Ecumenical Patriarchal Church in Istanbul

The Ecumenical Patriarchal Church

The Patriarchate's origin can be traced back to the fourth century when Byzantion (called later on Constantinople and today Istanbul) was a small Greek city-state. In the 6th century, the official title of the bishop became "Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch". Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople and a
principal setting for imperial ceremonies. During the Latin Occupation (1204-1261) the church became a Roman Catholic cathedral, and its many treasures and relics were dispersed.

When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, the Patriarch at the time, Athanasius II, was killed along with the last ruling Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI. The Saint Sophia was converted into a mosque and the Patriarch Church have to move. At that time Gennadios II was the patriarch for 2 years and he was followed by many other. Today Bartholomew is the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch is the 270th successor of the 2,000 year-old local Christian Church founded by Saint Andrew.

In the 17th century the Church moved to the building where it is located today near the Golden Horn where there was a beautiful wooden women monastery at that placed that was renovated and can be seen as a neighbor building of the church.

Inside the Church you will see very beautiful mosaics, icons and paintings. You will be able to see three very nice sarcophagus made of silver and copper. Inside this sarcophagus there are bodies of saints. In their festivities they open the sarcophagus so you can see the skeleton of the saints. There is a very special black marble stone which came form Israel. It is said that Jesus was tied to this stone before being crucified. There is also another part of this stone in Jerusalem and Rome.

It is a habit of religious people to leave anything they own ( a watch, a ring, anything material) in front of the icon of the saint that they made a promise or they received a blessing. Lots of people still do this, but the church maintain the objects inside a room not near the icon.

Very near the church, up the hill the most prominent building in Fener, the old Greek quarter, is definitely the Greek School in Turkish Rum Lisesi, but is commonly known as Kirmizi Mektep (Red School). The building dates
from 1881.

Ecumenical Patriarchal Church

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The city walls