Thursday, August 10, 2017


Edirnekapı, Fatih - Istanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°01'51.7"N 28°56'20.5"E / 41.031026, 28.939025



Dormition of the Virgin (koimesis)
In the scene of Dormition of the Virgin (koimesis) above the western entrance of the Naos, the Virgin lies on a sarcophagus covered with clothes and is surrounded by a crowd consisting of apostles, prominent church members and women from Jerusalem. Christ is in a mandorla, his hands are covered as an expression of respect, and he holds an infant representing the soul of the Virgin.

The Christ in the mandorla (area of light) is surrounded by angels, and outside of the mandorla, on top of it, the six-winged angel Seraph is pulling the mandorla upwards with open wings and thus providing movement to the scene. In the background, next to the architectural structure are probably two angels who are waiting to take the soul of the Virgin on the lap of Christ and bring it to the Heaven.

Near the head of the Virgin, Peter is swinging the incense burner he is holding, and Paul, who is close the feet of the Virgin, is bending towards her and he is looking sadly. The inscription above the scene reads, “Death of Mother of God”.

Virgin Hodegetria (She who shows the Way)
This scene, which is in a marble frame on the southern templon panel of the bema, is called the Virgin Hodegetria (She who shows the Way) and it depicts Virgin Mary holding the Child Christ. Virgin Mary is standing on a terrace, her head is slightly tilted to Child Christ on her arms, and she is looking thoughtful.

Above the scene is a marble panel decorated with acanthus, at the center of it is a damaged relief of Christ Pantocrator, and at the upper corners are two reliefs of winged angels with damaged faces. The icon identical with this scene was attributed to Saint Luke, it was supposed to be the patron of Constantinople, it was assumed to be painted by looking at Virgin Mary herself, and it was carried along the city walls during war times to protect the city.

Jesus Christ
On the northern templon panel is a frontal depiction of Jesus Christ who is standing and holding an open Bible in his left hand. The text on the Bible reads, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28). Most of the tiles of this mosaic panel have been lost. The reliefs of angel figures and rosettes on the surfaces of marble brackets placed at the two lower corners of the panel have seriously deteriorated.


Christ Pantocrator
The first mosaic confronting visitors at the entrance is located in the lunette over the door of the inner narthex. In this depiction, the left hand of Christ is holding the Holy Scripture, and his right hand is giving a sign of blessing. This scene is depicting the supremacy and divinity of Christ, who appears as the “Lord of the Universe”. The inscription on either side of Christ’s head read “Jesus Christ, Dwelling-Place of the Living” and “Chora”.

This inscription unites a feature of Christ stated in the Bible and the name of the church. The artist, who worked on this scene with a fine style, even detailed the red color on the face of Christ, located the right ear higher, and thus added human values to the depiction. Whereas chosen persons are depicted only with a halo around their heads, there is always a cross in the halos of Jesus Christ.

Virgin Mary And Angels Praying
On the arch above the main entrance, Virgin Mary is depicted as the Virgin Blachernitissa. The Virgin at the center is praying with her hands raised (orans). The first example of this gesture of the Virgin belongs to an icon seen in the Palace of Blachernae.

Inside the medallion on the breast of the Virgin Mary, Child Christ is depicted. That symbolizes that the bosom of the Virgin Mary is larger than the universe. There are two angel depictions masterfully placed on the edges of the vault. The inscription around the Virgin Mary in the mosaic depiction reads, “Mother of God, Dwelling-Place of the Uncontainable” and “Chora”.

Dedication Mosaic Of The Founder
Above the external side of the entrance door of the main room is a scene where Theodore Metochites, who had completed the construction of the church and decorated its interior with mosaics and frescoes, is presenting the model of the church to the Enthroned Christ who is sitting. The inscription behind Theodore Metochites, the supervisor of the Public Treasury who has an interesting outlook with his robes of office kabbadion and skiadion and turban-shaped headwear, reads, “Theodore Metochites, founder, treasury officer”. On the other hand, the inscriptions on both sides of Christ read, “Jesus Christ, land of the living”.

