Paralimni welcomed Agia Zoni with head of state honors (VIDEO+PICTURES)
A crowd of people welcomed the Virgin Mary who arrived accompanied by the Professor of Mount Athos Monastery, Elder Ephraim
With all splendor the reception of Agia Zoni in the Holy Metropolis of Constantia and Famagusta
Today, her reception took place with all the splendor Timias Zoni of Most Holy Theotokos from Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos. The Honorable Zoni died in Cyprus Professor Archimandrite Elder Ephraim and welcomed her at the old airport of Larnaca, with the honors of the head of state, o Metropolitan Basilios of Constantia and Famagusta, in the presence of the representative of the Government Minister of Justice and Public Order Mr. Marios Hartsiotis, the Metropolitans of Kiti, Limassol and Tamasos, the Bishops of Amathus and Neapolis and the Mayor of Paralimni Theodoros Pyrillis.
See footage from the reception of Agia Zoni in Paralimni
Timia Zoni, the only Mother of God relic from the earthly life of the Virgin Mary, was welcomed with joy and emotion by the free province of Famagusta, with bells of all its temples. The reception of the holy relic took place at its central point Paralimni, under the playing of philharmonics and in the presence of the army and security forces who paid the due respects. Priests and deacons, multitudes of believers, school students from all over the province and representatives of the political and military leadership attended to welcome and worship Agia Zoni and pray to the Virgin Mary.
See footage from the reception of Agia Zoni at Larnaca airport
During the reception ceremony, a prayer was performed in his presence Professor Ephraim his patron His Eminence Metropolitan Vassiliou of Constantia and Famagusta. In his speech o Mayor of Paralimni, Mr. Theodoros Pyrillis, expressed his emotion that our land, which is awaiting its freedom after 50 years of occupation, was blessed to welcome the Holy Zone. He wished "as we all pray together to the Most Holy Theotokos that we will again bring Agia Zoni to the homonymous church of Agia Zoni in the enslaved city of Famagusta, in the first year of the recovery of our Metropolis". Afterwards, the mayor declared Prof. Ephraim an honorary citizen of Paralimni and awarded him the golden key of the city.
Afterwards, the Holy Belt was taken in a procession to the Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios in Paralimni, where an official Thanksgiving. The Metropolitan of Constantia and Famagusta Vasileios in his address expressed his thanks to the Professor of the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi Elder Ephraim who bought the theotokos relic to bless all the faithful, in a critical period, during which Cyprus is still under occupation. He analyzed the theology of the honor of the Holy Belt within the tradition of the Church and referred to the timeless and witnessed over the centuries honor of the Holy Belt in Cyprus, particularly in Famagusta, in the occupied city of which there are two temples dedicated to her. "The Cypriot people honored and continue to honor Agia Zoni", emphasized Panierotatos.
The representative of the Government, Minister of Justice and Public Order Marios Hartsiotis characterized today as historic.
In his objection to the Metropolitan of Constantia, the Professor of the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi, Archimandrite Ephraim, referred to the historical connection of the Holy Belt with the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi and to the countless miracles of the Holy Belt. "I wish that here too the Holy Zone will become a reservoir of miracles and reverence for the people", he said, among other things.
After the end of the Doxology, the Professor and the Metropolitan, officials and a large number of people were shown around the Photo Gallery and heirlooms with title "Agia Zoni Varosion. 50 years later", which is presented in the old church of Agios Georgios in Paralimni.
The Holy Belt of the Virgin Mary will remain in the Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios Paralimni in worship until Sunday, February 11, 2024.
Program of services and worship
Daily February 5 – 10, Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios
06:30-13:00 / 15:30-00:30: Προσκύνηση
06:30-08:00: Orthros – Divine Liturgy
16:30-18:00: Vespers – Prayer
Visiting schedule in detail
Monday, 5 February 2024
10:30: Arrival and official reception at the old airport of Larnaca
12:00: Arrival and official reception in Paralimni (site of the old SPE of Paralimni). Address by the Mayor of Paralimni, Mr. Theodoros Pyrillis. Procession to the Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios Paralimni. Doxology at the Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios. Address of His Eminence the Metropolitan of Constantia Mr. Vassiliou and Rebuttal of the Panosiology Professor of the I.M.M. Vatopediou Gerontos Ephraim.
