The historical and architectural context of this article is written in English. In the Turkish introduction I am explaining how I first saw the bell towers of the church from a bus window and later researched and found out about it's history .
Bu kiliseyi ilk defa nasıl gördüm !
Photo I took from the bus window
Hani bazen bir trenin penceresinden ya da arabanın camından dışarıya bakıyorsunuz dur, ve bir şey görürsünüz; bir ev, bir çocuk, bir ağaç . Ama bindiğiniz araç o kadar hızlı geçer ki oradan, gördüğünüz şey bir saniye içinde kaybolur. Bana da öyle olmuştu, zannederim üç yıl önceydi. Taksim'den Havaş otobüsüne binmiş bir Kars yolculuğu için Sabiha Gökçen havaalanına gidiyorduk. Tam nerede olduğumuzu bile bilmiyorum, ana caddedeki binaların arasında eski bir kilisenin iki tane sivri külah şeklindeki çan kulelerini gördüm. Elimdeki cep telefonu ile pencerede artık görüntüsü kaybolmak üzere olan kulelerin son anda fotoğrafını çektim.Sonra olayı unuttum gitti.
Geçenlerde bilgisayardaki İstanbul albümlerini incelerken bu fotoğraf sanki albümden fırladı ve bana adeta “ ben buradayım” diyordu. Sahi neresiydi burası, bu hangin kilise idi, çan kulelerinin metruk bir görüntüsü vardı, acaba hala faal miydi ? Fotoğrafı dikkatle inceledim. Cadde üstünde bir dükkanın ilan tabelası vardı: Platin Bilardo ve dükkanın kapı nosu ve telefon no su. Google dan dükkanın adresini kolayca buldum. Irmak sokak no: 50, Dolapdere. Eski kilise bu dükkanın olduğu caddeyi kesen sokağın başında olduğundan onu da “Dolapderedeki kilise” diye Google dan aradım. Aradığım bilgiye de kolayca ulaştım : Panayia Evangelistria Rum Ortodox Kilisesi, Hacı İlbey sokaği no: 4. Kilisenin gerçekten heybetli ama yorgun bir görünümü vardı, cephesinde iki çan kulesi ve arkaya doğru uzanan dikdörtgen bir yapının üzerinde tuğladan biri büyük, ikisi küçük Bizans kiliselerine özgü kubbeler ve onların üzerlerinde haçlar.
İstanbul’dan daha yeni gelmiştim, keşke dedim, " bu kilseyi gidip görseymişim." Sonra her zamanki gibi aklıma Selçuk geldi, İstanbulite daki baş yardımcım. Ona bir mail attım, gidip görmesi , fotoğraf çekmesi ve kilise açıksa bilgi alması için. Selçuk her zamanki gibi ertesi gün gitmiş kiliseyi bulmuş ve dışarıdan fotoğraflarını çekmiş. Kilise halen faal miş ama yalnız Pazar günleri halka açık olduğundan Pazar günü gidip içerisinin de fotoğraflarını çekeceğim diyordu.
History of the Church
Pic from the side on Irmak Caddesi
Pic from the back of the church
Pic from the front entrance
Photos by Selçuk Erarslan
Dolapdere neighborhood where the church is located north of Tatavla district in Beyoglu on the hills of Bosphorus is on the European side of Istanbul. During the nineteenth century Tatavla was mainly populated by the Greek minority of Istanbul. A new district was developed here on the lower slopes of Tatavla called Evangelistria and a small timber church was built here by Orthdox Rum* residents. In 1894 the old timber church was replaced by the now existing Evangelistria Greek Orthodox Church on the same location of the Dolapdere valley. İt's architect was Petraki D. Meimaridis, a resident of Tatavla. It took 16 years to build the church between the years 1877 and 1893 .The church which held its fırst sermon on November 27, 1894 was named after the Evangelismos Feast, which cemebrates the news about Mary's pregnancy. When the first timber church was built here on the valley of green gardens, a stream was flowing into the waters of Kasimpasa to the shore of the Golden Horn. At the beginning of the 20 th century the top of the Kasimpasa river was closed up and an avenue was built on the river's filled path called Dolap Dere ( Stream in Cabinet). The old valley from Tatavla to Dolapdere was populated during this time with wooden two or three story row houses and the Evangelistria Church was sticking out among these homes like a huge monument. The church also housed an Ayazma, a spring of holy water. A big fire in 1920 desroyed most of the timber houses in the Tatavla valley and a mix of different building structures started emerging as well as new roads were constucted like the above mentioned Dolapdere Avenue.
*Rum: The word Rum is a derivation from Rome, and used by Turks for their citizens of Greek origin.
Architecture of Evangelistria
Left bell tower and the clock tower
Front Entrance from Marmara marbles
Right bell tower
Photos by Selçuk Erarslan
The Dolapdere Evangelistria Church built from two different colors of ashlar stone, has two symetric baldachin style bell towers at the front with a lower clock tower in between them. The rectangular building extending in the north-east, south west direction in the form of a Greek cross is supported by a typical Byzantine style brick dome with two smaller domes on both sides. Overall the church displays traces of a Neo Gothic and Neo Byzantine style architectural design and features. The building has three iron doors in the facade, nestled in a marble mantel with carved saint icons on top. To the left of the front there is a small building attached to the church with a dome and a brown door decorated with golden crosses, which houses an Ayazma (holy water) dedicated to Panayia Theodokos. The church grounds is surrounded on all four sides by high walls and wire fences, has a security booth and is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, while the Ayazma is open only on Mondays. According to the security people working at the church, the congregation of the church consists of only a dozen people, who usually come here on Sundays to pray and to light a candle. The church building is in desperate need of renovation because of decay caused by the ware and tare of the long years of neglect. There has been a very detailed research and proposal done for the conservation of the Dolopdere Greek Orthdox Church and submitted to the authorities by architect Esin Şebin Aşık and Professor Zeynep Ahunbay of the Istanbul Technical University. We hope that just like the the renovation projects of major mosques in Istanbul and the the renovation of the Bulgarian Church in Balat in recent years, the necessary funds will be available for the Evangelistria Greek Orthodox Church of Dolapdere and this monumental building will be revived, for this will set an example and be an important step stone in the protection of other cultural and historical assets of the area.
February 10, 2020
Photos by Selçuk Erarslan
Ayazma/ Holy Water Spring
The Ayazma building attached to the Evangelistria church in the form of a small chapel is like a church within a church. The Ayazma was renovated in 2006 and is open to the public visits on Mondays and every year on September 14 for the feast of the “life giving Cross”. The feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross of Jesus by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantin.This is a holy day of fasting and repentance. On this day the Greek Orthodox faithful make dedication to Jesus Christ and pledge their faithfulness to him by making prostrations at his feet on the life creating Cross. For the feast, the Cross is placed on a tray surrounded by flowers or branches of basil, and placed in the center of the Church for veneration. The chapel also holds a sermon every year on March 24 to celebrate the dedication of the name of the Ayazma to Panagia Theodokos. This is a typical icon where Mary faces the viewer directly in full length with her hands in the orans position, and with a medallion showing the image of Christ as a child in front of her chest .
To see a photo album, click on the picture
A video of the Evangelestria Church by Istanbullite
-ESİN ŞEBİN AŞIK, ZEYNEP AHUNBAY*
Dolapdere Evangelistria Rum Ortodoks Kilisesi’nin Korunmasına Yönelik Çalışmalar