News
The Wishing Tree
The Wishing Tree
The Wishing Tree
The Wishing Tree
 
The Wishing Tree
20/06/2019
Heading up the Apostle Paul’s Road from Kato Pafos to the town centre, you will see a large tree covered with ribbons. Stop for a look and you will find that the tree, a terebinth, is rooted in what was once an underground cemetery. Legend has it that this was the catacomb of Agia Solomoni, a Jewish woman who, along with her seven Maccabee sons, embraced Christianity in the Hellenistic era. As she watched, her sons were tortured and killed by the King of Syria for refusing to accept idolatry and to give up their belief in God. Solomoni is honoured as a saint in the orthodox Christian church for her martyrdom. Descend the stairs into the catacomb and you will find a room filled with Christian icons and votive candles, two gated chambers, and two additional spaces carved into the stone. Frescoes on the walls date from the 12th century, while graffiti by Crusaders date from the 13th. In the central atrium, you can see the roots of the terebinth tree emerging from the stone. Why do visitors tie bits of cloth to the tree’s branches? Some believers make these offerings in the hope that the saint will answer their prayers. Common wishes are for fertility, cure from disease, and care for deceased relatives in the afterlife. If you would like to make an offering, you can purchase handkerchiefs and scarves at the adjacent kiosk. Some worshippers inscribe their prayers with pen on white handkerchiefs.