In the graphic village of Pelendri that is found in the geographic region of Pitsilia, the Bishopric of Limassol in collaboration with the Institution Anastasios G. Leventis, the Department of Antiquities and the Committee of Chapels of the community, shaped the internal space of the holy temple of Virgin Mary the Catholic into an icon “museum”. Without influencing the functional use of the place, in a simple, frugal and discreet way is presented to the visitors of the monument, an important number of the most appreciable heirlooms that are safeguarded in the temples of the community, from the 12th up to the 19th century. At a small distance from the temple of Virgin Mary, is found at the top of a small hill, the temple of Holy Cross (12th century). The temple is included in the group of the ten Byzantine monuments that are included in the list of the World Cultural Heritage of Unesco.
The temple of Virgin Mary the Catholic at the village of Pelendri belongs to the type of wooden roofed temples covered with angled tiles that are met in a big extent at the mountain range of Troodos. The temple appears to be a building of the 16th century. It is three-sloped and it belongs to the infrequent type of which each declination is separated with two lines from wooden pillars and not from arches. Each line has five pillars, which have big wooden horizontal joists to support the roof.
The temple has a simple rectangular ground plan with general exterior dimensions 9,88x 20,05 meters. The arch of the holy altar is roughly rounded in the interior, pentagonal at the exterior and it is extended away from the mainly temple by 2,20 meters. The central declination department has a width of 4,20 meters while at the sides it varies from 2,02 up to 2,24 meters.
The walls of the temple have a thickness of 60 cm and are built from erratic local stones with mud as the conjunctive material. For the construction of the pentagonal arch of the holy altar they were used in the majority “bricks” mixed with stones of erratic form, creating an infrequent and interesting result.
The main access to the temple is from the door in the middle of the southern wall. In the southern wall exist three door openings and two window openings. It appears that they constitute newer openings. Traces from an older opening of entry are distinguished today under its eastern window of this side. An opening of entry existed initially in the middle of the western wall of the temple, which must have constituted also its main entry. It is unknown when and why this door was barred and the entry was suppressed. In the northern wall it exists only one opening, a small door. In the eastern side it exists a rectangular window at the arch of the holy altar and a circular skylight with plaster diaphragm in the pediment.
The cover of the temple consists of the characteristic double wooden roof. The internal roof is constituted by sloped joists and planking, and the exterior from a second line of sloped joists with angled tiles. The biggest internal height of roof is 7,35 meters in the intermediate declinable part and the lower is 2,70 meters at the other declinable departments. The cover of the arch of the holy altar was done as a quarter-sphere that is externally accommodated by an independent roof and tiles of the same type.
The configuration of the aspects of the temple is simple and frugal, as almost all the temples of this type. Interesting however elements constitute the rich mixture of the “bricks” and stones in the walls and particularly in the arch of the holy altar, the decorative pattern of “fishbone” type above the window of the holy altar, as well as the plaster circular diaphragm with the small engraved cross in the eastern pediment.
Murals and pictures
The collection of the pictures that is dated from the dues of the 12th century until the 19th century constitutes the most important part of the exposed heirlooms. Some of them are appreciable samples of the Byzantine art in Cyprus, while almost all the pictures that adorn the iconostasis, have effects from the Italian art of the 16th century. Indicatively we report that of Virgin Mary with the Christ, Agios Ioannis the Theologian and Agios Mamas. The iconostasis that consists of these pictures can be characterized as one of the best samples of the wooden architecture of the 16th century, having the same age with the temple. The subjects of the embossed decoration, is common with other iconostases of the season. In golden or blue depth, there are vines-shoot or shoots of other plants that spring up and various birds find shelter in their leafage.
The picture of the “Drawn Christ” at the dues of the 12th century, from the neighboring temple of Holy Cross, presents the Christ with his hands tied up with a rope in front of the Cross that is fixed at the ground. This subject is infrequent in portable pictures. The content of the picture is given by the sign “Drawn on Cross ».
From the destroyed today ancient abbey of Agios Mamas of Koremenos, in the village of Pano Amiantos, emanates the picture of Agios Mamas (dues of 13th century), that shows the saint on a lion, having in his right a lamb and at his left hand his cane.
From the same place emanates also the picture of which its front aspect shows Virgin Mary Odigitria (1697), a work of Ioannikios. At the back of the picture it is shown the Crucifixion of Christ (13th century). In a green depth, Christ is shown on the holy cross. Around him they are standing at right the Virgin Mary and at left the Evangelist Ioannis. The sadness and the pain of these two holy persons are shown with the movement of their hand. Another equally important picture is the one that shows in golden depth, the Christ (16th century) parapet, frontal and with his left hand holding a closed Gospel.
The entire western wall of the temple shows the “Future Judgement”. It is dated in the 16th century and has intense effects of the western art. The all representation is portrayed in multiple levels. At the top of the saved department it is written “O en Doxi erchomenos kai se Throno kathimenos Christos”, who is surrounded at an attitude of praying by the Virgin Mary (right) and the Precursor (left) as well as by dances of Angels which keep in their hands the symbols of our Lords Passion.
At the second area at the top it is shown the “Preparation of the Throne”. Above the throne is placed closed the Holy Gospel and behind that the holy Cross. The Holy Cross is supported at both sides by two angels. The twelve apostles are painted separated in two teams at the right and left of the throne, while in front of the throne they are found on their knees, the Adam and Eva.
At the center of the third area it is shown the “Judgement of Souls”. An angel holds the balance of Justice. In the right part they are found graduatedly the dances of Saints, Prophets etc. At the left side, angels lead violently the sinners to the hell. The pictures that were found at the sides of the western walls, they have been destroyed.
In the south-western side of the temple, they are exposed certain ecclesiastical items of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, that were used at the divine adoration of the temple, like the holy glass (1861), the holy disk with its cover, cross etc.
In a small showcase in the southern wall, they are exposed indicatively, three Gospels of the 18th and 19th century, invested with purple velvet. The front aspect has silver leaves that show the four Evangelists, the revived Christ and the representation of its Crucifixion.
Courtesy of the pelendri.org