Guzelyurt

Guzelyurt is a market town in the west in North Cyprus. One of its attractive features is that it is the home of one of the many churches in the country dedicated to St. Mamas, popularly known as the patron saint of tax avoiders. The name was bestowed on him because he was a hermit living in very poor circumstances and when the authorities tried to tax him, he evaded them. Soldiers were sent out and captured him but on the way back to town, he saw a lion attacking a lamb, escaped the soldiers, saved the lamb, jumped on the lion's back and in that way came to town. His bravery earned him exemption from tax, thence his name.

St Mamas' church in Guzelyurt

The church is an icon museum now, and the illustrations of St. Mamas on his lion are quite amusing as no one there at that time had seen a lion so its portrayal is not exactly correct, in some versions giving it a human face.

St Mamas, the lamb and the lion: altar painting
in the church at Guzelyurt


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