St. Gregory the Lusarovich Church in Karakoy

Located in the Kemeralti Sakizcilar street in the Karakoy neighborhood of Beyoglu, the Surp Krikor Lusarovic Church is oldest Armenian Orthodox Church in Istanbul that was built in 1431. It is also the oldest known church in Istanbul. And also it is the only church in Istanbul built in the style of classical Armenian architecture. The domes and the bell tower is very elegant that there are few churches in Istanbul that has that kind of domes.

History

The two manuscripts dated 1360 and 1361 show that there was a church called Surp Sarkis in Galata before, and according to a manuscript, a merchant named Gozma came to Istanbul from Gafa in 1391 and built the Surp Krikor Lusavoric Church. In addition, supporting the above manuscript, according to the notes of Per Gugas Inciciyan, a merchant named Gozma came to Istanbul in 1391 and bought the land of the church. These two plates placed on the walls of the church which prove that the church existed in the year 1431.

The name Krikor stands after the Patriarch Krikor II of Kayseri, that was buried next to the church wall in 1635.

Like many of the historical buildings in Istanbul, the church’s building was luckily survived from the fire in Galata in 1660, while it was completely burned in 1731, and was rebuilt by Sarkis foreman in 1733 during the period of Patriarch Golod. In 1771, the church completely burned again and its reconstruction was completed in 1799.

Next to the church are the chapels of the Holy Cross and the Holy Garabed. In 1888, the inner walls were opened in the form of arches and three places of worship were combined. In 1958, the church was completely expropriated and a large part of the land was allocated to the street to be expanded. And in 1962 the church of today’s Holy Krikor Lusavoric was built in a domed style.

In 1966, the new Church was blessed with the hand of Patriarch Shnorhk and opened for worship.  On the walls, you can see old inscriptions of the church and very valuable porcelain remains.

The last restoration of the church finished in 2011 and it was blessed by Archbishop Aram Atesyan, Deputy General of the Patriarch.

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