Setting the Record Straight: List of Churches in Turkey

The St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Istanbul

BY RAFFI BEDROSYAN
From The Armenian Weekly

The recently appointed Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, responding to questions submitted by Senator Robert Menendez, has made incorrect claims about churches in Turkey. We would like to provide some facts for the Ambassador’s attention.

The approximate number of Armenian churches in Ottoman Turkey prior to 1915 stands at 2300, while the number of active Armenian churches in Turkey today is 34—28 in Istanbul, 6 in Anatolia. The article had further qualified that these numbers only represented Armenian Apostolic Churches under the jurisdiction of the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate. When the pre-1915 number of numerous Armenian Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical churches are to be added to the 2300 Armenian Apostolic churches,  plus the Greek churches, plus the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches belonging to the various European communities in Ottoman Turkey, the number of Christian churches easily doubles up. It would take some research to define the exact number of the Christian churches prior to 1915; however, it is relatively easier to determine the number of active Christian churches in Turkey today.

The following list gives the Armenian churches still standing in Turkey, both in Istanbul and in Anatolia:

Armenian Apostolic Churches in Turkey

In Istanbul
Christ The King Armenian Church (Kadıköy, Istanbul)

Church of the Apparition of the Holy Cross (Kuruçeşme, Istanbul)

Holy Archangels Armenian Church (Balat, Istanbul)

Holy Cross Armenian Church (Kartal, Istanbul)

Holy Cross Armenian Church (Selamsız, Üsküdar, Istanbul)

Holy Hripsimiants Virgins Armenian Church (Büyükdere, Istanbul)

Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Apostolic Church (Bakırköy, Istanbul)

Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Beşiktaş, Istanbul)

Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Eyüp, Istanbul)

Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Ortaköy, Istanbul)

Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Yeniköy, Istanbul)

Holy Nativity of the Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Bakırköy, Istanbul)

Holy Resurrection Armenian Church (Kumkapı, Istanbul)

Holy Resurrection Armenian Chapel (Taksim, Istanbul)

Holy Three Youths Armenian Church (Boyacıköy, Istanbul)

Holy Trinity Armenian Church (Galatasaray, Istanbul)

Narlikapi Armenian Apostolic Church (Narlıkapı, Istanbul)

St. Elijah The Prophet Armenian Church (Eyüp, Istanbul)

St. John the Baptist Armenian Church (Üsküdar)

St. John The Evangelist Armenian Church (Gedikpaşa, Istanbul)

St. John The Evangelist Armenian Church (Narlıkapı, Istanbul)

St. John The Forerunner Armenian Church (Bağlarbaşı, Uskudar, Istanbul)

St. George (Sourp Kevork) Armenian Church (Samatya, Istanbul)

St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) (Ghalatya, Istanbul)

St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) Armenian Church (Kuzguncuk, Istanbul)

St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) Armenian Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)

St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) (Kınalıada, Istanbul)

St. James Armenian Church (Altımermer, Istanbul)

St. Nicholas Armenian Church (Beykoz, Istanbul)

St. Nicholas Armenian Church (Topkapı, Istanbul)

St. Santoukht Armenian Church (Hisar, Istanbul)

St. Saviour (Sourp Pergitch) Armenian Chapel (Yedikule, Istanbul)

St. Sergius Armenian Chapel (Balikli, Istanbul)

St. Stephen Armenian Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)

St. Stephen Armenian Church (Yeşilköy, Istanbul)

St. Takavor Armenian Apostolic Church (Kadıköy, Istanbul)

Saints Thaddeus and Barholomew Armenian Church (Yenikapı, Istanbul)

St. Trinity (Sourp Yerrortutyoun) Church (Pera, Istanbul)

St. Vartanants Armenian Church (Feriköy, Istanbul)

The Twelve Holy Apostles Armenian Church (Kandilli, Istanbul)

Of the Armenian Apostolic Churches still standing in Istanbul, only 28 are active at present, the rest are closed due to lack of clergy and/or lack of congregation.

