It was a beautiful sunny day in Istanbul!  Our day began with a visit to the Hagia Irene.  The Hagia Irene is one of few Byzantine-era cathedrals, which was never converted to a mosque (though not used for religious purposes either during the Ottoman period). This church is in the first court of Topkapi Palace. It is one of the earliest Christian churches in Istanbul. The building stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. It ranks, in fact, as the first church built in Constantinople. Roman emperor Constantine I commissioned the Hagia Irene Church in the 4th century.   Also located here is an Archaeological Museum.  The museum has a large collection of Turkish, Hellinistic Civilization, and Roman artifacts.

After visiting the museum we then went to a Catholic Church located in Istanbul.  The name of the church is Saint Anthony.  We celebrated mass there this afternoon.  The only priest there is a Franciscan Friar who is from Italy.  He has been at this church for almost two years.  It was very nice of him to allow Father Tom and Father John to celebrate mass for us on this day.

The church has beautiful stained glass windows.  Hanging above the altar there is a beautiful wood crucifix.  Also there are two mosaics depicting the Baptism of the Lord and the Last Supper.  On one side of the altar there is also a bronze bust of St. Maximillian Kolbe.  Near the front entrance of the church is a bronze statue of Pope John XXIII. Pope John XXIII preached in this church for 10 years, when he was the Vatican’s ambassador to Turkey before being elected as pope. He is known in Turkey with the nickname “The Turkish Pope” because of his fluent Turkish and his often expressed love for Turkey and the city of Istanbul.  This church serves a community of about 200 Catholics.  On Sunday’s Father recites mass in English, Italian, Polish, and Turkish languages.  I really loved that we had celebrated mass in this beautiful church today.  It was a very special mass for all of the pilgrims in our group.


About mrsreyesinturkey

Follow my blog as I travel through Turkey!

10 responses »

  1. Hey mrs.reyes this is David Recinos all of the third and fourth graders said hi.And that they all miss you and so did I.Hopefully you and Mrs.LaDou have a super great time as and all of us third and fourth graders enjoyed al of the photos and videos ok.And make sure you wake up fine.And is it ok if I call you sleepingbeauty.P.S.make sure you write back.

  2. Monica Hernandez :-) says:

    I love the church you went to 🙂 miss you 🙂

  3. Monica Hernandez :-) says:

    imiss you alot 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Fourth grade class says:

    Hello mrs Reyes..we are in class right now.. We just finished reading your blog in class. The kids really excited about your posts.. Anthony wants tobknow if youbstill have the ggod luck charms he made for you? The kids say they love you and miss you very much.

  5. Erika Ramirez says:

    I hope you/re having a great time in Turkey Mrs. Reyes. I bet visiting the church was amazing (: i Miss you alot ❤

  6. Mrs reyes I Can’t wait to see you especially my mom and my sister oh p.s I can’t wait to do Zumba again with you and it doesn’t feel the same without you.

  7. The church looked so beautiful and it looks very historical

  8. jackelyn says:

    I can’t wait for u to come bck nd for i can ask u alot of stuff !!!!! They celebrate mass for u that day at Saint Anthony church !!! 🙂

  9. Trizia Castillo says:

    hi mrs reyes! i miss you so much and i hope you enjoyed what you have experienced in Turkey that you have never experienced before. nativity hasn’t been the same ever since you and mrs la dou left. hope that you and mrs la dou enjoy your last few days in Turkey. see you soon.

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