Pammakaristos Church (Fethiye Museum)

Pammakaristos Church - Fethiye Museum

Located in Çarşamba/Fatih district in Istanbul, Fethiye Museum (Pammakaristos Church) is one of the most beautiful examples of the brick structures built in Byzantine times. The building consists of two adjacent structures. The church –now being used as a mosque- was built in the 11th. C. by John Komnenos & his wife Anna Doukaina and had been the burial place of Alexius I Komnenos & his daughter Anna.

The chapel / parekklesion part which was built in the 13th c. by the wife of Michael Glabas has been on display as Pammakaristos Church (Fethiye Museum).

After the conquest of Constantinople, the church was under the domicile of the Orthodox Patriarchate and became women’s monastery. It is said that Mehmet II would visit the church at times and it wasn’t converted into a mosque until Murad III who made it a mosque in honor of the conquest of Azerbaijan & Georgia in the 16 th. century.

The building was renovated between 1936 and 1938 and the mosque section was opened to prayer in 1960 after a domed area, a minaret, an altar and a madrasa were added. The parekklesion (museum) section was restored by the American Byzantine Institute.

Pammakaristos Church which was dedicated to the Blessed Mother of God was called Pammakaristos. However the parekklesion section was dedicated to Christ. As a contemporary of Chora Church, the mosaics date back to the 14th c.

In the main dome, Christ the Pantocrator and twelve prophets around him are depicted.

In the apse, there is a Deesis scene with the busts of four archangels in the vault above. The scene is unique for the inscription of ‘’the Most Benevolent’’ around Christ. On both sides of the apse are thirteen portraits of bishops of which six are missing. In the south-west section of the naos are the figures of six monk saints.

On the lintel of the south & west walls, there is an inscription that the wife of M. Glabas had inscribed. In the vault of the bema the Archangels Michael, Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel are represented. There is also a mark of a big red cross on the wall.

Baptism Scene in Fethiye Museum (Pammakaristos Church)

The naked Christ is placed into the Jordan river. St. John the Baptist is at the right of him and is dressed in a mantle. At the left of him are four angels. At the right  is a man pouring out water and at the left is a young figure inside a shell. Fish are inside the water of the river.

The Three Wise Men

The three men wear dresses with red,yellow, blue, green and black colors. They are represented walking towards the altar with their gifts.

About the author


Hagia Sophia Research Team (HSRT) consists of a group of people who likes to research Byzantine Heritage in Turkey by visiting and taking photos of the historical places.

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