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Chapel of Agios Neophytos

Outside the village of Kato Drys, in the south-west and upon a mountainside, stands a small, simple church that is dedicated to Saint Neofytos. It was constructed in 1923 through an initiative and the donations of the inhabitants. As the time passed it got ruined and now it is renovated, the expenses paid thoroughly by our fellow villager Anna Pattichi. 

It is a small country church, the few faithful that go there in order to attend the service in reverence can enjoy it while being at a breath's distance from the priest. Since there was an abundance of quality stones in the region, almost all of the churches and chapels of the village were constructed with this type of stone. So, the small church of Saint Neofytos was also built with local stone. The roof is made out of wood and has tiles on top, the church having a single aisle. The village of Kato Drys is the birthplace of Saint Neofytos and until today the residence of the Saint is extant, although abandoned.

He was born in 1134 by poor parents. The times then were difficult and they could not provide Neofytos with any education. They were however able to offer him spiritual education. At 17 they engaged him against his will. With divine guidance he withdrew from "the vanity of life" and lead a monastic life. He wore the monk's garment with joy and enthusiasm and went to the Monastery of Saint Chrysostomos. Initially he was assigned the duty of attending the Monastery's vines because he was illiterate. For five years he performed this task, learning his first letters at the same time. His obedience to the divine will and his zeal were so great that he memorised the entire Book of Psalms. So, the prior got him to sing psalms as a second chanter. Later he visited the Holy Land for a pilgrimage to the holy sights and the holy grounds upon which the Lord once walked. Not having found what he was looking for, he returned to the Monastery feeling distressed. He realised that the monastery could not offer him the peace necessary for greater spiritual struggles due to the pilgrims and he attempted to leave Cyprus. At the port of Pafos he was arrested as an escapee and he was imprisoned. Through the intervention of other pious men he was released and then the monk Neofytos headed for the precipitous and verdant end of the "Melissovouno" (Bee Mountain, at the heights NE of the city of Pafos). There, after searching the area, he decided that this was the place he was looking for, a place unfrequented by people and truly quiet. He settled inside a cave. He started chasing the cave, many times with his own bear hands, continuing for an entire year (1159), separating it to a shrine of the Holy Cross and a cell of his own. Inside his cell he also carved out his own tomb. When the tomb was finished, he stood in front of it and said "Neofytos, even if you earn the entire world, nothing will remain yours other than this grave". The saint lived inside this cell, praying and leading an acetic life; for this reason he became known as "Egkleistos" (meaning "encloses", "pent", "recluse") with the cell and the carved temple as "Egkleistra". Saint Neofytos lived in seclusion for 60 years as a hermit, a monk, and a prior. Prayer and fast were what characterised his ascetic life.

A liturgy takes place in the country church once a year, during Saint Neofytos's day. His memory is celebrated twice a year, on the 28th of September and on the 24th of January.

7714, Kato Drys
Tel.: 24342833
Fax: 24342833, 24342199
Email: symvoulio.katodrys
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