Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The ancient church of Ayo Yorgi (St. George) in Edirnekapi, Istanbul's historic area, behind the walls of ancient Constantinople, re-pens after its restoration. On November 19, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew celebrates the divine liturgy that will mark the re-opening of the ancient sacred building. The participation of Prime Minister Hakan Çavuşoğlu, of the Governor of Istanbul, Vasip Şahin and the Director General of the Foundations, Adnan Ertem is also expected at the inauguration of the restored church.
The restoration works, funded by the General Directorate of Foundations, cost 4 million Turkish lire and concerned not only the church but also the priest's residence, the security wall of the complex, an ancient fountain and an annexed school building. "That school" reports to Agenzia Fides Lakis Vingas, for a long time a representative of non- Muslim Foundations at the General Directorate of Foundations, "will become a musical training center aimed at enhancing the historical heritage of Byzantine and Ottoman music and contributing to further enrich Istanbul's cultural profile".
The Church of Ay Yorgi, whose first foundation dates back to the 9th century, was destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout history. In 1556 it was demolished to build the Mosque of Mhirimah Sultan. In 1726 the first restoration of the church was realized, but later it was again devastated by a fire. The last restoration campaign of the entire complex - which since 1974 has been administered by the General Directorate of Foundations - began about three years ago. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/11/2017)