Istanbul's Hagia Yorgi Church ready to reopen
The Hagia Yorgi Church, located opposite the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in Istanbul’s Edirnekapı, which has been restored by the General Directorate of Foundations, will open on Nov. 19 at a ceremony in the presence of Greek Patriarch Bartholomeus.
The General Director of Foundations Adnan Ertem, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin and Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Çavuşoğlu will also attend the ceremony.
Within the scope of the restoration project, the school building, the priest house, the guard house, the bell tower and the fountain have also been restored along with the church.
The history of the church dates back to the eighth century. According to Erhan Uludağ’s personal blog, there is not much information about the Hagia Yorgi Church, just like other Greek Orthodox churches in Istanbul. Recently, Ankara Hacettepe University History of Art Department academic Zafer Karaca wrote a doctorate thesis about all the Greek Orthodox churches in Istanbul. The thesis was later published by Yapı Kredi Publications.
The Hagia Yorgi Church in Edirnekapı was demolished with the order of Byzantine Emperor Konstantinos V. (741-775) and rebuilt. The church is known to have existed after the ninth century.
The structure survived until the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans. During the construction of the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque in the Ottoman era in 1556, the Hagia Yorgi Church, which was on the land of the mosque, was demolished and moved to its current place.
The church, known as Hagia Yorgi Platea d’Oignon in the 17th century, was restored in 1726 and in 1730. Sometime later, the structure collapsed and was rebuilt in 1836 by the architect Nikolaos. According to the Istanbul Encyclopedia, prepared by Reşat Ekrem Koçu, the structure underwent a complete restoration afterward. A small restoration was done later in 1991 under the inspection of Bartholomeus.