Soloi Basilica on the spot where St. Auxibius was baptized by St. Mark

View of Soli Basilica from the apse - Four churches are built upon one another here

The Basilica of Soli has been an important early Christian site from the beginning, for it is the only location on the island where a church house has been revealed at the lowest level of the foundations. A coin found at Basilica A dates the church to the 4th Century. There were four churches built over one another by the 8th Century.

Apse of Soli Basilica with three of the four church construction layers marked

The earlier Basilica A was filled in, leveled, and covered in order to expand Basilica B.  Archaeologists have had to painstakingly separate Basilica A from Basilica B, carefully marking layers of mosaics when doing so.

Basilica B included an atrium and baptismal pool which shows that the community of Christians was growing in the 5th century.

soli-basilica-fallen-column

Corinthian Capital at the Basilica's Western End

According to Orthodox tradition St. Mark baptized Auxibius in Soli.  The basilica was consecrated Ayios Auxibius for this reason. There is no mention of this event in Acts of the Apostles, but Acts of Barnabas indicates that the path taken by Barnabas and Mark from the north coast of Cyprus to Lambadistis, went by the port of Soloi.

soli-basilica-false-entrance

Christian Motif Mosaic at Soli Basilica

Christian Mosaic depicting a Dolphin

Ornate Swan Mosaic from the floor of Soli Basilica

Lovely mosaics have been excavated at each level. There are animals and birds, vines and grapes, and geometric shapes. There is even an inscription which says:

“Jesus! Protect those who built these mosaics”.

 

 

soli-basilica-cross-mosaics

© 2008 - 2015 RingofChrist.com