Virgin of Mercy and Latin Donors
The wall-painting of the Virgin of Mercy and Latin Donors is on the semidome of the south apse of the narthex and shows a Latin widowed mother and her children praying to her patron saint Virgin.
The fresco represents an outstanding case, along with others, of a historical reality. It offers an insight to the multicultural character of Lusignan Cyprus and the impact of Greek and Latin cultures on one another. The wall-painting is a hybrid, as it was offered by a Latin lady to an Orthodox church with Latin and Greek iconography and style and a Greek inscription.
This image of the Mother of God belongs to the western iconographic type of the Madonna della Misericordia as Mary extends her mantle in protective mercy over supplicants. Although the iconographic type of the Virgin is Latin, particular features relate her with local Orthodox and Eastern Mediterranean artistic production, such as Mary’s maphorion which was common in late thirteenth-century Cypriot icons or the pearled-rimmed haloes attested in icons at Sinai, which are believed to be artistic products of Crusaders or Cypriot painters.
The Latin benefactress wears a cloak-like black veil, a garment believed to have been introduced by refugees of Western European origin from Palestine. The fresco dedication was executed possibly to express her appreciation for her own and her sons’ survival after the siege of the last bulwark of Christianity in the Levant, Acre, in 1291 A.D. and presumably in memory of her husband.