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Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates

Recently, I visited the area of Kourion where I stopped off at the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates (god of the woodland). Hylates, worshipped in ancient times by the people of Cyprus, was later identified as the Greek god Apollo and was believed to be the protector of Kourion. This site was established in the 8th century BC and was in use until the year 365 AD, when a major earthquake destroyed the temple. There is evidence that the site was altered on several occasions over that time period. The ruins on display are from the 1st century AD, including a restored section of the temple, pilgrims' halls, a palaestra (wrestling school), priest's house, baths and a votive pit.

The remains of the temple at the end of the 'Sacred Street' portray the sheer scale of the structure. The paving dates from the time of Emperor Trajan (end of 1st/beginning of 2nd century AD).

The Roman world enjoyed a complex public bath system, which entailed a frigidarium, tepidarium, sudatorium, and caldarium (see sign for translation). This section, along with other extensions mentioned above, was added to the sanctuary in Roman times.

A bottle gourd with its unusual flower was at the entrance of the site (see below). A reminder in such a dead place that only the Living God can sustain life! Pagan temples have risen and fallen, testifying to powerless man-made religion! How futile that people would devote their lives to the worship of false gods.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,

the work of human hands.

They have mouths, but do not speak;

they have eyes, but do not see;

they have ears, but do not hear,

nor is there any breath in their mouths.

Those who make them become like them,

so do all who trust in them.

Psalm 135:15-18

We no longer erect temples to Apollo, but idolatry is still rife on every hand. That which replaces worship of the true God is, in effect, idolatry. It could be something as legitimate as our careers, family, materialism, success, ideas and ambitions. At which altar are we worshipping and will it stand the test of time and eternity?

The Bible says:

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13


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