The historic cave housing the Church of Panagia Chrysospiliotissa near Kato Deftera on the outskirts of Nicosia is in danger of collapsing because of the construction of a petrol station on the road above it, philenews reports.
It said that district officer of Nicosia has given the go ahead for the petrol station.
Residents in the area yesterday staged a protest, managing temporarily to stop the work, but the company said that it will have all the necessary permits from the Department of Antiquities and the Geological Survey Department within three days so that work can continue.
The church’s priest Father Charalambos told philenews that the permits were given without prior studies by the Department of Antiquities and the Geological Survey Department and queried how this can be done in three days.
He said there have been tremors in the church and the cave is on the verge of collapse.
The church ‘Our Lady of the Golden Cave’ (dedicated to the Virgin Mary) is believed to date back to the early Christian period, and the shape of this small church inside a cave is very rare in Cyprus.
The decorated walls of the cave have suffered great damage and the frescoes are no longer visible, but a large religious festival is held on August 15, the day of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
About 10 years ago, support work was carried out by the Antiquities Department, with grants from the Leventis Foundation and the late former president Tassos Papadopoulos.