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Balıklı Rum Church Istanbul

Balıklı Rum Church Istanbul
This church is at the back of a large graveyard and sits just outside the gate.  It was built next to a sacred spring that Emperor Justinian drank the water from when he was suffering from a kidney problem and it is said to have cured it.  The Emperor then had building stones that were on route to the Hagia Sophia diverted to here to build another church.  

During the 1453 siege of Istanbul it is said that a monk who was frying fish to eat beside the pool muttered “the Turks are as likely to occupy the city as these fish are to come back to life” when the fish apparently leapt from the pan and into the pool and soon after the city was taken by the Ottomans.  There are still fish living in the pool which is now housed under a beautiful chapel that becomes very busy with visitors.  

The church you see today dates back to only 1833 and the courtyard has many old gravestones that were moved
from cemeteries that once existed here and some are written in Karamanlı (Turkish written in Greek characters) with emblems of the deceased’s occupations.  One such gravestone reads “In this grave lies Vithleem (Bethlehem), wife of the tavern-keeper Sava from the village of Iloson in Nigde . May God bless her soul. 2 July 1897”.  Unfortunately during the anti-Greek rioting in 1955 the church sustained bad damage and tombs of patriarchs buried behind the church were ransacked.

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