Every village, every city, and every country in this planet takes pride in the people that have managed to become accomplished and to leave their name written in gold letters throughout history.
Omodos, through its age-long and turbulent history, can present several active and insightful people that -through their deeds and each in his / her field -have their name already written in history. People different from one another have offered their services and -many times -their lives in various fields such as that of the Church, of politics, of literature, of the arts, and of music.
In the pages that follow we record the history of these people, a modicum of homage for the services and deeds they offered not only to their homeland but also to the whole of Cyprus
Archbishop Panaretos was a native of Omodos. Before being enthroned in 1827 he was the Metropolitan Bishop of Pafos.
Archbishop Panaretos showed great interest for his “flock” and -several times -he intervened for the protection of people who were wronged.
In the beginning of his term he dealt mainly with issues that related to the Holy Monastery of Kykkos. The Ecumenical Patriarchate in a letter indicated to him that he should make sure for the return of the Monastery’s estates to their previous owners. Then the Ecumenical Patriarch was suggesting to Archbishop Panaretos to take various measures so as to protect the Monastery. The result of these suggestions was a rift in the relationships between Archbishop Panaretos and the Ecumenical Patriarch and the consequent forced resignation of Archbishop Panaretos.
After his resignation, Panaretos went to the Holy Monastery of Agios Herakleidios for a year and from there to Omodos where he stayed for a year. He died in 1842.
Neofytos, Metropolitan Bishop of Pafos
Neofytos, the Metropolitan Bishop of Pafos, was a native of Omodos. He served in the Metropolitan throne of Pafos from 1869 until 1887. He was a music-lover and gave large donations to educational institutes. He provided for the operation of a permanent school in Pafos. During the British occupation he granted part of the Holy See so that it would be used as an elementary school and a Greek school.
On the 9 th of July, 1869, the Metropolitan Bishop of Pafos, Neofytos, gave a donation of 100,000 “groshia” (coins, piasters) for the educational institutes of Nicosia. The great donation was used for the maintenance of the Girl’s School in Nicosia and it was decided that every year, during the celebratory liturgy on the 25 th of March, the name of the benefactor would be mentioned.
Meletios, Metropolitan Bishop of Kition
Meletios (1798-1878) was born in Omodos where he got his education first. In 1814 he was ordained as a deacon and stayed in Omodos until 1825. He then served as a deacon for the Metropolitan Bishop of Pafos, Panaretos, and when Panaretos became Archbishop of Cyprus he went with him to Nicosia. In 1833 he became archdeacon of the Archdiocese and in 1846 he was ordained as the Metropolitan Bishop of Kition, a position from which he was forced to resign from in 1864. After his resignation he returns to Omodos where he remained until his death.
The reasons that led him to his resignation from the throne of Kition were not irrelevant with his effort to assist and support his fellow-villagers. Indeed, from time to time -while being the Metropolitan Bishop -he had brought close to him several members of his family as well as people from the surrounding region.
Church Steward Dositheos
A few years after the Greek revolution against the Turks in 1821, Dositheos was the Church Steward in the Monastery of The Holy Cross in Omodos. A clergyman with a brave heart and many virtues, he cleverly befriended Kioutsouk Mehmet, then governor of Cyprus, to whom he often gave gifts from the treasury of the Holy Cross, aiming to achieve some service for his fellow-villagers. Such services he often managed to achieve and so the inhabitants of the entire region loved him very much and considered him as their saviour and their great patron.
Things went normally until the big moment arrived for the revolution of the Greeks against the Ottoman Empire. Cyprus was also to pay dearly for that uprising of the Greek Nation. On that fateful day of the 9 th of July 1821, the Archbishop Kyprianos was hanged and the “Despots” (high ranking priests) were slaughtered. Among the clergymen that fell victims to the Turkish atrocity of those times was also the Church Steward of the Holy Cross Monastery in Omodos, Dositheos, who was an old man by then.
Among other events related to the name of Dositheos is the first bell that was ever heard in Cyprus from the steeple of the Holy Cross Monastery of Omodos in 1812, because the Turks were not annoyed by its sound. Dositheos is also the real maker of today’s building in the Monastery.
Today’s inhabitants of Omodos, honouring the holy remembrance of the legendary Dositheos, have set up his bust next to the monastery’s entrance, above which the following is recorded: “DOSITHEOS FROM OMODOS, CHURCH STEWARD OF THE HOLY CROSS’S MONASTERY, SLAUGHTERED ON THE 12 th OF JULY 1821.”