Heritage

St Philon Church near ancient Karpasia

St Philon Church near ancient Karpasia

 

By Graham Brown…..
Esentepe Community

Saint Philon (Philonas) was the first bishop of Karpasia (Karpas or Kalpasios) and the saint who converted the people of Karpasia to Christianity in the fourth century AD. Information on the life and work of Saint Philon is limited. From historical sources it is indicated that he was born shortly before 350 AD and that he was ordained bishop of Karpasia in 401. From the synaxarion of St. Epiphanios of Salamis (May 12) we learn that he was a deacon

from Rome. The sister of Emperors Arkadios in the east (395-408) and Honorius in the west (393-423) had fallen ill. She heard that God worked healings through St. Epiphanios, therefore she dispatched Philon to Cyprus to bring her healing.

When Philon came to Cyprus he was ordained bishop of Karpasia by St. Epiphanios. In the early Byzantine period, Karpasia belonged ecclesiastically to the Bishopric of Salamis. However, by the end of the fourth century it was organized into an episcopal district which had its seat in the ancient city of Karpasia and having as its first bishop Saint Philon.

Saint Philon died and was buried in Karpasia. He was probably buried in the church, which tradition attributes to him. The surviving church of Saint Philon is located about 3 km from Dipkarpaz and was built on the ruins of an older church destroyed by Arab pirates. According to the Souda, St. Philon wrote a commentary on the Pentateuch and the Song of Songs.

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