Between the stays in Lebanon and Iraq, the General Promoter of the Rosary planned a brief 48 hour halt in Istanbul in Turkey.
This choice was motivated by several reasons.
Firstly, the practical aspect of things: it was actually much easier – and cheaper! – to get to Iraqi Kurdistan from Turkey.
Then there was the need to take a breather, at the end of a beautiful and long expedition… and where better than in a marvellous city!
And finally this stopover was the opportunity for a fraternal visit. There is in fact a small community of Italian brothers in the Galata neighbourhood, close to the eponymous tower, which, in its time, was called Tower of Christ.
Priory of the Dominican brothers – Galata neighbourhood
This brief stay was the chance to discover the Hagia Sophia Basilica, a real architectural jewel which houses magnificent mosaics, providentially preserved.
It is not without emotion that one crosses the threshold of a building whose walls are charged with over a thousand years of Christian history!
Hagia Sophia Basilica
Following the brothers’ advice, I also visited a lesser known church, that of St. Saviour in Chora. The brothers had praised it as the loveliest church of the Orient. That is a claim I would not refute given the marvellous mosaics and frescoes preserved in this building.
You find represented not only numerous evangelical scenes but also multiple episodes from the apocryphal writings, especially those concerning the life of the Virgin Mary.
In this place, the beauty of the representations carries us inevitably towards contemplation and prayer!
The Christ at the entrance to the St Saviour in Chora church
Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP
General Promoter of the Rosary