Cyprus is one of the first Christian countries and until today Christianity is the dominant religion on the island. Thus, Cyprus is still a very traditional country. But, an interesting fact is the integration of the original culture and rituals of ancient religions with Christianity. Perhaps because it was one of the first Christian communities, the people weren’t taught how to practice the religion, they were only taught of the values of Christianity. Therefore, they used their own rituals and ceremonies to practice the teachings of this new religion.
For instance, in ancient Cyprus offers and sacrifices were a common ritual. Today offering ceremonial bread is a common ritual during weddings, memorials or prayers. Also, although sacrifices are indeed something of the past, nowadays if for example a baby has health issues they create a candle in the shape of a baby and “sacrifice” it to wish for good health. Another, interesting fact that I personally like are the two wreaths of olive leaves that the couple wear during a wedding. I believe everyone knows of the wreathes that ancient Greeks and Roman emperors used to wear. The emperors are known to be eternal and victorious. Similarly, during a wedding two wreaths are connected with a red string and symbolise eternal union.
Nowadays, religion is seen more as a tradition or history. After all, Cyprus has been a Christian country since Paul the Apostole came to Cyprus in 45 AD. In fact, Cyprus is known as the island of Saints. So, today Christianity is not only about faith and being religious but also understanding our country’s history.
Undeniably, religion is indeed important around the island and that can be seen through the many churches in every corner of the island. However, travelling allowed me to see and explore different styles of chapels, churches and cathedrals. In fact, in other countries I have to say they are even more magnificent and grand. Also, most churches in Cyprus are of the same style and very traditional, yet in other countries just like any other building you can differentiate from which era a cathedral is and determine its history. In some cases, one cathedral has different architectural styles and once again that shows the history and transformation of not only the cathedral’s but also of the people, city and lifestyle.
So with no further ado, here is a collection chapels, churches and cathedrals around Europe.