Friday, August 31, 2007

Christ Church: A part of Istanbul's history

Christ Church Istanbul

From the Turkish Daily News:

Tucked between the quarters of Galata and Tophane in the Kumbaracı Yokuşu neighborhood, on a street that reminds one of Orhan Pamuk's melancholic image of Istanbul with its old, dark and partially deteriorating houses, is Turkey's finest example of Neo French Gothic architecture: Christ Church.

Established in 1558 and designed by George Edmund Street, the architect famous for designing London's Royal Courts of Justice, Christ Church is part of Istanbul's Anglican Chaplaincy. The massive building was constructed between 1858 and 1868 on property that had been given to the British Crown by Sultan Abdülmecit to provide a place of worship for the British community around Galata. It served to commemorate the victims of the Crimean War that took place from 1853 - 1856 between the French-British-Ottoman allies, and Russia. Interestingly, the church shares a boundary with its neighboring mosque, which is unique in itself.

“In spite of being just a few minutes from the international atmosphere of İstiklal Street, the daily interaction takes place within the context of village culture, with each of the kahvehanes (coffee houses) representing different places of Turkey,” said Ian Sherwood, the church's chaplain. Sherwood is also in charge of the British Consulate Chaplaincy, which received much attention following the Nov. 2003 bombing.

“Apart from friendly encounters on the street between devout Muslims and the various Christians who come to Christ Church, there is unfortunately no interaction with the imam of the neighborhood,” he said.

The Anglican Church is of less dogmatic character than the Roman Catholic Church, with its liturgy in the English language being provided for people of different faiths every Sunday morning.

“At the moment our visitors come from more than 15 different nations, among them not only Anglicans but also Roman Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, and also some interested Muslims,” he said. . .

Read it all.


Jeff said...

And, in an amazing accomplishment, this article, about the city of Constantinople, home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, manages to avoid any mention of the same.

Not too surprising, coming from a Turkish paper. Of course, if the Turkish government has its way, it will have completely eliminated the Orthodox from its borders before too long.

Anne Coletta said...

Interesting, Jeff, especially since they mention Roman Catholics and Protestants.

Jeff said...

The government of Turkey recently declared (as if they had such authority) that the Ecumenical Patriarch was not, in fact, the Ecumenical Patriarch, but rather the bishop only of the local Church.

The government also maintains that they must approve the election of the Patriarch. Amazing stuff for a country claiming freedom of religion, and seeking to enter the EU.