Not much is known about the Agioi Saranta Cave Church in Protaras, but it is well worth visiting. It stands in a spectacular setting, hidden in a rock formation, on the way from Ayia Napa to Protaras in the Fanós area.
It’s a day trip hiking endeavour to reach the quirky religious attraction and the rugged route may be challenging if you are not prepared. Wear proper shoes and come prepared to fight the heat, with water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect you against the scorching sun. There are no signs to guide your walk to the church – but you cannot get lost. Walk towards the hills and it will eventually appear in front of you like magic at the end of a wooden stairway.
It is unknown when the church was built. There’s a blue door at the entrance, but it’s always unlocked, allowing the visitor to enter at any time. Its interior is bare – kept probably just as it was for hundreds of years. Some icons adorn niches carved into the rock. There are also a couple of chairs where the faithful can rest, pray, or meditate. There’s a small window, an opening above the door, and a hole in the dome that allow plenty of natural light inside.
The name Agioi Saranta translates into English as the Holy Forty – probably referring to the Forty Martyrs of Sabaste – a group of Roman soldiers of the Legio XII Fulminata killed by Roman emperor Licinius I in 320 AD when they refused to renounce their Christian fate. The feast day of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste is March 9, when many Christian devotes come to pay their respects at the Agioi Saranta Cave Church.