Mosaic Depiction Of Saint Peter The Apostle
On the panel located to the left side of the doorway to the naos, Saint Peter, one of the first disciples of Christ, is depicted while holding a scroll in his left hand and the keys of the heaven in its other hand. His name is inscribed on both sides of his head.

Mosaic Depiction Of Saint Paul The Apostle
On the panel located to the right side of the doorway to the naos, the standing Saint Paul the Apostle from Tarsus is depicted in frontal view. He is holding the Holy Scripture in his left hand and giving the sign of blessing with the other one. His name is inscribed on both sides of his head. He came to Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero and beheaded because of his testimony for Jesus Christ.

Christ Chalkites And Virgin Mary Panel
The mosaic in the east lunette wall at the southern wing of the inner narthex depicts Chora’s scene of Deesis. Here, Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is depicted while standing on the right side of Jesus Christ and sadly praying for the redemption of people’s sins. This scene owes its name to its resembling the scene on the “Chalke Gate”, the bronze gate that was the main entrance to the Great Palace. Princess Isaac Komnenos next to the skirt of the Virgin Mary and Princes Maria Palaiologina wearing nun’s robes on the right side are depicted while praying on bended knees.

Probably, this mosaic panel should belong to persons who served the church and funded its renovation in the 12th and 14th centuries. Maria, the daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, was sent to Karakorum in 1265 as a spouse for the Mongol ruler Hulagu Khan, but Hulagu Khan died before her arrival in Karakorum, and she was married to his son, Abaqa Khan. Because of this marriage, she is called Maria of the Mongols. After becoming a nun, she took the monastic name Melania.

Since Princess Maria became a bride of the Mongols and Isaac Komnenos had his burial place prepared in Kosmosoteria, Thrace, neither of them could be buried in the Chora.


Ancestors Of Christ
On the dome over the southern section of the inner narthex is a depiction of Christ Pantocrator inside a medallion. Between the ribs of the dome are two rows of figures belonging to the ancestors of Christ. The upper row consists of the depictions of 24 ancestors starting with Adam and including Seth, Noah, Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, Lamech, Shem, Eber, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peleg, Reu, Methuselah, Enoch, Enos and Abel. The lower row consists of the figures of Jacob’s 12 sons, Judah’s 2 sons, and Pharez’s 1 son.

Ancestors Of Virgin Mary
On the surface of the dome over the northern section of the inner narthex is a depiction of Virgin Mary and Child Christ inside a medallion. The monograms on both sides of Virgin Mary’s head mean “Mother of God”. The medallion at the central part is surrounded by 16 sections. These sections contain two rows of depictions of sixteen kings of Judah who are the descendants of King David, ancestor of the Virgin Mary. The 16 king-prophets in the upper row are David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jeconiah and Shealtiel.

The lower raw contain the figures of Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, Daniel, Joshua, Moses, Aaron, Hur, Samuel, Job and Melchizedek.

Mosaics Depicting The Life Of Virgin Mary
Rejection of Joachim’s Offerings:In the northwest pendentive of the northern dome, Zechariah, who is sitting on a four-columned throne, is rejecting the offerings of Joachim, who has no children, by raising his two hands. This family, which wants to have a child, is continuously praying, and they have pledged themselves to give their child, if they are given one, to the temple to be raised as a religious person.

Withdrawal of Joachim to the Mountains Because of Childlessness:In the northeast pendentive of the northern dome is the scene of Joachim’s withdrawal to the mountains. The rejection of his offerings to the temple has broken the heart of Joachim, and he prayed forty days and forty nights in the mountains. Gabriel the Archangel appeared to him and declared that his prayers were answered. Although they were old, God was to give them a daughter.

Here, Joachim is depicted as a thoughtful and sad person in the bushes. There are two shepherd figures above right. The inscription on the upper part of the scene reads, “Joachim is praying with the shepherds on the mountain”.

The Annunciation of Mary’s Birth to Anne (Annunciation Scene):In the first arch on the eastern wall of the northern section, an angel (Gabriel) is announcing to Anne that she will bear a child. Anne is looking at the angel before here while praying with two open hands in front of a spectacular house, and the servant sitting in the niche of the house behind Anne is looking at Anne, and witnessing the event. On the right side is a pool in front of trees depicted. The inscription on the upper section of the scene reads, “Saint Anne is praying in the garden”.

