The majority religion in Cyprus is that of Greek Orthodox Christianity. According to ‘Operation World’ (2001 edition) 74% of people in Cyprus consider themselve to be Greek Orthodox. Since this statistic covers the whole island, and there are few Christians in the North, this means that probably 80% of people in the South are affiliated in some way with the Greek Orthodox Church. This is part of the Eastern Orthodox communion.
There are several Orthodox churches in each town, and between towns, of varying sizes. While many people only attend at major festivals, there are some who visit their local church not just on Sundays, but on Saints’ days and other midweek services too.
The services are in Ancient Greek, and are often relayed on loudspeakers outside the buildings. People come and go as they wish – the services can last two hours or more, but it’s not unusual for people to be coming and going throughout. Men and women sit on different sides of the church.
On a separate page you can find information about Protestant churches in Cyprus
Roman Catholic Churches
Although Islam is the dominant religion in the North of Cyprus, there are very few Muslims in the South. There are, however, a few mosques, including the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque near the Salt Lake in Larnaka.
There is one Jewish synagogue in Larnaka, inaugurated in 2005.
Cyprus has complete freedom of religion, despite Greek Orthodoxy being the majority faith, and an increasing number of people living in Cyprus have no religious affiliation at all.
Many of the traditional church buildings are beautifully kept or renovated, and are generally open to visitors. Ensure that you dress and behave respectfully: this usually means ensuring that skirts are at least knee-length, shoulders are covered, and no shorts. Trousers on women are generally acceptable. If visiting a mosque, expect to take your shoes off at the entrance.
Photographs are usually not allowed inside Greek Orthodox church buildings; visitors should speak in quiet voices and avoid running around. You may be asked if you want to light a candle (and give a donation) but this is entirely optional.