The second day we were there we started with the Ecumencial Patriarchate. It was not very fancy. It was actually very plain, and not quite too impressive from the outside. Could this be the center of Orthodoxy for the entire world? How far has Constantinople fallen? It is tough to see the Patriarchate marginalized in such a way. Sometimes I think that we are greater that we are put in such a position of suffering. If this is confusing, I should inform you that Turkey does not have freedom of religion (so to speak). It is strictly a Muslim country. Orthodox Clergy are not allowed to wear thier proper attire suited to thier office outside of the Phanar (place of the Patriarchate). Only the Patriarch is allowed to do so. Turkey has closed the majority of Orthodox Churches and monasteries and has turned them either into museums or have barred them from being used. The government of Turkey has marginalized the Patriarchate in so many ways, it is hard to imagine.
to learn more about the Ecumencial Patriarchate click here
This picture above is the Patriarchical Church of St. George. It is amazing, with relics of incredible saints! The last relics in the album below are those of the great Fathers of the Church St. John Chysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian!
for more Ecumenical Patriarchate pictures click below on icon then press SLIDE SHOW
The relics of St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chysostom were amazing. I prayed that they might bless me with some of their wisdom, and St. John some of his incredible speaking power. It is amazing to think who has worshiped God in this Church, and now I have been able to be a part of it.
Here are some video's of the Liturgy inside of the Patriarchichal Church of St. George
First Litany video
Save us O son of God video
Sofia Orthi video
After this visit we have the Monastery where the first Akathist to the Theotokos was created, which left an indelible mark on the entirety of Orthodoxy recognizing its love and devotion to the Mother of God.
Here are the words to this lovely hymn to the Mother of God :)
click here to hear the hymn
ΤΗ ΥΠΕΡΜΑΧΩ ΣΤΡΑΤΗΓΩ ( tee ee-pear-ma-ho stra-a-tee-goh)
ΤΑ ΝΙΚΗΤΗΡΙΑ ( ta nee- eek- tee- ree- ah)
ΩΣ ΛΥΤΡΩΘΕΙΣΑ (os lee- troh- thee- sah)
ΤΩΝ ΔΕΙΝΩΝ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΗΡΙΑ ( ton dee-non ev-har-is-teer-ee-ah)
ΑΝΑΓΡΑΦΩ ΣΟΙ (ah-na-graf-o see)
Η ΠΟΛΙΣ ΣΟΥ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ (ee po-lis sou theh-o-to-ke)
ΑΛΛΌΣ ΕΧΟΥΣΑ ΤΟ (al- os eh-hoo-sa)
ΚΡΑΤΟΣ ΑΠΡΟΣΜΑΧΗΤΟΝ ( kra-tos ap-ros-ma-hee-ton)
ΕΚ ΠΑΝΤΟΙΩΝ ΜΕ ΚΙΝΔΥΝΩΝ (ek pan-tee-on me keen-dee-non)
ΙΝΑ ΚΡΑΖΩ ΣΟΙ (een-a kra-zo see)
ΧΑΙΡΕ ΝΥΜΦΗ (heh-re neem-fee)
For more pictures please click the icon below then click SLIDE SHOW in the upper left hand corner
These pictures cannot express the joy that I had by being in this Church, the priest that I was with began a a prayer service in which all of us ended it with this akathist, which left me dumbfounded at the beauty of our amazing faith!
After this awesome place we went to a famous monastery called Μόνη της Χώρας (Monastery of the Country) The icons, I have seen nothing like it in my life. The detail, the care, and the craftsmanship of these icons, many of them mosaics. We gazed at these icons for about an hour and a half, perhaps more. I couldn't help but be drawn in to these icons, and in a sense become part of them. When surrounded by such beauty and the truest expression of heaven I have ever seen, I truly felt like I had left earth and was in God's kingdom. If we could only imagine Hagia Sofia in its original beauty, it was probably much grander than this.
To see more pictures of this magificent Monastery click in the box below then SLIDE SHOW
|Μόνη της Χώρας|
Our next stop was the final resting place of all of the Ecumenical Patriarchs- "Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Βαλουκλή" (Zo-do-hos Pee-yee Bal-oo-klee) Which was truly magical. The icon you see to your left is over a pool of Holy Water, with fish in it! When I asked my friend why are there fish in the Holy Water, he responded with this story. He said when the Turks were invading Constantinople in 1453 a monk/priest was cooking fish in a pan and another monk ran in to plead to him "The Turks are invading the city!" He replied, "If the Turks are truly invading the city, these fish will jump out of the pan!" ( the fish were being fried ) And so they did, and that is why we now have fish in the Holy Water here! The pool is connected to 4 faucets where anyone visiting may drink of the Holy Water from this pool. (Yes I did!) To see the tombs of the these Patriarchs was surreal, unfortunately we passed though too fast, and it was hard to take in.
Here is a video of this magnificent Church click here
For more pictures of "Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Βαλουκλή" click the box below, then click SLIDE SHOW
|"Ζωοδόχος Πηγή Βαλουκλή|
Our last and final stop was incredible and fantastic. It was the archelogical museum of Turkey. But really the Archeological Museum of the Hellenistic Roman Period. The detail of these marble statues was mind boggling. It also, makes you wonder what a world like this could be like? Visions of movies like Troy, Gladiator and the like fill the mind when moving though these halls and seeing these statues!
For more faboulous pictures of the Archeological Museum of Constantinople click on the box below and press SLIDE SHOW
As you can see this was quite a fascinating trip, where I learned a lot about the richness and history of our Orthodox faith as well as the history of the Greek people. Again, I could feel the pain of the Greek people I was touring with, knowing that all this land, churches, and artifacts were taken from them. It is difficult to imagine what it would feel like to look at your stolen property though plate glass, and your places of worship turned into money gobbling museums. There is such a feeling of bittersweet joy when sharing these experiences with them and I am truly sorry for the loss(es).
If anyone is looking for a great side trip, while in Eastern Europe, Constantinople (Istanbul today) is a wonderful journey full of wonderful food, great places to see and truly a European experience whatever anyone might say :) Thanks for reading about my trip, when I post something else I will surely let you know!
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