Monument materials:
Image 1: Altered Gabbro
Image 2: Altered Weathered Gabbro
Image 3: Calcarenite
Image 4: Calcarenite
Image 5: Calcarenite
Image 6: Diabase
Image 7: Lava Andesite
Image 8: Lava Andesite
Image 9: Oxidized Diabase
Image 10: Oxidized Lava
Image 11: Oxidized Lava

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The panel of Saint Anastasia Pharmakolitria and Donor Anastasia Saramalina lies on the south apse of the narthex, on the right side of Saint George on the Ηorseback and is dated to the late thirteenth century.
Saint Anastasia was painted in her traditional way of depiction during the Lusignan period in Cyprus, i.e. holding a white martyr’s cross and a bottle of medicine, the attribution of healing. The figure is accompanied by an inscription which reads 'Anastasia Pharmakolitria'. Pharmakolitria means dissolver of poison. Anastasia actually used to cure those who suffered for their faith in Christ by cleaning their wounds and placing remedy on them.
Attention must not be given only to her healing powers, but also to her name. Anastasia is a derivative of Anastasis which means resurrection and, therefore, she was linked iconographically and conceptually to the resurrection of Christ. Even though executed in an earlier decorating program, the panel of Saint. Anastasia is embodied perfectly to the meaning context of the iconographic program 1332 A.D. in Asinοu, i.e. the resurrection, healing and salvation during the Second Coming and Judgement and corresponds in great accordance with the fourteenth century images of Cosmas and Damian on the north wall.
Anastasia Saramalina, the benefactress of the wall painting, is depicted in a smaller scale than the saint’s figure, following the Byzantine custom. She opens her hands towards her patron saint and her apparel reminisces Byzantine clothing of the Eastern Mediterranean of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries but accompanied with characteristic Western-type headgear.
The portrait of Saint Anastasia belongs to iconographic style developed peculiar to Lusignan Cyprus. The stylistic idiom, the so-called Maniera Cypria, was an amalgamation of Byzantine and Latin stylistic characteristics which were created in Cyprus after its conquest by the Crusaders and especially in the late thirteenth century. This artistic production style wavers between the two worlds, the East and the West, represented on the island during the period but succeeds in marking and linking Cyprus with two apparently distinct traditions into a successful one.

