Saint Antoine Catholic Church

Saint Antoine Catholic Church

Especially in this article we will examine the Saint Antoine  Church, where the inhabitants of Istanbul frequently catch their eye and sometimes even wonder. In fact, this church does not have a glorious entrance. Let’s take a brief look at the history of the church and let us examine its architectural features.

The building is located on Istiklal Street in Beyoglu, on the left side of the road from Galatasaray High School to Tunel. In the early 1230s, the monks built another church in the vicinity of Galata in the name of their founder, Saint Francis of Assisi. This building, an architectural masterpiece, was known as the Hagia Sophia of the Latins at that time. In the 1300s, the priests who were removed from their first churches in the Greek part joined their brothers in Saint Francis in Galata. In 1639 and 1660 fires twice in flames and re-established, 1696 fire that swallows all around the miraculously survived St. Francis Church, II. As a result of pressure from his mother by Mustafa turned into a mosque. The priests then moved to a small country house in Pera. In 1724 a new church was built and consecrated in the name of St. Antoine in Pera.


For the new tramway in 1904, the church of St. Antoine had to be demolished. For this, the priests sought an area on the same street where they could establish their churches. Consecration for this new church will be held on August 23, 1906 Mgr. It was built by Giovanni Borgomaneto and the first stone was laid on the foundation of the new church. In 1907, due to lack of funds, the work was interrupted and two years later, in January 1910, they resumed the pavement construction and completed the new church within two years. On February 15, the anniversary of the relocation of St. Antoine’s body to the Basilica of Padua, the priests moved to the new church, and then the church was blessed and opened for worship. The church was built in 1932 by Pope XI. He was honored by Pius and raised to the basilica level. At the same time The Antoine Catholic Church continues to worship as the largest and largest Catholic church in Istanbul’s congregation.


I think we should talk about St. Antoine who gave the building its name. He was born in 1195 in Lisbon as the first son of a wealthy and majestic family. Saint Antoine, who was named Fernando when he was baptized, was sent to school at a time when literacy was very low. According to sources, his wealthy family wanted his son to become a lawyer to brag him more, but he resisted not wanting it and pursued a modest life. The love of God, which he has been feeding since childhood, has been the most important factor determining his future. According to a legend, when St. Antoine felt the presence of Satan in Lisbon Cathedral, he drew a cross on the ground and expelled him from the cathedral. By the time he was fifteen, he left behind everything he had left, leaving the palace to enter a monastery near Lisbon, becoming one of the leading scientists in Europe. His family and friends constantly disturbed him in the monastery to persuade him to return to another monastery in the then Portuguese capital of Coimbria, where he was ordained at the age of twenty-five. Antoine turned those who deviated from Catholicism to the path of God, leading the evil Christians to live according to the Bible. It was the last day of Antoine’s life on Friday, June 13, 1231. He was thirty-six years old when he intentionally surrendered his soul to God.

Let us also mention the architectural features of the building. The building was built by Italian architect Giulio Mongeri, who was born in Istanbul, in Italian Neo-Gothic style and reinforced concrete. In addition, it is known that there was an entertainment venue called Concordia in the place where the building was located, the place was later transformed into a theater and it was named Cafe Concert in 1886. The church draws attention especially with the color of the building material. It is also stated in the sources that the apartments in the north and south of the church were built to generate income for the church.

Three doors were built in the middle to access the church’s courtyard, larger in the middle and smaller on the sides. Today, however, two of these entrances are closed and access to the courtyard is provided through a door. These triple entrances are a custom made to reflect the symbolism of the Virgin Mary-Holy Spirit (God) -Jesus in churches. The building is built with bricks and to the west is a very small narthex (a passage corridor that separates the main space of the churches from the outside). There is an apse section to the east of the structure, which was built with a Latin cross plan scheme. The apse sections are circular sections made for the clergy of the church. The apses of the churches are generally located in the east. The church is also the religious structure in which neogotic architectural style details can be observed best in Istanbul. As soon as you enter the interior, you will see a bunch of columns that lie vertically under the hoods decorated with the leaves of the stylized acanthus plant, carrying the blue top and ribbed vault of the structure. The façade of the building is also designed in the style of the Tuscan region of Italy.

If one day your way to Istiklal Street, overcrowded and crowded on this street, but the moment you enter the silence and peace in the peak of this church do not continue until you see. Because whatever religious belief you have; it will be very difficult to describe the feelings you will feel in all religious buildings where you will step through its doors, especially mosques, churches and synagogues.


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