Byzantine Period in Cyprus
first two centuries were peaceful and prosperous. Emperor
Constantine of Byzantium had officially recognised Christianity
in 313 AD. In the late 4th century AD Emperor Theodosius ordered
the closure of all pagan temples. This put an end to the rituals
at the Temple of Aphrodite in Paphos, though worship of
period (also known as the Early Byzantine period in
Cyprus), Emperor Constantine's mother Helena visited the island
in 327 AD on her way from Jerusalem. Also during this period
(332 - 333 AD) the island was hit by destructive earthquakes.
in this mosaic are Emperor Constantine
and his mother
Helena carrying the "true cross"
also saw the discovery of the
tomb of St Barnabas by
Archbishop Amthemios who was thought to be led by a vision in
his dream. Within the tomb he found the gospel, which according
to St Mark, was handwritten by Barnabas. This earned him great
fame and privileges (he was allowed to sign papers in Imperial
purple ink) and led to Cyprus being granted the status of an
independent church in 478 AD.
the division of the Roman Empire (AD 395) Cyprus remained
subject to the Eastern, or Byzantine, empire at Constantinople,
being part of the Diocese of the Orient governed from Antioch.
In the ecclesiastical matters, however, the Church of Cyprus was
autocephalous -i.e., independent of the Patriarchate of Antioch-
having been given that privilege in 488 by the emperor Zeno. The
Archbishop received the rights, still valued and practiced, of
carrying sceptre instead of a crozier and writing his signature
in ink of imperial purple.