Charming (kind, articulate, handsome) Andreas makes the candles and runs the shop when he is not minding a realty office a few doors down. Andreas explained the candles are used as part of a traditional practice in the Greek Orthodox church. The body parts correspond to places of disease or physical vulnerability and are lit at the church as an offering. If you have migraines, you light a head candle. If you are pregnant, you light a baby candle.
In addition to the body part candles, Andreas makes a lot of beeswax tapers for churches in Cyprus and beyond. Andreas recently sent more than 1000 pounds of tapers to the Greek Orthodox Church in Cambridge, England.
Andreas took over the business from his grandfather when, at 95, he hurt his back on the cobblestone street in front of his shop. Grandpa is ok now but taking a break from the business and proud that his grandson will carry on the tradition.
After talking to Andreus, I went to Larnaca’s iconic St. Lazarus church to see the candles in action.
This was my favorite discovery in Larnaca — a story that connects two generations with local church traditions, people with faith in the power of metaphor, and an earthy art form that makes light.