Meeting of Joachim and Anne:Below the arch in the northern section, Anne and Joachim’s embracing each other and happiness upon Anne’s informing Joachim about the annunciation of her going to bear a child is depicted. The inscription on the upper section of the depiction reads, “Becoming pregnant to Theotokos (Mother of God)”.

Birth of the Virgin Mary:In the scene located east of the second arch in the northern section, Anna, who has given birth, is on a bed and she is surrounded by many servants. While preparations for the first bath of Mary are made, the newborn Mary is depicted in the arms of a woman. A little servant below left is preparing the cradle of Mary, another is cooling Anna using a fan, and persons close to her are putting their gifts on the table. Joachim is watching these happenings at the door. The inscription on the upper section of the depiction reads, “Birth of Theotokos (Mother of God)”.


Mosaics Depicting The Life Of Jesus Christ
Joseph’s Dream and Journey to Bethlehem:Three different scenes are depicted in the lunette on the north wall of the outer narthex. On the left side of the scene, Virgin Mary is together with Elizabeth. Mary says, “you are the dear subject of God, and the baby in your womb has been blessed” (John the Baptist was going to be born). On the lower left corner of the scene, Joseph has thoughtfully fallen asleep after recognizing that Virgin Mary was pregnant.

An angel approaching Joseph says that he should not leave her, that Virgin Mary was made pregnant by the Holy Spirit, that she was going to give birth to a son who would save people from their sins, and that he was going give him the name Jesus. Here, the monograms above the head of Virgin Mary mean “Mother of God”.

In the depiction on the right side, Joseph is seen in the back in a mountainous area, Virgin Mary is seen on top of a mule in the middle, and the son of Joseph is in the front. The background includes the depiction of the city. The inscription on the upper part of the scene reads “and Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David”, and the one on the lower part reads, “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his dream, and said, Joseph, you the son of David, do not be afraid of accepting Mary as a spouse, for the one who has been born by her is the Holy Spirit”.

Enrollment for Taxation before the Governor:In the depiction on the east lunette of the northern section, the census conducted upon the order of Emperor Augustus for collecting taxes in all Roman provinces. Since everyone had to register in the city where he/she was born, Joseph, a descendant of David, and his family went to Bethlehem for the census. Quirinius, the governor of Syria and Palestine is sitting on the throne, and there is a military guard next to him. In front of the governor, a Roman soldier who is in charge during the query and holding a sword, and a scribe who is recording, are enrolling the pregnant Virgin Mary.

When the father of the child was asked, Virgin Mary remained silent, but Joseph behind her answered immediately and accepted him as a son by declaring himself his father. Behind him, his three sons are seen. The inscription reads, “... because he belonged to the house and line of David... he went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child”. The monogram above the head of Virgin Mary means “Mother of God”.

Birth of Christ:On the eastern arch in the central section is the scene of the birth of Christ. During their return from Bethlehem, where they had been for the census, since there was no room for them in the inn and since Mary was suffering childbirth pains, she was obliged to give birth to her baby in a cave. In the scene, Virgin Mary is resting on a blanket in lying position, and the child Christ wrapped in clothes is warmed by a donkey and a bull that breathe upon him, under light beam coming from the sky. There is a group of angels behind Virgin Mary on the right side, and a messenger angel, who is addressing shepherds, on the left side.

In the scene on the lower part of the mosaic panel about preparations for the bath of the child Jesus, a woman is preparing the first bath water of Jesus, while another woman is holding Jesus in her arms. Joseph, who is sitting next to them, seems to be astonished. The inscriptions read, “Birth of Christ” and “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people”.

Three Astrologers from the East before King Herod:There is a two-part depiction on the first eastern lunette of the south wing of the outer narthex. On the left side, the three Magi (Balthasar, Caspar, Melchior) on horseback who follow the star of Bethlehem come to Jerusalem and say, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage”. These words are heard by King Herod and he asks chief priests and scribes for information about this issue. When he learns that the newborn is in Bethlehem, he calls the three Magi, says that he would pay him homage and asks them to find the prophet.

