Today was a day I will never forget here in Istanbul. Our day began by visiting several churches and mosques. One particular church called the Chora Church of the Holy Saviour in Turkey is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine church. The church is situated in Istanbul, in the Edirnekapı neighborhood, which lies in the western part of the municipality (belediye) of Fatih. In the 16th century, the church was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman rulers, and it became a secularised museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes. The mosaics in this church were exquisite! Many of these mosaics are depicting the life of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Afterwards our next stop was truly a surprise.

At 11 a.m. Here in Turkey we had a special appointment on our tour. The appointment we had was to meet the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul at the St. George Church. His All Holiness, BARTHOLOMEW, is the 270th successor of the 2,000 year-old local Christian Church founded by St. Andrew the Apostle. As a citizen of Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s personal experience provides him a unique perspective on the continuing dialogue among the Christian, Islamic and Jewish worlds. What an amazing meeting we had with him. We were each greeted personally by the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. What an experience that was to meet with a person of high stature in the Greek Orthodox Church. He spent almost half an hour speaking with all of us. Just the day before he had met with the Prime Minister of Australia. Aydin our tour guide had worked six months in planning this very special meeting.

Our next venture was to visit a mosque during their Friday prayer time.  Outside visitors are not allowed to enter the mosque during their prayer time.  Again Aydin our tour guide had made very, very special arrangements for us to view the Muslim religion in practice on this Friday of prayer.  We were escorted very rapidly up very narrow stairs and led up to a second level area where no one could see us.  We had to be very discreet and respectful and not visible during their prayer time.  We were asked to sit on the floor so that we could watch and listen quietly.  It was amazing to personally see how the Muslim religion is practiced.

This day was a day to remember!  The two experiences we had were extremely “special” and our group was very fortunate to have been able to experience the two religions in one day.  Our last days here in Istanbul will be very busy.  Fortunately the weather now has been beautiful!  Father Tom has already planned several things for us to do.  I will keep you posted.  I miss all of you!

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About mrsreyesinturkey

Follow my blog as I travel through Turkey!

16 responses »

  1. Sr. Stacy says:

    What an incredible experience. Enjoy your last few days.

  2. The Madigans says:

    What a once in a lifetime experience. I have no doubt who won’t soon forget it.

    • Alexis Marie Silva (nativity,5th) says:

      It sounds like you are having an amazing time, and to see the Archbishop of Constantinople, how exciting!!!!! It must be beautiful with all the sites to see. Your tour guide must be very kind to make those arrangements for your group and to learn about the Muslim religion, that’s incredible, must have been a long day. Hope you have more great adventures.

  3. Theodore Duong says:

    Did you like it when practice the Muslim culture? I wish I was there. I wish you well!!!!!!!!! :)

  4. TRISHY DUONG says:

    Mrs.Reyes
    I hope you liked it. God bless you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

  5. Theodore Duong says:

    Did you really liked it when you practice the Muslim culture? I wish I was there. I wish you well!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  6. It must have been a wonderful experience meeting that man.We miss but hope you are learning a lot to tell us about.

  7. Joseph pham says:

    You are lucky to go to turkey and see the different places there and also telling us about it and i bet you won’t forget it!

  8. NIcholas Ibarra says:

    How was it like meeting the archbishop of Constantinople? Did you ask how their parish was,I mean who was the head priest? One more thing I would like to ask where’s the next place your visiting? That’s all.

  9. NIcholas Ibarra says:

    One more thing I would like to ask is did you have fun at all the places you visited so far? all the pictures I saw were inspiring but when I saw the shadow of the balloon weren’t you scared? I mean I think I would be terrified! Seeing the balloon as the backround of your blog, the balloon is huge how many people were in the basket with you?

  10. Trizia Castillo says:

    You are so lucky to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Mrs.Reyes! St. Stacy told us that a lot of people can’t meet him but you and Mrs. La Dou got to meet him. Always remember that everyone is praying for the two of you and we miss you two so much!
    ~Trizia

  11. Sr. Stacy says:

    I am glad you were able to meet the archbishop of Constantinople and to know that he took the time to Speek to you,and view the Muslim religion.
    I hope you have a good trip.

  12. Lorenzo says:

    Hi tia jenny i hope you have a wonderful time i can’t believe it a 2000year old local christian church i just can not believe it! I hope you have a wonderful time in turkey!:)

  13. Fourth grade class says:

    Mrs Reyes we read about your experience in class today. The fourth graders were truly amazed to hear how you got to meet the Archbishop. They are eager to hear all about it when you return. They miss you very much. We pray for your safe return.

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