Icon of St. Neophytos – S301


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St. Neophytos was born in Lefkara in Cyprus in a.d. 1134, and when just 18 fled to the Monastery of St. John Chrysostom Koutsoventis to avoid marriage and to become a monk.  In a.d. 1158 he traveled to Jerusalem and tried to live as an anchorite there, but after a vision from God, he returned to Cyprus and lived in a small cave north of Paphos.  In this cave he built his own tomb.

After many years of strict ascetic life, a group of monastics came to live with him, also entering this strict life.  St. Neo-phytos was ordained a priest in a.d. 1170.  On May 6, 1191, Richard the Lionhearted with a group of Western knights entered Cyprus and conquered it on his way to Jerusalem for the Third Crusade.  He then sold it to the Knights Templar, who sold it to the deposed Catholic King of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan.  Latin bishops began a systematic attempt to destroy Orthodoxy in Cyprus and replace it with Papal Roman Catholicism.  St. Neophytos, through sermons and writings, helped the Orthodox retain their faith through these struggles.  In a.d. 1199, he entered a more distant cave where he lived until he left this world at age 85 in a.d. 1219. 

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20th c. (Late)