In Anatolia
Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastea Armenian Church (Iskenderun, Hatay)

Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Vakıflıköy, Samandağ, Hatay)

St. George (Sourp Kevork) Armenian Church (Derik, Mardin)

St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Kayseri)

St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Kırıkhan)

St. Giragos Armenian Church (Diyarbakır) UNDER RECONSTRUCTION

Armenian Catholic Churches in Turkey

St. Mary Armenian Catholic Church (Beyoğlu, Istanbul).

St. Jean Chrisostomus Armenian Catholic Church (Taksim, Istanbul)

St. Leon Armenian Catholic Church (Kadıkoy, Istanbul)

Assumption Armenian Catholic Church (Büyükada, Istanbul)

Armenian Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception (Koca Mustafa Paşa, Istanbul)

St. Saviour Armenian Catholic Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)

St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church (Ortaköy, Istanbul)

St. Paul Armenian Catholic Church (Büyükdere, Istanbul)

St. John the Baptist Armenian Catholic Church (Yeniköy, Istanbul)

Of the Armenian Catholic Churches in Istanbul, only the first four are active.
Armenian Evangelical/Protestant Churches in Turkey

Armenian Evangelical Church (Pera, Istanbul)

Armenian Evangelical Church (Gedik Paşa, Istanbul)

Until recently, the Armenian Church Foundations and the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate had great difficulty to preserve or to protect the church buildings and schools under their jurisdiction; there would be no permission from the government to carry out minor repairs or even paint the deteriorating church and school buildings. But there has been an improvement with the present government, which has restored the Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island on Van Lake, albeit as a state museum, and has given permission to the repair and reconstruction of a few historic churches, most notably the Surp Giragos Church in Diyarbakir.

To provide a complete picture of churches in Turkey today, we present below a lists of non-Armenian churches:

Greek Orthodox Churches
Fener Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, Fener

