Büyükada - The Metropolitan Church of St. Dimitrios

The other church is at the corner of Zagnos Paşa Caddesi and Alaçam Sokağı. This is the Metropolitan Church of St. Dimitrios (Hagios Dimitrios), the patron saint of Prinkipo. Since 1923 St. Dimitrios has been the seat of the Metropolitan Bishop of the Prinkiponisa, whose aegis extends over all the Greek Orthodox churches of the Princes’ Isles, which were previously part of the Metropolis of Chalcedon (Kadıköy).

The church was designed by the Greek architect Fistikos Kalfa and built in 1856-60. When the foundations were being laid workers unearthed an ancient column capital, now displayed in the courtyard, with a relief monogram of the emperor Justin II (r. 565-78). The church is a large three-aisled basilica in stone with three entryways, flanked by vaulted arcades. The nave is separated from the side aisles by twin colonnades of four columns each, capped by wooden Ionic capitals and linked by arches. The main altar is dedicated to St. Dimitrios and the two side chapels to St. Pandeleimon (Hagios Pandeleimon) and the Prophet Elijah (Hagios Profitis Ilias). The central vault of the main aisle has a medallion portrait of Christ Pantocrator, the All Powerful. The gilded pulpit, which is built against the second column on the left, is decorated with portraits of the four Evangelists. The baroque patriarchal throne stands against the third column on the right. The elaborately carved iconostasis is made of marbled plaster. The icon of St. Dimitrios in the nave, dating from the seventeenth century, is clad in beautiful silverwork. The icons in the two side chapels are also exceptionally fine works.

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