The Linobamvaki also known as the Linobambaki were a Crypto-Christian community that lived in Cyprus throughout Ottoman rule. Linobambaki outwardly professed Islam but secretly practised Christianity, in particular Catholicism. Linobambaki can be divided into two groups. The first group developed immediately after the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus in 1571/1572, they were primarily made up of Latins, which included Venetians, French, Genovese and Occitan and Maronites who had converted to Islam to spare their lives and avoid slavery.
With Ottoman-Venetian rivalry at its peak, the Ottomans feared the security risk posed by the Catholics / Maronites of Cyprus and in particular feared the community would entice the Venetians to return, therefore Ottoman tolerance to Catholics / Maronites was much lower than it was towards the Greek Orthodox Christian community. It has also sometimes been argued that the island's Latin and Maronite community owned estates around the island, and their conversion was a mechanism aimed at keeping these estates. The community later assimilated into what would become the Turkish Cypriot community. Many of the most populous Turkish Cypriot villages and centers of Linobambaki activity were former Latin estates. These include: Louroudjina (Akincilar) Ayios Theodoros (Yeni Bogazici), Ay Yorgi, Ayios Toma (Limassol), Galinoporni (Kaleburnu), Terra, Limnitis (Yesilirmak) and Ayios Sozomenos.
The second group of Linobambaki also consisted of Latins and Maronites but also of an increasing number of Armenian and Greek Orthodox Christians who converted to Islam for economic reasons. Some Greek Orthodox Christian women also converted to Islam in order to escape an unhappy marriage, as under Ottoman Islamic law, a Christian man cannot be married to a Muslim woman. In the 17th, 18th, 19th century, travelogues have noted that the majority of Linobambaki activity took place in the Tylliria (Dilirga) region and around Louroudjina.
- The Maronite Community Cyprus Government Website
- The Armenians of Cyprus by Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra
- http://www.cypnet.co.uk/ncyprus/people/linobambakis/linobambaki.pdf RLN Michel Muslim Christian Sect in 19th century Cyprus]