Büyükada - The Monastery of the Transfiguration

According to tradition, the monastery was founded in the Byzantine era, and implicit reference to it seems to have been made in a chrysobull issued in 1158 by the emperor Manuel I Comnenus.

The monastery fell on hard times later in the Ottoman period, but it withstood these difficulties through the support of the guild of the Greek linseed oil merchants in Istanbul and an endowment from the Feneriote nobleman Pascharnikos Christodoulos Vlachoutsis. Patriarch Gregory V lived there in 1809; the former patriarch Chrysanthos moved to the monastery when he retired in 1826 and died there eight years later. Patriarch Sophronius was in residence during the years 1866-70, and through his efforts the monastery was restored and the present katholikon completed in 1869, in accordance with plans drawn by the architect Vasilis Dimitriou.

What remains of the monastery are its katholikon and an adjacent two-storey wing on its south, as well as some out-buildings on the western part of its grounds. The katholikon preserves the carved wooden iconostasis from the earlier church, gilded and decorated with floral and plant designs in both low and high relief. The doors of the Oraia Pylai are particularly notable, with eight small icons in their panels, the most remarkable being a depiction of the Annunciation, all dating from the eighteenth century. There is also a fine eighteenth-century Offertory Diptych, with Christ in the traditional Deesis representation atop the panels, flanked by the Virgin and St. John the Baptist. Set into the south exterior wall there is a replica of an ancient Greek funerary relief, dating from the second half of the nineteenth century.

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