The three Magi find the newborn Jesus, and become the first ones who pay him homage. Since they recognize the bad intention of King Herod, they return to their homes without informing him about the location of Jesus. King Herod realizes that he had been outwitted, and he gives orders to his soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem who are two years old and under. In the scene, King Herod, who is sitting on a throne before an architectural structure, is holding a staff in one of his hands and extending his other hand towards the Magi.

There is a guard behind the king, and three Magi standing before him. The astrologer on the left side with a long beard is holding a chest, which contains a gift to be presented to Jesus Christ.  The chest contains moral symbols that are going to be presented to a god for the first time, namely myrrh, incense and gold. The inscription on the scene reads, “Magi from the east came and asked, where is the one who has been born king of the Jews”.

Return of Three Astrologer Kings to their Countries:In the scene between the two arches in the east leading from the outer narthex to the parecclesion the return of the astrologer kings to their country after presenting their gifts is depicted. This scene is only partially preserved, showing a rider on a rearing horse.

Inquiry of Herod:The depiction on the second east lunette of the southern wing of the outer narthex is partially destroyed. Here, only the depictions of King Herod and the guard behind him are seen. King Herod, who was informed by the three Magi about the birth of the new king, learns from his chief priests and scribes that this event was to occur in Bethlehem. Behind him, a guard is waiting. The inscription on the scene reads, “When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born”.

Flight into Egypt:The mosaics in the inner part of the outer narthex extending towards the parecclesion have not completely survived. On the lunette on the south wall of this section, Joseph, who saw in his dream that Herod was going to harm Christ, takes the holy family to Egypt. The inscription here reads, “Flight into Egypt”.

Ordering of the Massacre:In the scene on the south lunette in the southern wing of the outer narthex, since the Magi from the east returned to their country after finding the baby Christ and presenting him their gifts, King Herod orders the killing of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under. On the left side is King Herod who is sitting on a throne, two guards behind him, and three soldiers before him, and on the right side, children are killed by the soldiers.

One of the mothers is not able to look at her child who was disemboweled, and another one is trying to hide her child. The inscription on the mosaic scene reads, “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under”.

Mothers Mourning:In the mosaic depiction, which has not completely survived, on the west arch of the second section of the southern wing of the outer narthex, mothers whose children were killed mourn together their dead children. The inscription reads, “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning”.

Flight of Elizabeth and John from the Massacre:In the scene on the west arch of the first section of the southern wing of the outer narthex, Saint Elizabeth takes shelter in a cave in a mountain together with her son John the Baptist, and a soldier on the left side is pursuing them with a drawn sword. Elizabeth and her son miraculously escaped the massacre, thanks to a rock closing the entrance to the cave. The inscription on the mosaic scene reads, “Flight of Elizabeth”.

Return of the Holy Family from Egypt to Nazareth:In the scene on the arches above the windows on the western walls of the outer narthex, the Holy Family, which had went to Egypt fleeing from the massacre of King Herod, returns to Nazareth. On the left side, an angel approaching the sleeping John says that King Herod had died, his son Archelaus had replaced him, and they could return. In the other scene, John is carrying Child Christ on his shoulders in the front, Virgin Mary is behind them, and the son of John pulling a loaded donkey is behind her.

The city of Nazareth is seen on the far right of the scene. The inscription reads, “Having been warned by God in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth”. The monogram above the head of Virgin Mary reads “Mother of God”, and the one above the head of Christ reads “Jesus Christ”.

Christ taken to Jerusalem for the Passover:In the scene on the last arch on the western wall of the outer narthex, the holy family is every year traditionally going to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover in order to fulfill their religious duties. In this scene, Jesus was twelve years old and when the family recognized during their return from Jerusalem that he was missing, John and Virgin Mary returns to Jerusalem and look for him for three days.

They find him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. In the scene, Virgin Mary is at the back, the two sons of John and Christ in front of her, and John in the forefront. The city of Jerusalem is depicted on the right side of John.

