Take a drive into the beautiful countryside that leads outside Nicosia, past Lakatamia and onto the road that cuts through the rural greenery all the way up towards Machairas, and take a turn up to Episkopio village, not far from Tamassos dam.
With a brand new church having just opened its doors in the area in the lead up to Easter, it’s certainly not quite what one would expect, with glistening onion shaped gold domes (made with a mix of gold and titanium nitrate) beckoning attention.
Brought in especially from St Petersburg to adorn the very first Russian style church on the island – with the central dome weighing nearly eight tonnes – the building is now drawing the attention of crowds from near and far who gravitate towards the area to catch a glimpse of the unusual site.
Built by Russian business man, Viatislav Zaragov, and designed by Andreas Mouktaris Architects, the rather lavish and imposing Orthodox church dedicated to Saint Andrew, aspires to serve the spiritual needs of Russian Orthodox people living on the island and is designed to hold 400 people.
Walk up to the church and you’ll spot a series of mosaics featuring saints, while once you step into the church, the lavish interior features icons and intricate paintings depicting scenes from Russia’s ecclesiastical history. One painting pays tribute to the ties between Cypriots and Russians and the Orthodox religion that unites the two countries, with Zaragov and Bishop Isaias (Kykkotis) of Tamassos and Orinis holding the new church.
Kids can enjoy playing in a playground and park next to the church, accessible to children with mobility problems, while an amphitheatre can also be found on the grounds, as well as a pavilion and reception area.
All services at the church will take place in Russian, by a Russian priest. But there is an exception, as Cypriot weddings and baptisms can also be held here, held in Greek by a Greek Cypriot priest. And sources indicate that a number of Cypriot locals have already set a date!