For learning. For inspiration. Or just for fun.
St Nicholas of the Cats : A very unusual monastery with some very unusual protectors.
St Nicholas of the Cats

When the Empress Helen founded the monastery of St Nicholas in the 4th century, she had no idea that this pleasant corner of Cyprus was plagued by venomous snakes.

THE monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats was founded on Cyprus by St Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, in the 4th century.

But the site on the Akrotiri peninsula was infested with venomous snakes, so much so that the local residents began to leave.

In a bold move, the island’s governor imported hundreds of cats from Egypt and the Holy Land, and for over a thousand years their scarred but indomitable descendants kept the snakes at bay.

When monks rang a little bell, the cats would come home for a meal. When it rang again, off they went to hunt snakes once more.

But when the Turks invaded in the late 16th century, they massacred the indigenous people of Cyprus, including the harmless monks, and the cats lost their home.

The cats were scattered, but the snakes remained; and when the monastery was rebuilt in 1983, the new community of nuns gathered a platoon of the fearsome little snake-hunters once again.

YouTube footage of the Monastery Cats

Below is a video of the cats of the monastery on Cyprus, running about and playing - a little break from the serious business of snakes.

More like this

Lives of the Saints (95) History (405) Cat Stories (17) Cats, Dogs and Other Animals (19) Bible and Saints (110)

Picture: © Riannacone, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0. View original
A Cyprus shorthair kitten, no doubt a descendant of the cats of Governor Kalokeros.
Based on ‘A Book of Golden Deeds’ by Charlotte Yonge

Amazon Books

Featured Music

Letters Game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: Letters Game Games with Words

Numbers Game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic

Selected Stories
Elfric of Eynsham
Elfric, Abbot of Eynsham in the reign of Æthelred the Unready, reflects on two appearances of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
Her enemies made Jane stronger, but her lover struck a blow from which she might never recover.
By Edith Nesbit
‘Be careful what you wish for’, they say, and there could be no more endearing example.
A prince falls for a dazzling dance-partner who teasingly vanishes at midnight.
The earliest Christians longed to celebrate the resurrection together at Passover, but that was not as easy as it sounds.
Thomas Lewis was rescued from slavery with only minutes to spare.