This scene is interesting as the last scene in the Chora where the young Christ is without a beard. The inscription on the scene reads, “And every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover”.

Inside the medallions on the arch, some saints such as Anempodistus, Elpidephoros, Aphthonios, Akindynos and Pegasios are depicted. Since these mosaic panels were made by different artists, some of them are not of great artistic value. The monogram seen above the head of Virgin Mary means “Mother of God” and the one above Christ’s head means “Jesus Christ”.

Mosaics Depicting the Youth of Christ:Most of the mosaics on the east vault of the northern wing of the outer narthex have not survived. As understood from the existing remains, scenes depicting Jesus’ childhood and youth should have been here. In the surviving depiction, the young Jesus is at the temple, among the doctors.

John the Baptist- Christ and Devil:On the middle section of the first vault in the north is a decorative medallion. The scenes are surrounding the medallion. The baptism of Jesus is depicted on the northern part of the vault. At the shore of the Jordan River, John the Baptist is introducing Jesus standing before him to the crowd behind himself. Here, there are two apostles next to Jesus. John the Baptist, who was born shortly before Jesus, is calling people to turn back to God and to be baptized in the Jordan River so that their sins would be forgiven.

When asked, “are you the Messiah”, John replied, “I am not the Messiah, but I have been charged before him (Jesus). I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. Jesus accepts the invitation and comes to the Jordan River. Despite the insistence of John who wanted to be baptized by Jesus, Jesus himself becomes baptized. At this moment, the Holy Spirit comes down from the heaven in the form of a dove and settles on the head of Jesus.

At this moment, a voice from the heaven is heard: “This is the beloved son of God...” With this event, Jesus was for the first time introduced to the people as a Messiah. The killing of the snake by the bird in the river symbolizes humans’ purification from sin. The inscription on the scene reads, “This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born”, and the monograms read, “Saint John, harbinger” and “Jesus Christ”.

After his baptism, devil tries to tempt Jesus. After fasting forty days and forty nights, Jesus confronts the efforts of devil aimed at tempting him. In this scene, devil is depicted as a black and ugly creature with wings. Inscriptions on the figures narrate the events.

In the first scene, devil extends a stone towards Jesus who feels hungry, and says, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread”. Jesus answers: “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word of God.” The inscription above reads, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread”, and the one below reads, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word of God”.

In the second scene here, devil wants Jesus to worship him, and he leads him to the roof of the temple and orders him to throw himself. Jesus refuses devil again, by saying that the angels to be sent by God would safely bring him down. Here, the lower inscription reads, “then devil lead him to the holy city”, the one below reads, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here” and the one above reads, “Get away, Satan”.

In the third scene, devil takes Jesus to the highest hill to show him all the kingdoms of the world, and says, “if you worship me, it will all be yours”. Jesus again refuses devil, answers, “Get away, Satan! The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve” and passes this examination of devil as well successfully. The inscriptions here read, “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me” and “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test”. In those scenes, monograms of “Jesus Christ” are seen next to the aureola of Jesus.

Mosaics Depicting The Miracles Of Christ
Miracles at the Wedding in Cana:The mosaic depiction in the middle of the vault above the main entrance has not completely survived. Only a part of the banquet at the wedding is visible. In the other preserved mosaics, the first miracles of Jesus are depicted. The sacrifice of a bull and the filling of water into the jars are seen in those in the north, and the empty and filled baskets of bread are seen in those in the south.

Augmentation of Wine:In this scene about the transformation of water into wine, the first miracle of Jesus before people, Jesus, his mother Virgin Mary and the apostles go to a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Mary hears that the host run out of wine, and say Jesus that they have no more wine. Jesus requests the servants at the wedding to fill the six water jars in the house with water, and then to pour his glass of wine into the jars filled with water. Then, he requests them to draw some of the water that had been transformed into wine and to take it to the governor who was present at the wedding.

When the governor drinks the glass full of wine, he says the bride and groom that this was the best wine at the wedding, and asks why they did save this wine, instead of offering it. He requests the servants to distribute everyone at the wedding this wine. After this miraculous event, everyone at the wedding believes in Jesus Christ. In the scene, one of the servants is pouring water into one of the jars, a servant on the right side is approaching with an amphora he is carrying on his shoulder, the governor is holding the wine glass, and there are Virgin Mary and two of the apostles next to Jesus.