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The murals on the southern half of the central part of the arch of the nave consist of four scenes depicting significant moments of the early life of Christ. They portray the Nativity and Presentation in the Temple (above) and the Baptism and Transfiguration (below). These scenes were developed and painted within a grid, typical of the Late Byzantine forms of Gospel cycle paintings in Cyprus and elsewhere.
These frescoes date back to the late thirteenth early fourteenth century, when the interior masonry of the naos and bema area faced structural issues and a reinforcement seemed inevitable.
Attention must be paid to the presence of these four scenes, which are exemplary of Middle Byzantine imagery in Cyprus, in the fourteenth-century fresco repertoire of Asinou. Namely, it is unusual how a Middle Byzantine canon was encapsulated into a Late Byzantine iconographic cycle. This is unique, as no fourteenth-century cycle of Christ’s early life survives on Cyprus, other than that at Asinou, contributing as an exceptional paradigm.
The group of the southern part of the vault begins with the Nativity. A triangular mountain dominates the scene with a large, seated Mary within the cave, Jesus in a stone manger, overlooked by an ox and ass and above him the star of Bethlehem. In the bottom left corner, Joseph and two sheep are turned in the direction of Mary, while the bottom right corner is occupied by the scene of the bath. Above this, there is a piping shepherd who turns his face to an angel, emerging from behind the mountain. Corresponding to the other side, three magi and two angels can be seen behind the slope of the mountain and an arc of Heaven hangs from the top frame. In terms of style, a smooth tentativeness is something that characterises the figures of the Nativity scene.
Motifs of direct parallel from the scene to earlier paintings in Cyprus can be easily discerned. The churches of Lagoudera and Asinou share the same composition of Nativity, the piping shepherd resembles that at Pera Chorio and the handkerchief in Mary’s hand and the crouching Joseph are both quoted from Moutoullas. Thus, it can be easily stated that the Asinou Master was inspired by local models, although embodied in a more simplified manner. Nevertheless this inspiration encompasses an important fact. The late Comnenan cycles of wall-paintings, especially those of Lagoudera, played a major role in the decorative motifs of Asinou. Those cycles had become classic as early as the earlier Byzantine painting and it would be unsurprising if some were already available in the original frescoes of Asinou.
On the other hand, characteristics of the Palaiologan art are present, as well. The treatment of the landscape and especially the use of light on features are attributes of Palaiologan painting that have been aroused by contemporaneous Byzantine cases such as the Nativity at Saint Nicholas of the Roof.
Consequently, it is evident that a blend of Middle and Late Byzantine characteristics arise in the scene of Nativity at Asinou.
The group of scenes goes on with the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. In this scene, surprisingly, two contradictory things happen. On the one hand, there is no hint of tentativeness as attested in Nativity scene. The clothes have richly heaped drapery folds, robust volumes in the limbs and facial features and a decorative play of colour and ornament in the background. On the contrary, in terms of iconography, the scene is characterised as totally traditional and conservative. Mary, holding the child and Symeon face one another in front of the altar of the Holy Holies; Joseph follows her carrying two pigeons and Anna stands behind Symeon, bearing a scroll on which it was written: 'This is the child who established heaven and earth'. Even though, from the thirteenth century onward, in this scene Symeon holds the child, at Asinou the painter or painters still draw Mary holding the child. Hence based on the style, this fresco composition could be assigned to the painting of 1106 A.D. Finally, the presence of the star of Bethlehem inside the cave is a representative example of a mingled Italian and Byzantine imagery body which is established on Cyprus as early as the fourteenth century.
The scene of Baptism is situated below that of the Nativity. In the representation, Christ stands in the river which has the shape of a cone with ten fishes and a figure personifying the River Jordan. John the Baptist makes a gesture toward Christ’s head as a dove descends from an arc of Heaven and while six angels reach from the right.
Conservatism can be discerned in this scene, too. The cape-like tunic and the bare minimum clothes of John, the cross-legged position of Jesus, the standing figure of Jordan lifting his face to Christ’s gesture of blessing are all characteristics of the conservatism of the previous represented painting style.
As in the Nativity scene, iconographic and stylistic characteristics reflect the force of other twelfth-century trends from Pera Chorio, Lagoudera, Kalogrea, Ksilotimbou, Kato Lefkara and Monagri on the inspiration of fourteenth-century painter or painters. These characteristics are the twist of Christ’s body, the bevy of angels, and the strange figure of Jordan.
Ending, the Transfiguration is the last scene of the four attested on the southern part of the vault of the central arch. The depth of meanings for the Transfiguration scene regarding its theological content was heightened during the Palaiologan period, likewise for the Baptism.
Iconographically, Christ is surrounded by a mandorla in a mountainous landscape, Elijah stands to his right side and Moses to his left. John lies on the Christ’s feet, while Peter has kneeled and James stands on one knee on the right. The stylistic trends of the late thirteenth early fourteenth-century representation of the scene do not succeed in conveying the emotions of the late twelfth-century figures or the shocked and keeled over postures of the disciples in the Palaiologan art.
In sum, the same four scenes should have occupied the southern part of the vault in the initial imagery program of 1105 A.D. However it would be entirely hypothetical to say how those looked due to the combination of different geographical and temporal characteristics.

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Frontally illustrated are two panels of saints which flank either side of the western door, leading from the naos to the narthex. The figures of these monks belong to the original wall-painting programme, as does the western side of the naos. All six Saints represent the monasticism movement, as each one of them during the course of their lives experienced the eremitic life. On the right hand side, Saints Andronicus, Hilarion and Cyriacus are represented and on the left hand side Saints Anthony, Euthymius and Savvas.

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Saint Onouphrios occupies the lower zone of the added north respond of the naos and dates along with Nikephoros and Symeon to the sixteenth century. Along with Onouphrios, above him are ascetic saints. Presumably the familiarity of the monastic community of Asinou with them must explain their inclusion in the iconographic cycle of the church

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The sail vault of the narthex is decorated with the figure of Christ in the iconographic type of Pantokrator, the Supreme Judge. The wall-painting was part of the narthex’s decorative composition with the concept of the Last Judgement spread across every wall, except the conch of the south wall. This imagery, along with the series of medallions and the apostles depicted in the pendentives, consists of an unusual alteration of the well-established representation of Heavenly Court, the central composition of the Last Judgement. However, the iconographic wall-painting ornamentation of the narthex, still evokes a typical dome composition.
These frescoes are dated to 1332 A.D. and their imagery corresponds to the scripture, homilies and poetic work of the Last Judgement.

