Thursday, July 23, 2015

St Anthony Roman Catholic Church, Istanbul

St. Anthony Church, also known as St Anthony of Padua, may be the most famous Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul, especially due to its prominent location near the centre of Istiklal Caddesi.  Established in 1724, the original church was unfortunately demolished in the beginning of the twentieth century to make way for the construction of a new tramway.  However, renowned architects Giulio Mongeri and Edoardo de Nani came together to design the current building, and in 1912 the church was re-opened for worship.

Constructed in the form of a Latin cross, St. Anthony reflects neo-gothic and Tuscan-Lombard styles; the crypt, situated below the main sanctuary, is of Romanesque origin.  The church is filled with various works of art, including a gilded wooden statue of St. Anthony by Luigi Bresciani, and two mosaics that depict the Baptism of the Lord and the Supper at Emmaus.

St. Anthony of Padua is perhaps the most celebrated disciple of St. Francis of Assisi.  Born in Lisbon in 1195, he was renowned as a famous preacher and worker of miracles while alive.  He is generally pictured with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, who appeared to him in a vision. Outside the church one finds the statue of Pope John XXIII, entitled ‘To Pope John XXIII, Friend of the Turkish People.’

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