Augmentation of Breads:In this scene on the southeast part of the vault where empty baskets of bread are seen, Jesus requests two persons to give the breads they brought to him. As he knows that other people have no food, he breaks these breads, gives them to those next to him, and requests everyone to do the same.

Augmentation of Breads: In the scene on the southeast pendentive of the vault, the filling of the twelve baskets of bread and the feeding of five thousand people is depicted.

Miracles of Jesus Christ, leper (Outer narthex):On the first vault where the whole scene is destroyed, Jesus is depicted walking on the water, and the foot of a leper is seen in the east part of the vault.

Paralytic at Capernaum (Outer narthex):Most of the mosaics on the first vault in the south have not survived. In this section, there is a decorative medallion in the middle, and south of it, Jesus’ healing a paralytic lying on a mat at Capernaum is depicted. When Jesus returned to Capernaum for the Sabbath, people heard that he was staying at Saint Peter the Apostle’s house, and they rushed into this place.

However, a paralytic who was unable to walk alone was brought by four persons on a mat carried by four men. In the scene, the four men are seen next to the head of the paralytic, and Saint Peter and others next to Jesus. The inscriptions on the scene reads, “Jesus in the pool of sheep is raising the paralytic with his words”, and, “Your sins are forgiven”. Next to this scene is a mosaic depiction that has not survived as a whole and the inscription on it reads, “Jesus heals the dropsical man”.

In the scene on the northeast pendentive of the same vault, Jesus sees the faith of a paralytic who is praying, and says that his sins were forgiven. However, as he feels that some priests were thinking that sins could only be forgiven by God, Jesus requests the paralytic to get up and to go to his own taking his mat. When the paralytic stood up and took his mat, everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.

Samaritan Woman (Outer narthex):On the northwest corner of the vault, Jesus and a Samaritan woman are seen at a well. (While Jesus was sitting next to a well alone, since the apostles had gone to buy food, a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water.) When Jesus asked for a drink, the woman said him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water”.

“Sir”, the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. When the woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us”, Jesus declared that he was the Messiah. The inscription on this scene reads, “Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman”.

Christ Healing a Blind and Dumb (Inner narthex):On the southeast pendentive of the dome, Saint Peter the Apostle is standing next to Jesus. Jesus is depicted healing the blind and dumb standing before him. The inscription here reads, “Christ healing a blind and dumb man”.

Christ Healing Two Blind Men (Inner narthex):On the northwest pendentive of the dome, Saint Peter the Apostle is standing next to Jesus. In the scene, Jesus is healing two blind men sitting under trees. The inscription reads, “Christ healing two blind men”.

Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Inner narthex):In the scene on the northeast pendentive of the dome, Jesus is healing Peter the Apostle’s mother-in-law, who is lying on a bed. Peter the Apostle is seen before Jesus, and the other apostles behind him. The inscription here reads, “Christ healing Peter’s mother-in-law”.

Woman with the Issue of Blood (Inner narthex):In the scene on the southeast pendentive of the dome, the woman who is bleeding for many years is healed when she touches Christ’s cloak. They are in an open field, and architectural structures and a group of believers are seen around them. The inscription reads, “Christ healing the woman with the issue of blood”.

Healing the Young Man with a Withered Arm (Inner narthex): In the depiction on the east side of the arch, a patient with a withered arm extends his arm toward Jesus and asks for healing. When Jesus enters into the synagogue, he saw a men whose right hand was withered, and he addressed the crowd in the synagogue. When Jesus asked the congregation whether it was permitted to do good or bad, to save or destroy life on the Sabbath, they all remained silent. Then, Jesus asked the man with a withered right hand to extend his arm, and healed him. The inscription on the scene reads, “Christ healing the patient with a withered arm”.

