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St.Barnabas Monastery and Icon Museum

Located by the Royal Tombs, near Salamis, the St. Barnabas site consists of a church (now used as the Icon Museum), a monastery (now hosting an archeological collection), and a chapel.

Born of a Jewish family in Salamis, St. Barnabas completes his studies in Jerusalem and comes back to Cyprus in 45 A.D. when he begins to work with St. Paul as a missionary for Christianity. He is killed as a result of his activities and his remains were wrapped in a sheet and hidden in some marshland, before being disposed at sea. Watching the events, the followers of St. Barnabas  take his remains to an underground cave to the West of Salamis and bury it there together with a copy of the Bible made by St. Mathews on his chest. 

More than 400 years later, Bishop Anthemios  gets this place dug, saying he saw the tomb in his dream. There they find a body, which was identified as Barnabas by the Bible of St Mathew lying on his chest.  The bishop then goes to Istanbul to present this Bible to the Byzantine Emperor Zeno, and accordingly achieves the autonomy of the Cyprus Church. Zeno also makes a donation for a monastery to be built at the location of the tomb. 

When looked carefully, the traces of the original fifth century building can be noticed at the church and also parts seeming to have been changed, probably in the late mediaeval period. Yet, in general, it is quite conventional Greek Orthodox architecture of the 18th century.

On the walls of the monastery are small pictures and wax replicas, some ancient and some modern, telling about the story of Barnabas. 

The monastery today serves as the archaeological museum, housing a unique collection of ancient pottery displayed chronologically. The rest of the collection consists of marble and bronze art objects.

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