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Chora, the Byzantine jewel1

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The church of Chora is considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of later Byzantine art. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 21 (2020) issued a decree to open this Orthodox church that was previously a popular Istanbul museum to Muslim worship upon a court order.
The decision to transform the Kariye (Chora) Museum into a mosque came just a month after a similar conversion of the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized Hagia Sophia.

Chora, the Byzantine jewel1

  1. 1. Chora or Kariye Museum, formally the Church of the Holy Saviour located in today's Fatih district in Istanbul
  2. 2. Located in Istanbul, the building was constructed as a monastery in 534 during the Byzantine period. Around fifty years after the fall of the city to the Ottomans, Atık Ali Paşa, the Grand Vizier of Sultan Bayezid II, ordered the Chora Church to be converted into a mosque — Kariye Camii (1511). Due to the prohibition against iconic images in Islam, the mosaics and frescoes were covered behind a layer of plaster. This and frequent earthquakes in the region have taken their toll on the artwork. In 1948, Americans Thomas Whittemore and Paul Underwood, from the Byzantine Institute of America and the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, sponsored a restoration program. From that time on, the building ceased to be a functioning mosque. They cleaned, restored and preserved frescoes in Chora that had been plastered and whitewashed repeatedly to hide when the Byzantine-era church was used as a mosque during the Ottoman period. In 1958, it was opened to the public as a museum — Kariye Müzesi but in 2020 it is being converted to a mosque
  3. 3. Tradition has it that the church, the Katholikon of a monastic complex, was originally built during the early 5th century, outside the walls of Constantinople, and its full name was “The Church of the Holy Redeemer in the Fields,” It makes sense. When the city of Constantinople expanded at the time of Theodosius II (408-450), and formidable land walls were built by the Emperor, the monastery retained the name Chora (in the Fields), but became part of the defended city
  4. 4. Historical evidence tells us that it was Maria Dukaina, the mother-in-law of Alexius I Comnenus, who rebuilt the Chora Church and Monastery around 1077–1081 as a cross- domed church, a popular architectural style of the time. Early in the 12th century, yet another Comnenus, Isaac, the 3rd son of Emperor Alexius, stepped in, restoring the church after a disastrous earthquake
  5. 5. Two centuries later, around 1316-21, the powerful Byzantine statesman Theodore Metochites enlarged the church and embellished it with many fine mosaics and frescoes. Theodoros Metochitis political career was turbulent during the later years of his life: He was exiled by the usurper Emperor Andronicus III in 1328, but two years later, he was allowed to return to the city and live out the last two years of his life as a monk in his beloved Chora Chora or Kariye Museum, formally the Church of the Holy Saviour
  6. 6. The Chora Church is not as large as some of the other surviving Byzantine churches of Istanbul (it covers 742.5 m²) but it is unique among them, because of its almost completely still extant internal decoration. The building divides into four main areas: the entrance hall or narthex (the inner & outer narthexes), the main body of the church or naos, and the side chapel or parecclesion. The building has six domes: two in the esonarthex, one in the parecclesion and three in the naos
  7. 7. Theouternarthex
  8. 8. The church of Chora is considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of later Byzantine art President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 21 issued a decree to open an Orthodox church that was previously a popular Istanbul museum to Muslim worship upon a court order
  9. 9. The outer narthex Mosaic of Μary the Theotokos This mosaic depicts Mary with baby Christ in her womb
  10. 10. The outer narthex Pantocrator Jesus Christ
  11. 11. The outer narthex Pantocrator Jesus Christ
  12. 12. The outer narthex Pantocrator Jesus Christ
