Churches of Karavas
Before 1974, Karavas had three parish churches, the churches of Panagia Evangelistria (Annunciation of the Virgin Mary), Agios Georgios (St. George) and Agia Irini (St. Irene).
The church of St. George was built in the southeast of Karavas, on the site of an earlier monastery, which was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th C. The Abbot of the church Leontios Hadjiyianis, is believed to have significantly contributed to the collection of aid for Kanaris, in 1821. In 1825 the small church was turned into a parish church. The existing basilica church was built between 1843 and 1854 and it has a polygonal dome. The iconostasis was the artistic creation of the painter Michael and was completed in 1857.
The church of St. Irene is built on the mountainside of Pentadaktylos, in the southwest of Karavas. The church was built in 1804 by Protosiggelos Lavrentios and his son Hadjinikolas, who was killed by the Turkish ruler of Cyprus during the massacre of July 9th, 1821. The church is a single-naved, vaulted basilica with a polygonal sanctuary. Its iconostasis was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century at the expense of Lavrentios and Nicolaos, as stated on the inscription found on the icon of St. Irene. One of the most notable icons of the church, which dates back to 1766, depicts St. Eftichios, St. Eleftherios, and St. George. St. Prokopios and St. Marina. The icon was stolen after the invasion, but repatriated with the help of the Church of Cyprus.
At the centre of the town lies the largest church of Karavas, Panagia Evangelistria. The church was built in 1906-1917 with the proceeds of a fundraising among the inhabitants, under the supervision of the then mayor Gregoris Hadjilambros. It was constructed by the master-builder Joseph Koursoumbas. Almost all the icons of the church were creations of the famous painter, Frangoulides. The wood carved iconostasis, the throne and the icon stand were masterfully carved in 1952, by Fylaktis Taliadoros and his student Michael Taliadoros.
Within the municipal boundaries of Karavas, in the area of ancient Lambousa there are two more churches, the monastery of Acheiropoietos and the church of Agios Evlalios, dedicated to the first Bishop of Lambousa.
In the church of Acheiropoietos, some parts of a previously built 6th C. Early Christian basilica were incorporated. The main part of the church is of cruciform style and was constructed in the 11th C. The narthex, which dates back to the 12th C., is of byzantine style, while the outer narthex of the 15th-16th C. is of Franco-byzantine style. During the 12th C. the monastery was decorated with frescoes. Embossed parapets of the Early Christian period are incorporated in the wooden iconostasis.
In the mid-18th C., the monastery was pillaged, according to the painter of the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary, which it is believed to hide the Holy Cloth (Holy Shroud). The iconostasis was reconstructed with icons of the 18th C. and the beginning of the 19th C. Today some of the icons of the church of Acheiropoietos are exhibited at the church of Archangel in Kyrenia, which has been turned into an icon museum.
The monastery was the religious centre of the area and until 1222 AD was the headquarters of the Lambousa Bishop, who was one of the fifteen bishops of the island.
The church used to celebrate on August 15, day of the dormition of Virgin Mary, and August 16, day of the Holy Cloth. Monks remained at the monastery until the beginning of the 20th C. During the last years before the invasion the priest Iacovos Kirkos used to perform the religious service on Mondays.
The Franco-byzantine church of St. Evlalios was built in the 16th C. on the ruins of an Early Christian basilica of the 5th-6th C. It is dedicated to the first Bishop of Lambousa.
Chapels of Karavas
In the Municipal boundaries of Karavas there are the ruins of 14 chapels.
Three of these, St. Kyriakos or St. Koutoularis near the Mills, Archangel close to “Palia Vrysi” and St. Peter are completely destroyed. Over the past years, St. Peter’s church, near the cemetery of Karavas, has been rebuilt with the contribution of the immigrants from Karavas living in the USA.
The ruins of the church of St. Antonios in Exo Gitonia maintained the apse of the sanctuary and part of the walls. The apse has collapsed.
In Pano Gitonia there were three chapels. St. Marina was a semi-ruined chapel in 1974, on the walls of which one could admire the 12th C. frescoes. Unfortunately the chapel has been destroyed by the Turkish forces. In the same area the chapel of St. Panteleimonas stood some years ago. Among the lemon trees there was the chapel of St. Andronikos, which today has been turned into a hen pen.
To the west of the village, on the mountain, still stands the carved chapel of Panagia Galaterousa, with old frescoes and anaglyphs of early Christian symbols.
Higher up on the mountain, in the area called Gomatistra, is the chapel of St. Paul. According to tradition, it was the place where Saint Paul fled after he was stoned by the Lambousa inhabitants.
To the east of the town, in a magnificent location near the sea, still exist the ruins of the post-Byzantine small church of St. Andreas.