EXCAVATIONS in Paphos have yielded important
finds including new information on the visit to the island by St Paul, the Apostle.
The government has confirmed reports that the Italian archaeological
mission uncovered a fragment of a marble inscription which supports the scriptures on the
Apostle's links to Cyprus.
Site director Filippo Giudice, Professor of Classical Archaeology at
the University of Catania in Sicily, said that the site at Toumballos was one of the most
important monuments of Hellenistic and Roman Paphos.
He said the inscription they found confirmed that Paul had preached in
the area of the Christian basilica which the site later became.
Giudice said that the basilica was established by St Hilarion from
Palestine who, after a stay in Sicily, came to Paphos to preach and may even have carved
the inscription himself.
Tradition says that it was St Hilarion who drove demons from the
basilica which was previously been a pagan temple and sanctuary to Apollo sanctuary,
Paphos mayor Phidias Sarringas hailed the find as very important.
"Archaeologists from all over the world will be interested in the find, because it
changes current beliefs on the path of Christianity and the presence of the Apostle Paul
in Paphos," he said.
Similar inscriptions had been found at the Vatican in Rome, he added.
Archaeologists had previously thought that the site was a Roman
military camp, and they were surprised when their findings indicated that St Paul had also
preached Christianity there.
The archaeologists have been working at the site for eleven years and
this year they also uncovered an ancient 72-metre length of road and two chambers which
have been partly explored.
Previous finds at Toumballos include a staircase, a circular chamber and a long
corridor on to which three chambers open.