One of Cyprus’ most spectacular cathedrals is Santa Maria delle Grazie (Our Lady of Graces), also known as Terra Santa, in Larnaca, serving as a place of worship for the Latin Catholic Community.
Established in 1596 by the Franciscan monk Callixte Martel, the cathedral boasts Renaissance and Baroque architectural characteristics. In 1724, the church and convent were replaced by larger buildings, and in 1842 the original structures were demolished.
During the island’s conquest in the twelfth century, Italian Catholic nuns formed a religious Latin community to manage the convent in Larnaca. The nuns have a long tradition of philanthropic services in Larnaca’s community; they currently manage a senior citizen’s residence on the church grounds.
There are three churches serving the Latin community of Cyprus: Holy Cross near the Paphos Gate in Nicosia, which was refounded in 1900 with a grant from Queen Maria-Christina, wife of King Alfonso XII of Spain; St. Catherine in Limassol, founded by the Franciscans in 1872; and St. Mary of the Graces in Larnaca, refounded by the Franciscans in 1843.