Nestorians or Chaldeans originally came from Syria. They used the Chaldean language in
their liturgy. The Nestorian Church was only one of several Semitic churches that had
separated from Greek Orthodoxy in the 5th century over the contentious issue of the
mixture of God and man in the person of Jesus. They are now represented by the Assyrians
of Iraq (Mesopotamia).
Wealthy Syrian Christian traders occupied the high land in the north-west corner of
the medieval old town of Famagusta. In 1359 during the reign of King
Pierre I, the fabulously wealthy Francis Lachas and his brother began work on a church
for their fellow Syrians of the Nestorian Church. The result is surprisingly modest for
this pair of brothers, whose daughters wore jewellery richer than that of the kings of
France. It began as a single-aisled chapel, which was then doubled in size, a porch tacked
onto the central nave and courtyards added to taste. This organic growth contrasts with
the neat triple apse of the east end and the clean lines of the belfry façade with its
pair of lancet windows.
interior retains only patches of its once rich and diverse frescoes, which were
accompanied by Syriac script. Other peculiar features include the variegated stones of the
altar arch and the Romanesque zigzag decoration cut into the arch of the original
courtyard gate. It is tempting to see this as a deliberate archaic reference to the
architecture common in the old Crusader states of Palestine.
The church now serves as the
of the Eastern Mediterranean University.
Church Services are held in the Nestorian
Church. Services take place every Sunday at 5.0 pm, with a
Communion Service on the 4th Sunday every month.