Cathedral of Saint George the Victorious is an Orthodox church in Istanbul, the administrative center of the Constantinople Orthodox Church and the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople since 1601. It is a working temple.

  • Opening hours: daily, 08:00 – 17:00
  • Official website: www.patriarchate.org
  • Location: Greek Patriarchate, Dr. Sadik Ahmet Cad. no. 19, 34083 Fatih-Istanbul, TURKEY
  • Phone: +90 212 531 96 70

The church is located in the Fatah district of Istanbul on the European side of the city. It is also often called the Patriarchate or Patriarchal Church, since it is the seat of the Patriarch. 

Table of Contents

Cathedral of Saint George on Istanbul map

History

Before Patriarch Matthew II (1598-1601) chose the Cathedral of St. George as a place for his residence, there was a monastery for Orthodox nuns.

The church has undergone several restorations, including after the fires in 1720 and 1738.

Patriarch Gregory V was hanged here in 1821 for inciting the Greeks to revolt at the start of the War of Independence. In memory of him, the main entrance to the building of the Patriarchate is still closed.

In the 1980s, new office buildings appeared.

In the early 1990s, under Patriarch Bartholomew, the cathedral was renovated and decorated.

Shrine of the Cathedral of St. George

The church has many relics from an earlier period than the date of its construction. Details of the location of the shrines in the temple can be found on the diagram.

Designations on the diagram:

  1. Egyptian candlestick 18th century
  2. Patriarchal Throne
  3. Sintronon (marble patriarchal throne with 11 other thrones)
  4. Music stand of John Chrysostom
  5. Canonists from the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos
  6. Iconostasis 18th century
  7. Icon of Pammakaristos, Icon of St. John the Baptist, Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos Foneromeni
  8. The relics of St. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom
  9. The relics of the holy great martyrs Euphemia, Theophania and Saint Solomon
  10. The pillar of the scourging of Christ.

Patriarchal throne

The patriarch’s throne, four meters high, made of walnut wood, inlaid with ivory, usually dates from the time of the patriarchate of Archbishop St. John Chrysostom (398-404). At the same time, individual elements on it belong to a later period – for example, it is determined that the inscription on the cornices refers to 1577.

The Patriarchal See is located closer to the altar, on the right hand side of the entrance.

Three important icons

Two special icons in the right side-altar date from an even earlier period than the icons of Hagia Sophia and the Chora Monastery. One of them is the 11th century mosaic icon Panagia Pammakaristos. This is an image of the Mother of God holding the baby Christ. Previously, it was kept in the ancient patriarchal church of Our Lady of Pammakarista. From it, the mosaic icon of St. John the Baptist, also dated to the 11th century, was transferred to the Cathedral of St. George.

In the left aisle, the miraculous icon of Panagia Faneromeni deserves special attention. It is plated with gold and silver and dates from the 14th century.

The pillar of the scourging of Christ

One of the most valuable relics of the Patriarchate in Istanbul. This is the remainder of the column to which Christ was tied during his beating by Roman soldiers before crucifixion. Two other elements of the column have survived in Jerusalem.

Relics of saints

The relics of several saints are kept in the temple. In 2004, as a gift from the Pope in the Church of St. George, the arks with the relics of Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom were solemnly installed. They are in the left aisle. Later, the relics of St. Basil the Great.

The cathedral also contains the relics of the holy great martyrs Euphemia, Solomonia and Queen Theophany (in the right side-altar).

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How to get there

The Church of St. George is located in the Fener quarter of Istanbul’s Fatih district, next to the Fener ferry pier. It is far enough from the main historical sights of the city.

You can get to the Cathedral of St. George by bus – there is a Fener bus stop nearby (routes from 33ES, 35D, 44B and others).

The nearest metro station is two kilometers away. This is the station of the green line M2 Haliç on the bridge over the Golden Horn, from which you will have to walk along the embankment for about 30 minutes.

The Big Bus Istanbul sightseeing bus stops outside the cathedral.