´╗┐ TABOR - Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Romanian Orthodox Church
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The Brancovan foundation of the Holy Martyr Paraskeve Pikridion in Istanbul
In Istanbul we find traces of three great empires: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Along with the most popular sights of the old Constantinople, there are also important places for the Romanian people. The church of the Holy Martyr Paraskevi, built by St. Constantin Brancoveanu in 1692 in the Pikridion area has now become, with the blessing of His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and of His Beatitude the Patriarch Daniel, a place of worship for the Romanians in Istanbul. The Holy Prince Constantin Brancoveanu raised this church in the place where three other churches were built: one in the sixth century, the second in the late XI century and the third in the XIV century. The iconostasis of the present church preserves four icons that have also been in the previous churches. In 1577 the Austrian diplomat Stephan Gerlach mentioned in one of his works the icons of the Theotokos with the Child, of the Savior Pantocrator, of St. John the Baptist and of Saint Paraskevi, all considered miraculous and all preserved until today in the iconostasis of the church. The church is composed of a porch or narthex, nave and the Holy Altar. The Holy Altar has a semicircular apse on the east side. The church nave is rectangular with two side corridors and a main corridor in the middle. The bell tower is part of the porch. The walls and the porch are built of bricks and stone. It is worth noting the framing of the door on the north side of the church that has vegetal motifs carved in stone specific to Brancovan style. The roof structure of the church is made of wood covered with tile. The carved wooden iconostasis bears the imprint of old folk arts and also carries the icons mentioned in 1577 by Stephan Gerlach. Along with the old icons of the iconostasis, the patriarchal throne and the pulpit, from the XVI-XIX century, there are also added, since 2004, the icon of Saints Constantine and Helen given by the Romanian Government and the two icons of the Holy Prince Martyr Constantin Brâncoveanu with his sons and his counselor Ianache and that of St. Stephen the Great Prince of Moldavia given by the family of Mircea and Elena Lucescu. The beautiful church founded by The Holy Prince Constantin Brancoveanu is a place of worship for the Orthodox Romanians in Istanbul.