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15 July, 2024
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Fterikoudi: Where scandal blooms amongst the ferns

Unveiling secrets and saintly shrines in Cyprus' curious village


For nearly a month, Fterikoudi village has been thrust into the spotlight due to revelations of financial and other scandals at the Monastery of Saint Avvakoum. Located approximately 50 kilometers southwest of the capital and nestled at an altitude of 1050 meters, Fterikoudi boasts a population of around 90 permanent residents.

The village's name sparks debate, with two versions circulating. Some attribute it to the abundance of fern plants, known as 'fteridzin' or 'fterikudin' in the local dialect, which thrive in the area. Others argue it stems from its geographical location, situated on the 'fern' side of the mountain.

Founded shortly after 1570, following the destruction of neighboring Kalamithasa village, Fterikoudi holds historical significance. Legend has it that survivors of the Turkish invasion from Kalamithasa established the village. Today, a chapel and tomb dedicated to the miraculous Saint and Prophet Avvakoum stand where Kalamithasa once flourished.

The chapel of Prophet Avvakoum, constructed in 1989 through generous donations, sits at the village's western edge. Notable contributions from benefactors like Alexander and Dorothy Elissaiou (£35,000), Savvas Papanikola of Platanistasa (£9,000), and others, funded its construction. In July 1989, the ascetic shrine and relic of the Saint were discovered, marking a significant event for the community.

Mirroring the architecture of the Holy Cross Church of Ayasmaty, the Church of Saint Avvakum stands above the ruins of its predecessor, destroyed by the Turks in 1575.

Sources:, Giorgos Karouzi's "Browsing Cyprus Nicosia," Great Cyprus Encyclopedia.

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