Panagia Mugliotissa, H.Georgios Poteras, Fener

Aya Irini, Topkapı

Aya Yorgi, Büyükada

Hagios Poliektus, Topkapı

Havariyyun, Fatih

Kanli, Fatih

Nikolaos, Ayakapı

Kyriaaki, Kumkapı

Panagia Elpida, Kumkapı

Theodoros, Yenikapı

Panagiea, Altımermer

Menas,

Georgios,

Khristos Analepsisi,

Nikolaos,

Konstantinos,

Helene, Samatya

Panagia, Belgradkapı

Nikolaos, Topkapı

Demetrios, Sarmaşık

Georgios, Edirnekapı

Panagia, Salmatomruk

Panagia Hançeriotissa, Tekfursarayı

Panagia Suda, Eğrikapı

Panagia Blakherna, Demetios Kananou, Ayvansaray

Panagia Balinu, Taksiartes, Balat

Hpasaskave, Hasköy

Konstantinos ve Helene, Beyoğlu

Panagia, Galatasaray

Trias, Taksim

Panagia Evangelistria, Dolapdere

Demetrios, Athanisios, Kurtuluş

Dodeka Apostoloi, Feriköy

Hristos Metamorphosisi, Şişli

Panagia, Beşiktaş

Phokos, Ortaköy

Demetrios, İoannes Prodromos, Kuruçeşme

Taksiarkhes, Propethes Elias, Arnavutköy

Khralamsok, Bebek

Panagia Evangelistira, Boyacıköy

Taksiarkhes, İstinye

Nikolaos, Panagia, Yeniköy

Panagia Pege, Silivrikapı

Nikolaos, Georgios, Khristos, Büyükada

Trias, Hsypridon, Khristos, Heybeliada

Georgios, Khristos, Burgazada

Khrasitos, Kınalıada

Heuphemia, Trias (Aya Triada), Kadıköy

Hioannes Khrysostomos, Kalamış

Georgios, Yeldeğirmeni

Prophetes Elias, Üsküdar

Pantelemion, Georgios, Kuzguncuk

Georgios, Çengelköy

Hristos Metamorphosis, Kandilli

Konstantinos ve Helene, Paşabahçe

Paraskeve, Beykoz

Paraskeve, Konstantinos, Tarabya

Paraskeve, Büyükdere

İoannes Prodromos, Yenimahalle

Georgios, Khristos Analepsis, Bakırköy

Stephanos, Yeşilköy

Demetrios, Panagia, Prophetes Elias, Büyükada

Nikolaos, Prophetes Elias, Heybeliada

İoannes Prodromos, Burgazada

Panagia, Kınalıada

Georgios Metokhi, Fener

Georgios Metokhi, Yeniköy

Georgios Metokhi, Heybeliada

İoannes Prodromos Methokhi, Balat

Panagia Kaphatiane, Hnikolaos, İoannes Prodromos, Galata

Balıklı Hagia Kharalampos, Silivrikapı

Haigoi Anargiroi, Silivrikapı

Hristos Genesis, Arnavutköy

Although these Greek churches are still standing, very few are still active as there are virtually no Greeks left in Turkey. Last census numbers indicate a population of less than 2000, which means there are about twenty Greeks left for each Greek church in Turkey.

European Catholic Churches

Saint Benoit (French), Galata

Saint Esprit (French), Beyoglu

Saint Antoine(French), Beyoglu

Santa Maria (İtalian), Tünel

Sankt Georg (Austria), Karaköy

Saint Pierre et Saint Paul (French), Galata

Notre Dame de l’Assumption (French), Moda

St Augustine (French), Fenerbahçe

Czestochova Meryem Ana (Polish), Polonezköy
Anglican Churches

English Consulate Anglican Chapel, Galatasaray

Kirim Anglican Church, Beyoğlu

Pera Resurrection Church- Aynalıçeşme Beyoğlu

All Saints Anglican-Presbyterien, Moda
Protestant Churches

German Protestant Church, Tarlabaşı, Beyoğlu

Netherlands Consulate Dutch Chapel, Beyoğlu

Swedish Lutheran, Tünel

Istanbul Nehir Pentecostal, Harbiye

İstanbul Altıntepe Protestant, Altıntepe
Other Orthodox Churches

Russian Orthodox, Galata

Sveti Stefan Bulgarian Orthodox, Balat

In recent years, a few Christian churches have been created in resort areas such as Antalya and Bodrum, frequented by European retirees, but these are not recorded.

When responding to Senator Menendez’s questions, perhaps the Ambassador only relied on information provided by Turkish government sources, which could sometimes be unreliable on issues related to “past history” or to present concerns such as Christian missionary activities. One remarkable example of this is a January 2007 dated Turkish Security General Directorate circular, which indicated that while there were 77,777 mosques in Turkey at the end of 2006, the number of non-Moslem religious institutions had climbed to 373. The circular expressed concern that this number had increased greatly from 273 in 2005, mostly due to illegal missionary activities of Protestant Christians. Of the 373 recorded religious institutions, 321 were Christian churches, including 90 Greek Orthodox (75 in Istanbul), 55 Armenian (48 in Istanbul), 60 Assyrian, 3 Chaldean, 4 Bulgarian, 1 Arabic Orthodox, 53 Christian churches for foreigners and 52 illegal Protestant Missionary churches. In addition, 36 Jewish Synagogues, 9 Jehovahs Witness temples were recorded. Interestingly, there were more than 900 “gathering centres” (cemevi) recorded for Alewites as cultural centres, since they are not recognized as belonging to an official religion.

Raffi Bedrosyan is a civil engineer as well as a concert pianist, living in Toronto, Canada. For the past several years, proceeds from his concerts and two CDs have been donated toward the construction of school, highway, water and gas distribution projects in Armenia and Karabakh, in which he also participated as a voluntary engineer. He is involved with the Surp Giragos Dikranagerd Church Reconstruction project in organizing fundraising activities in Canada, as well as promoting the significance of this historic project worldwide to Armenian communities outside Turkey, on behalf of the Church Foundation Board and the Istanbul Patriarchate.

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