  13. 13. The mosaics in the outer narthex shows nativity, the miracles of Christ, the massacre of the innocents The Miracle at Cana
  14. 14. The Miracle at Cana The outer narthex - Preparation for the fest in Cana - slaughter of a bull
  15. 15. The outer narthex – The dream of Joseph - In his dream, an angel announces that Mary will bear a boy
  16. 16. The outer narthex – The dream of Joseph (details)
  17. 17. Theouternarthex–ThedreamofJoseph
  18. 18. The outer narthex – The dream of Joseph - Mary and Elizabeth is talking
  19. 19. The outer narthex After Joseph has waken up, he takes his family to Bethlehem where Christ will be born. Mary is depicted on a mule pulled by the son of Joseph and followed by Joseph
  20. 20. The outer narthex - The birth of Christ
  21. 21. The outer narthex - The birth of Christ
  22. 22. The outer narthex - The three Magi
  23. 23. The outer narthex The three Magi
  24. 24. Portraits on Tomb F in the Outer narthex of Chora
  25. 25. Inner narthex is a rectangular space of 4 meters wide and 18 meters long and runs parallel to outer Narthex. It consists of lunettes and vaults which are decorated with the lives of the Virgin and miracles of Christ as well as standing images of saints. Inner narthex hosts an oversized representation of the Deesis, decorating the eastern wall of the narthex depicts Christ and the Virgin with the former founders Isaac Komnenos and the nun Melanie kneeling at their feet
  26. 26. Inner narthex hosts two highly decorated domes. The southern dome with a diameter of 3.74m was constructed with 24-flutes, nine windows and on its summit is the depiction of Christ Pantocrator.
  27. 27. ChristPantocrator-TheSouthdomeoftheinnernarthex
  28. 28. Thirty-nine portraits of ancestors are placed in the flutes representing the genealogy of Christ Enos, Abel, Adam, Seth, Noah
  29. 29. Around dome of the Ancestors in the pendentives are some of the miracles of Christ starting with the healing a blind and a dumb man, the afflicted, the two blind men, to the Bleeding Woman
  30. 30. The miracles of Christ - Christ Healing a blind man
  31. 31. Pendentive of the dome of the Ancestors: the healing of Peter’s mother-in law
  32. 32. The oversized representation of the Deesis, decorating the eastern wall of the narthex depicts Christ and the Virgin with the former founders Isaac Komnenos and the nun Melanie kneeling at their feet
  33. 33. Isaac Komnenos
  34. 34. Mosaic depicting the Apostle Peter Mosaic depicting the Apostle Paul
  35. 35. Theodore Metochites presents his church to Christ
  36. 36. Chora, Istanbul, 14th century (note bookmatched marble cross above door)
  37. 37. The northern dome has a diameter of 3.40m and was constructed with two rows of flutes, five windows and is decorated with mosaics representing the ancestors of Mary with sixteen kings of the House of David. On its summit is the depiction of Virgin Mary and Christ Child
  38. 38. The 16 ancestors of Virgin Mary are depicted in double rows
  39. 39. Theotokos mosaic – The birth of Virgin
  40. 40. Theotokos mosaic – The birth of Virgin - fragment
  41. 41. Theotokosmosaic–ThebirthofVirgin-detail BabyMaryisreadyforabath
  42. 42. The barrel vaulting of the inner narthex
  43. 43. Inner narthex house most of the mosaic works that tell the life story of Mary and the miracles of Christ
  44. 44. Vaults which are decorated with the lives of the Virgin and miracles of Christ as well as standing images of saints The decision to transform the Kariye (Chora) Museum into a mosque came just a month after a similar conversion of the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized Hagia Sophia
  45. 45. Virgin caressed by her parentes mosaic
  46. 46. Virgin caressed by her parentes Mosaic detail
  47. 47. Kariye Museum Virgin Mary Blessed by the Priests Joachim comes up to the spiritual leaders, wearing a tunic with light colours. Three men of the clergy sit around a table awaiting him
  48. 48. Text and pictures: Internet All copyrights belong to their respective owners Presentation: Sanda Foişoreanu www.slideshare.net/michaelasanda https://ma-planete.com/michaelasanda Sound Greek Traditional Lamentation for the Fall of Constantinople - Nektaria Karantzi 2020

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