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Pantokrator is surrounded by twelve medallions located at a lower level than Him which contain the Mother of God, the archangels Michael and Gabriel, a seraph and eight more angels.
The presence of each figure in the medallions serves a purpose. Angels Kain and Galgaliel escort the Pantokrator, Tartaruhos is an angel-demon and master of the torments in hell, Teptadael is an angel serving the Just and Saltael is thought to be a supplicant par excellence. Therefore, the Pantokrator is encircled by angels serving as escorts and extollers of God, by angels connected to cosmological symbolism and by angels directly associated with the Second Coming, who keep the Just and Unjust and supplicate God for mercy. The Virgin, depicted with raised hands in supplication, and every angel address their entreaty to the Christ for the redemption of humankind.
This imagery, along with the Pantokrator and the Apostles depicted in the pendentives, consists of an unusual alteration of the well-established representation of Heavenly Court, the central composition of the Last Judgement.

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Traditionally in the composition of the Last Judgement, Apostles adjoin Christ the Judge alongside with Virgin and John the Baptist but at Asinu a deviation is attested. The Apostles are dispersed to the four pendentives of the sail vault of the narthex in groups of three. On the NorthEast pendentive the Apostles Simon, James and Philip are depicted, on the SouthEast pendentive the Apostles Peter, Paul and Luke are shown, on the SouthWest pendentive the Apostles Matthew, Mark and John are situated and on the NorthWest pendentive the Apostles Andrew, Thomas and Bartholomew. They are enthroned ready to judge the twelve tribes of Israel on the Day of Judgement as part of the Heavenly Court. Regarding the figures, a cohesion is embedded through colour, design, gestures and postures of the Apostles.

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In the narthex of Asinou Saint Sozomenos is pictured on the west face of the northeast respond as a monk. The Saint is connected with Cyprus but in the hagiographical texts there are three saints with the same name, thus making it difficult to discern which of them is linked to the island. Probably all three of them have bonds with Cyprus, each one in a different part. The most intriguing of the three is Saint Sozomenos who lived as hermit in close vicinity to the village of Potamia. Interestingly, the latest layer of frescoes in his cave depicts Sozomenos in the same prosopographical type as that in Asinu and is dated to the second quarter of the fourteenth century. This means that the two pictoral programs have a small time gap between them and therefore a similarity is expected.
Saint Sozomenos of Potamia, like every figure in the narthex of Asinou, was not chosen by chance. He is commemorated on 21st of November, the same day the Virgin is presented to the Temple. In this way he is related to Mary. Additionally, in a service composed in his honor, an encomium is written for his healing abilities and he is continuously asked to intervene for the salvation of the faithful. His name, also, can be associated with what the narthex promotes, deriving from the verb 'sozo' which means 'to save', a direct connotation of the salvific context of the frescoes of the narthex. Thus these connotations contribute to the promotion of the general message of the narthex of Asinou.

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Two figures, the personifications of Earth and Sea, occupy the upper zone of the northern semidome of the narthex. The depictions contain two young people covered with crowns. Almost always, the figures are female corresponding to the gender of their names. The Earth sits on the back of a lion, portrayed frontally, moving eastwards within a rocky surrounding. She holds the tail of a serpent while its head ends to a goblet. In the mountainous environment trees, birds, a serpent and a feline, in other words creatures to be found on earth, are painted.
The Sea is pictured sitting on a sea monster and holding a sailing boat and a paddle. Additionally, fish and octopus are drawn by the painter within the sea.
Traditionally, Earth and Sea are to be placed near the trumpet-blowing angels on the western wall. However, at Asinou these were intentionally located above the Kingdom of Heaven functioning as cosmological symbols.
The depiction of Sea as a figure within an iconographic program of a church can be found already in early Cypriot examples of the Second Coming such as in Saint Nicholas of the Roof at Kakopetria dated to the twelfth century and in the church of the Transfiguration at Sotira dated to the late thirteenth century.

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