Healing a Leper (Inner narthex):The mosaic depiction on the west side of the arch is partially destroyed. Here, a leper is asking Jesus for healing. When the patient asked Jesus to heal him, Jesus healed the patient with leprosy by touching him. The leper stands in front of an architectural structure, he wears only a laincloth and a part of his body is uncovered, and the spots indicate that he is a leper. The upper parts of the body of Jesus and the bodies of the apostles behind him have not survived. The inscription on the scene reads, “Christ healing the leper”.

Christ Calling Zacchaeus:Zacchaeus, who had been earning money by taking bribes, climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Jesus better. Jesus, who noticed Zacchaeus despite the crowd called him and forgave his sins. On the other hand, Zacchaeus gave half of his possessions to the poor, and served the religion.

Christ Healing the Handicapped (Inner narthex):In the scene on the west lunette of the southern section of the inner narthex, Jesus is depicted on the left side with three apostles next to him, and there are a group of men, women and children, some of which are sitting, before Jesus. Here, Jesus is healing a large group. One of the inscriptions reads, “Christ healing a multitude”, whereas the rest of the inscription beginning with the expression “Christ healing...” cannot be read.

The second niche on the western wall, northern axis, is a tomb niche (A).Above the sarcophagus lid level is a fresco painting of persons buried here. There is a figure on the left side sitting on an armchair, and two figures standing in front of it. Probably, this tomb niche should belong to a noble family from the court buried here. The upper part of the fresco has been destroyed.

The first niche on the western wall, southern axis, is a tomb niche (B).Above the sarcophagus lid level are the partially preserved fresco paintings of persons buried here. The scene contains three figures depicted standing side by side. The figures are wearing long court costumes (kaftan) and the costumes of those on the right and left side are decorated with Palaiologan monograms. The one in the middle is thought to be a child. The upper part of the fresco has been destroyed.

The second niche on the western wall, southern axis, is a tomb niche (C).Above the sarcophagus lid level are the partially preserved fresco paintings of persons buried here. The lower part of the fresco has been preserved whereas the upper part of it has been destroyed. The scene contains three figures wearing court costumes depicted standing side by side. The dress of the figure in the middle is decorated with Palaiologan monograms. This tomb belongs to Irene Raoulaina Palaiologina, a member of the dynasty.

On the side walls of the tomb niche are full-length figures of a woman and a man in religious costumes on the right and left sides respectively. On the arch of the niche, in the middle, inside a mandorla, is a depiction of Blachernitissa. The medallion on the left side of this depiction contains the bust of Saint Cosmas of Maiuma, a writer of hymns (hymnographer), the medallion on the right side contains the bust of Saint John of Damascus, and the papers in their hands contain words about death.


The lunettes and window arches of the outer narthex contain depictions of saints inside round medallions. Additionally, there are depictions of full-length saints on the four main arches, and on the eastern section of the northern arch, the young saint Andronicus is depicted standing, wearing ceremonial clothes and holding a cross. This saint had been tortured during the reign of the Roman Empire Diocletian (284-305 AD), and he was canonized. The inscription here reads, “Andronicus of Cilicia”.

On the western part of the arch, Saint Tarachus, a middle-aged soldier who had come from Cilicia, is depicted standing, wearing ceremonial clothes and holding a cross. This saint as well had been tortured during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD), and he was canonized. The inscription here reads, “Tarachus of Cilicia”.

The figure on the east side of the second arch east of the entrance probably belongs to George of Cappadocia, and the one on the west side of it to an unidentified saint. Saint George was born in the late 3rd century, he was tortured during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD) when his Christianity was discovered, and he was executed.

The figure on the east side of the first arch south of the entrance probably belongs to Demetrius of Thessaloniki, and the one on the west side of it to an unidentified saint. The Roman Emperor Maximian (235-238) sentenced Demetrius, whom he saw among Christians when he came to Thessaloniki, to death. Thus, the saints on the arches are depicted looking at the faces of each other.

The saint figures on the east and west sides of the second arch south of the entrance could not be identified.

Hodegetriais depicted in the first northern panel among the panels on the east wall of the outer narthex, Anne with child Mary in her arms in the second panel, and Joachim is depicted in the first panel on the west wall. Probably John the Baptist is depicted in the first panel on the east wall in the south, and there is no figure in the second panel.


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