Joyce's Photos of Constantinople (Istanbul)
Constantinople was originally called Byzantium. Although Constantine named it Nova Roma (“New Rome”), that name did not stick—instead it became to be called Constantinople until the Turks took it over and renamed it Istanbul in the 15th century. The city has also been nicknamed "The City on Seven Hills" because the historic peninsula, the oldest part of the city, was built on seven hills (just like Rome).
According to Orthodox tradition, the Apostle Andrew founded a church in Bithynia, which was in the area of Byzantium. However, the claims of apostolic succession that the Orthodox claim from there is basically without historical merit.
Even the Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that Constantinople did not become important until the fourth century and that it probably did not have any bishops before the third century:
It has quite lately been established that Byzantium received its new name of Constantinople as early as the end of 324 (Centénaire de la société nationale des antiquaires de France, Paris, 1904, p. 281 sqq.). Nevertheless, the solemn inauguration of the new city did not occur until 11 May, 330; only after this date did the Court and Government settle permanently in the new capital. It was soon filled with sumptuous edifices like those of Rome...
A probably reliable tradition makes the Byzantine Church a suffragan of Heraclea in Thrace at the beginning of the third century. In the fifth century we meet with a spurious document attributed to a certain Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre at the end of the third century, according to which the Church of Byzantium was founded by the Apostle St. Andrew, its first bishop being his disciple Stachys (cf. Romans 16:9). The intention of the forger is plain: in this way the Church of Rome is made inferior to that of Constantinople, St. Andrew having been chosen an Apostle by Jesus before his brother St. Peter, the founder of the Roman Church.
The first historically known Bishop of Byzantium is St. Metrophanes (306-314), though the see had perhaps been occupied during the third century. It was at first subject to the metropolitan authority of Heraclea, and remained so, at least canonically, until 381, when the Second Ecumenical Council (can. iii) gave the Bishop of Constantinople the first place after the Bishop of Rome.
Constantine had chosen this city as the new capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and the needs of the State, he rarely resided there (Vailhé S. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. Constantinople. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Thus the idea that Constantinople clearly has apostolic succession has been discounted by Catholic scholars (for more details, please see the article Apostolic Succession).
The following links are to photographs taken and/or directed by Joyce Thiel. All materials are copyrighted and all photographs are copyrighted by Joyce Thiel (c) 2008, All Rights Reserved:
Outide of the Church of St. George. Since 1600 the Church of St. George has been the seat of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul. Orthodox consider th is to be a "Holy See" and they normally refer to this entire area as the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Inside Photos of the Church of St. George.
Outside of the Office of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
Relics Inside the Office of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The Orthodox are highly involved with relics and icons.
Inside of the Meeting Room of the Office of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. This is where the Ecumenical Patriarch meets visitors and dignitaries.
John Chrysostom. He was an early Patriarch of Constantinople.
Hagia Sophia. Although this building became an Islamic mosque after the Turks took over Asia Minor in the 15th century, it originally was the headquarters of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 AD on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site (the previous two had both been destroyed by riots according to Wikipedia). It contained a large collection of relics and once featured a 50 foot silver iconostasis. It was the patriarchal church of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 1000 years. And until it was passed by the Medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520, it was the largest building in the world. The Hagia Sophia is a lasting legacy to the fact that the Eastern leg/foot of Nebuchadnezzar’s image in Daniel 2 was important for ½ of the years since Jesus was crucified. The Hagia Sophia is much more impressive that the current buildings of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Inside the Hagia Sophia. Since the Hagia Sophia was taken over by Muslims and was an active mosque for some time, the Muslims took out the relics, repainted certain areas (hence certain Arabic writings), and plastered over the icons that the Orthodox had.
Mural Inside the Hagia Sophia. The mural that one sees in one part of the Hagia Sophia had been covered before, but now can be seen. It is apparently a copy of the same basic picture which we saw in a cave in Cappadocia (for more information, please see Joyce's Photos of Cappadocia).
Because of biblical and Catholic prophecies, it appears that sadly the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople will make a deal with the Vatican that ultimately will lead to its subjection and ultimate destruction of the entire Orthodox Church.
An article related interest may include Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics
More photos can be seen on the Photos of Cappadocia page.
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