Larnaca is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus. It has a population of 72,000 (2010) and is the island’s second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort. The island’s largest airport, Larnaca International Airport is located on the outskirts of the city.
To the north of the city lies the island’s former oil refinery, which was reduced to a storage facility after the refinery itself was sold in 2008. The city of Larnaka is well-known for its picturesque seafront which includes rows of palm trees (oi finikoudes, in the Cypriot dialect). Larnaca Marina is one of the four official entry points, by sea, to Cyprus.
Larnaca is a tourist center. In this area, tourism extends far to the east along the coast, with centers such as Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Protaras.
The Christian Presence:
In the north-eastern district of Larnaca, distinct from the surrounding building, there is the imposing monument of the Catholic Church of the Franciscan Fraternity dedicated to the “‘The Virgin Mary of the Graces”.
In the Monastery of the church there are two monks in residence, while in the adjacent Convent there reside six nuns. In the large compound of the Church there is also an Old Peoples Home belonging to the Church and administered by the monks.
The Franciscans are located in Larnaca since the year 1593. The Church is the third in a series of three built on the same site and was consecrated officially and with celebration on the 8″ December 1848, by Father Bernardino Trionfetti, the Principal Abbot of Terra Santa.
The Church is built in the shape of the Latin cross. It has three narthexes, dome and Peristyle (colonnade) built-in its face.
The architect of the church, the Franciscan Brother Serafino Da Roccascelima designed the church inspired by the ecclesiastical architectural art of southern Italy particularly that of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The belfry in the shape of a square tower has no special detail interest but its face, of exceptional style is impressive. The architect Roccascelenia is commemorated in an inscription in Latin, carved on the front of the main window of the face and also a bust of marble set inside the Peristyle.
The bust was carved in Tuscany Italy, following a commission from the procurement committee of Larnaca, who in this manner wished to express their appreciation and gratitude to the man who enriched their city with such an imposing monument, regarded by historians of the period as characteristic and of great historical value.
The church since its inception has drawn the attention and interest of visitors to Larnaca for its superb architecture and the valuable original touches it enjoys.
On Sunday, Masses are at 8 in Greek, and at 9:30 and 18:30 in English and Polish alternately (This is due to the presence the families of many Poles recruited for the local football teams). At 16:00, the Mass is celebrated in Ayia Napa for the local tourists. Today, the priest, the pastor of Larnaca, still uses for the Mass the room made available by the Scandinavian Lutheran Church.
The management of the Aeneas Hotel in Ayia Napa has built a chapel in the garden which available to the pastor of Larnaca.
During the week, Mass is celebrated in Italian in the chapel of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, who take care of the “Terra Santa Rest House.” This nursing home adjoining the church was founded in 1972.
Saint Mary of Grace parish Pastor: Fr. Lawrence Coblawie OFM
Address: Terra Sancta Street P.O.B. 40037 6300 Larnaca Cyprus
Tel: (24) 64 28 58 Fax: (24) 63 69 53 E-mail: [email protected]