Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Chora Museum, Istanbul

Along with Hagia Sophia, the Chora Museum was a highlight of my trip to Istanbul. Much of this was thanks to my guide, Mehmet Tetik (www.turkishguides.org\tetik). The whole story of the Bible is told on the ceiling of this Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, a byzantine masterpiece.It was originally built outside the walls as part of a monastery complex. The original church was built in early 5th century outside Constantines 4th century walls but was incorporated within the walls when Theodosius built his walls in the5th century.The church was rebuilt by Maria Dukaina mother in law of Alexis I Comnenus in the late 11th century. Part of the church collapsed in the 12th century and was rebuilt Isaac Comnenus, Alexus’ son. The powerful Byzantine statesman Metochites endowed the church with many of it’s mosaics and frescoes. Fifty years after the conquest by the Ottoman’s the church was converted into a mosque by plastering over the mosaics. Restoration began in 1948 and in 1958 the church was reopened as a museum.
Mehmet described and pointed out the story of first Mary’s birth in one room to the birth of Jesus and the life of Jesus through another room.  Having it described and pointed out made it more like it would have been experienced by the illiterate in ancient times, as a picture book depiction. It was a remarkable experience.
Christ as “The Land of the Living"
St. Peter holding the keys.
St. Paul                                                                                 Mary and Jesus
The story of the rods and how Joseph’s rod sprouted leaves so Mary was given to him.
Donkey looking in the manger. Mary’s feet bound to show virgin birth.

Herod’s men killing children under two.
Journey to Bethlehem.
Miracle of water into wine.
Anastasis - Jesus who has broken down the gates of hell is pulling Adam and Eve out of their tombs.
Virgin Mother and Child in dome

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