Ayia Thekla Cave Church

Useful Information

Location: At Ayia Thekla, under the Ayia Thekla Church. Between Ayia Napa and Sotira village.
Open: All year daily.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Ayia Thekla Cave Church, Tel: +357-, Fax: +357-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The above ground Ayia Thekla Church is a gorgeous blue and white chapel located on the coastal cliffs overlooking Ayia Thekla beach. The church is dedicated to Saint Thekla, a Saint of the early Christian Church, and a reported follower of Paul the Apostle. The cave church is rather unspectacular and most visitor do not know it exists. A stone staircase leads down into the small underground chapel, marked only by a small stone cross above the entrance. This cave church is much older and believed to date back to the 4th century.

Ayia Thekla was born in Asia Minor. She heard the teaching of the apostle St. Paul, abandoned her fiance Thamyris. She also decided to remain a virgin and follow the missionary from place to place. Her parents were outraged and turned her over to the authorities. She was captured and suffered horrible tortures, and would have been burned but a storm put out the flames. Twice she escaped from being eaten by lions. Finally she reached the village of Ma’loula in Syria, where she found a cave and lived a life of peace and solitude as a hermit. She died at the age of 90 and was buried near the village. Some say she was miraculously transported to Rome to be buried beside Paul.

The text Acts of Paul and Thekla was written before 190 and was very popular among early Christians. There were Greek, Coptic, Latin, and Ethiopian translations of the text. Tertrullian disapproved the text as a Religious Romance. In the early 3rd century it lost popularity.

The cave church is often mistaken as the tomb of Saint Thekla. But is was most likely built as a tomb, but probably not a Christian. The chapel of Ayia Thekla above the cave was built to honor the Saint. It was used to be a monastery for women until 1937.