish church of the village. At first sight it can be seen that it was built in three different eras. The original church was a square 12´X 12´ with a wooden roof. The second section was added later when the inhabitants of the village were enlarged by adding a new section 14´X 12´ with a vaulted roof, and during the Turkish occupation it seems that the third section was added as a section for females.

The courtyard of the church served as the village cemetery until the beginning of the 20th century when the new cemetery was built in Agios Eulogios.

Saint Theodore the Stratelates is depicted as a Roman general on a white horse. He is considered the patron and protector of the village. It is currently in Turkish occupied territory, since 1974.

Deliverance from the Plague

According to tradition, there was once a great epidemic (plague) in Cyprus. It appeared in Rizokarpaso and spread to the west, from village to village. The villagers personified her as a very ugly woman who wore a white sheet. So they thought that she was circulating in the villages and spreading destruction and death.

The patron saint of the small village of Agios Theodoros would not let the epidemic affect his village in any way. He rushed on horseback against her, trying to get her to change direction.

The duel lasted until the early morning hours. The ugly woman after being defeated, headed elsewhere and avoided entering the village. Thus the inhabitants were saved, without anyone being affected by the epidemic. There is a testimony from the Turkish neighbors of the church that they heard the sounds from the duel of Saint Theodore with the ugly woman, as well as the sound from the horseshoe's of the white horse of the Saint.

In the morning, the Turks, after being convinced of what they had heard all the previous night, rushed to the houses of the Greek women to tell them of the events. Then, all together they went around the village and gathered yarn to gird around the church of the Saint, as a sign of gratitude for the protection it provided them. Furthermore, the Saint protected the village and the inhabitants in other cases of epidemics, such as smallpox and meningitis.

Testimony of Healing of Severe Back Pain

Andreas Matsagou from Lysi in Famagusta, narrates for us his healing by Saint Theodore the Stratelates in Karpasia:

In 1954 I fell ill with terrible back pain, which often immobilized me. Within two and a half months I visited many doctors without finding a cure. While I was sleeping alone in my room one night, Saint Theodore appeared in my sleep and said to me:

"Get on the horse."

"I can't," I told him.

"You can," he told me.

I got out of bed and got on his horse and he covered me with a white sheet. We passed over the sea and reached his church where there was a Divine Liturgy. We stayed for a while in the temple and then he brought me home. Throughout the trip and inside the temple, I was covered with the white sheet.

The experience remained intense in my mind. I wondered if the experience was real. I said to myself, "Is it possible that I had such a vision? On the other hand, I remember the church very clearly."

I vowed to have an artoklasia done at his feast. As February 8th approached I was thinking what to do; should I take the bread to his church or to the church in Lysi? Early that morning a glow came over me. I sweated. I was convinced that I had to go to the Church of Saint Theodore. But I did not know where it was.

The unbearable pain in my back passed and I immediately got out of bed and went to the Church of Saint Theodore in Karpasia. As soon as I got there I realized that it was the church where Saint Theodore took me.

I already had two daughters and I swore to the Saint that I would give his name to my first son. In 1956 my son Theodoros was born. My father's name was Symeon, but I did not give his name to my son because I had dedicated him to Saint Theodore.

Since then, and every year, we go to Saint Theodore's in Karpasia. The priest waits for us to ring the bell so that the Divine Liturgy could begin. I had other issues with my health, but I never had such pain as at that time!

The Sacriligeous Turks

Katerina Giasoumi, trapped in 1974, narrates:
"Towards the end of that year, Turks from Famagusta were going to a wedding in Galatia, but on their arrival from the village they stopped outside the Church of Saint Theodore, entered, removed the chandelier and after placing it in their car they left. The scene was watched by Fatte, a Turkish girl who came from our village (Agios Theodoros) and whose house was located next to the church.

Another day, as the Turks from Famagusta were crossing the same road, they crashed into the concrete fountain outside the church. Some of the passengers were killed and others were injured. As soon as Fatte saw the scene, she immediately recognized them, that they were the ones who stole the chandelier from the church of the Saint.

The incident immediately spread to all the Turks of the village, who considered it a punishment from Saint Theodore. As they say, they were very scared. From ancient times, the Turkish inhabitants of the village had the proper respect for Saint Theodore and often offered oil for the lamp and yarn to put around the outer side of the walls of his church."