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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

The church of Panagia Angeloktistos at Kiti (southeastern Cyprus) houses a mosaic with depictions of Christ, *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), and unnamed *Archangels (almost certainly *Michael (S00181) and *Gabriel (S00192)). Probably 6th c.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Images and objects - Wall paintings and mosaics

Archaeological and architectural - Cult buildings (churches, mausolea)

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.)

Images and objects - Representative images

Four Cypriot churches: Panagia Kanakaria at Lythrankomi (E01338), Panagia Angeloktistos at Kiti, Panagia tes Kyras near Livadia (E01340), and the episcopal basilica of Kourion (E01341), house pre-iconoclastic mosaics with depictions of Christ, *Mary, Mother of Christ, *Archangels, *Apostles, and *Evangelists. Arthur Megaw and Ernst Hawkins suppose that the mosaics survived iconoclasm, because Cyprus was exempted, as neutral ground, from direct Byzantine authority after the the treaty of 688 between Justin II and 'Abd al-Malik, and thus the imperial iconoclastic policy was not enforced there.

The church of Panagia Angeloktistos lies in the village of Kiti, 7 miles southwest of Larnaka. It was first surveyed in 1895 by Jakov Smirnov, Russian archaeologist and medievalist art historian, travelling across the Balkans, the Crimea, Palestine, and Armenia. The scholar identified the apse mosaic, preserved in the church, as a rare pre-iconoclastic work. The present structure dates to the 11th c. Beneath it are the remains of a late antique basilica, whose apse still survives. Its conch is decorated with a 6th/7th c. mosaic, showing Mary, Mother of Christ with her Child, flanked by two Archangels, almost certainly Michael and Gabriel.

Mary is standing and holding Christ in her left arm. Her figure is labelled Ἁγία Μαρία/'Holy Mary'. The Archangels approach her with orb and sceptre.

The background is gold and the mosaic is framed by a border with fountains, acanthus, ducks, parrots, and stags.

Use of Images

Public display of an image

Non Liturgical Activity

Renovation and embellishment of cult buildings


Further reading:
Megaw, A.H.S., [Short report], Annual Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus (1961), 13, fig. 27.

Megaw, A.H.S., “Byzantine architecture and decoration in Cyprus”,
Dumbarton Oaks Papers 28 (1974), 74–76.

Megaw, A.H.S., "Mosaici parietali Paleobizantini di Cipro", in:
XXXII Corso di Cultura sull Arte Ravennatee Bizantina, "Ciproe il Mediterraneo Orientale." Ravenna 23-30 Marzo 1985 (Ravenna: Edizionidel Girasole, 1985), 184-92.

Michaelides, D., Karageorghis V.,
Cypriot Mosaics (Nicosia: Published by the Dept. of Antiquities, Cyprus, 1987), 55-56, nos. 69-70.

Michaelides, D., "The early Christian mosaics of Cyprus",
The Biblical Archaeologist: From Ruins to Riches: CAARI on Cyprus 52/4 (1989), 192-202.

Smirnov, J.I., “Hristianskija mozaiki Kipra”,
Vizantijski Vremennik 4 (1897), 1-93.

Šmit, Th.I., “Παναγία Ἀγγελόκτιστος”, [Bulletin of the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople] (IRAIK) 15 (1911), 206–39.

Tronzo, W., “Kiti”, in: A.P. Kazhdan and others,
The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).

Record Created By

Paweł Nowakowski

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristΜαρίαCertain
S00181Michael, the ArchangelCertain
S00192Gabriel, the ArchangelCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
Paweł Nowakowski, Cult of Saints, E01339 -