Tuesday 6 February 2024
13:30-14:30: Visit – transfer of the Holy Belt for veneration to the 7th Motorized Infantry Brigade
Wednesday, 7 February 2024
13:30-14:30: Visit - transfer of the Holy Belt for worship at Famagusta General Hospital and KEPA Nursing Home
18:30-19:30: (Xenion Amphitheater, Paralimni) Speech by Professor I. M. Vatopediou Elder Ephraim, entitled: "Agia Zoni. Mount Athos – Famagusta. The Virgin Mary, protector of the nation".
Thursday, 8 February 2024
13:30-14:30: Visit – transfer of the Holy Belt for worship to the Police Department and the Fire Department of Paralimni
Friday, February 9 2024
13:30-14:30: Visit - transfer of the Holy Belt for worship at Paralimni Town Hall. Trisagio and Deisi near the Deryneia Barrier.
Saturday, February 10 2024
18:00: Litanization of Agia Zoni in the main streets of Paralimni
Sunday, 11 February 2024
06:30-10:00: Orthros – High Priestly Synagogue. Sermon by Professor I. M. Vatopediou Elder Ephraim
12:00: Departure of Agia Zoni
Parallel Photo Exhibition "Agia Zoni Varosion. 50 years later" in the old church of Agios Georgios in Paralimni
The exhibition of photographs and relics entitled "Agia Zoni Varosion. 50 years later" is presented by the Diocese of Constantia and Famagusta and the Cultural Academy "Agios Epiphanios", in the old church of Agios Georgios in Paralimni, from February 5 to March 15, 2024.
The exhibition is part of the activities for the sad anniversary of the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of 1974.
The exhibition "Agia Zoni Varosion. 50 years later" is also held on the occasion of the arrival of the Holy Belt of the Virgin from the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos to the semi-occupied Metropolis of Constantia and Famagusta (February 5-11, 2024).
The material for the exhibition is mainly drawn from the book in print by Dr. Andreas Foulias and Dr. Christodoulos Hatzichristodoulou entitled "The religious monuments of the new city of Famagusta", published by the Diocese of Constantia and Famagusta and the Cultural Academy "Agios Epifanios", with supporters the General Secretariat of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Education of Greece and the Academy of Theological Studies of Volos.
This particular volume records the history and relics of all the religious monuments of the new city of Famagusta, which emerged through extensive scientific research. The records and descriptions are complemented by rich photographic material, which includes archival evidence (old photographs, reproductions of maps, codes and books, architectural plans), but also recent photographs that capture the exterior and interior of all the religious monuments of the enclosed city.
The publication and the exhibition are addressed to all those who wish to know the heritage and tradition of a historical city, which during the last 50 years has been occupied, enclosed, inaccessible and its religious monuments stripped, altered and destroyed.
– Dr. Christodoulos Hatzichristodoulou
– Dr. Andreas Foulias
– Dr. Christina Kakkura
Location: Old Church of Agios Georgios, Paralimni
Exhibition duration: February 5 – March 15, 2024
Hours: February 5-10: 09:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00 // February 11-March 15: 09:00-13:00
Admission is free
Agia Zoni, the unique relic of the Virgin Mary
The graceful Girdle of the Virgin Mary, located in the Holy Great Monastery of Vatopedi on Mount Athos, is the only relic preserved from her earthly life. The Blessed Virgin rose three days after she fell asleep and was taken up in a body into the heavens. During her ascension she gave the Apostle Thomas her Belt. The Apostles then, after opening the tomb "uh evron to soma" of the Virgin. Thus, the Holy Belt is evidence of the resurrection and ascension of the Virgin with her body to the heavens, that is, of her so-called transmigration.
The Sacred Girdle was, according to tradition, made by the Virgin Mary herself with camel hair. Initially it was kept in Jerusalem and then in Constantinople, where in the 12th century under Manuel I Comnenus (1143-1180) an official celebration of August 31 was established. Empress Zoe, wife of Leo VI the Wise, out of gratitude for her miraculous healing, embroidered the Belt with gold thread, as it remains today, but divided into three pieces. Emperor John V Kantakouzinos (1347-1355), who had a special love for the Vatopedi Monastery, as evidenced by many relevant testimonies, donated it to it. Since then, the Sacred Belt has been kept in the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, in a silver case of newer construction which bears the image of the Monastery.
Innumerable are the miracles, which are done to this day with the Holy Belt. Its value is inestimable, because it is associated with the Virgin Mary. Agia Zoni has the special grace of curing the infertility of women and cancer patients with a ribbon which has been previously blessed on her and then the sterile women and the sick are girded around her.