PM Borissov Confers with Architect Who Restored Iconic Bulgarian Church in Istanbul


PM Borissov Confers
with Architect Who Restored Iconic
Bulgarian Church in Istanbul

Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met here on Tuesday with the architect and chief restorer of the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church on the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Fikriye Bulunmaz, Cabinet's press service reported.

Borissov thanked his guest for the whole team's hard work restoring the iconic church, known as the Iron Church, due to its unique cast iron construction. "The St. Stephen Iron Church glistens like a jewel. I am happy that today it is a functioning Orthodox church, where festive liturgies are regularly held," Borissov is quoted as saying and thanking the Turkish authorities for the joint work.

Architect Bulunmaz noted that the project was very exciting to her. "We tried to preserve the St. Stephen Church's grandeur in the new construction," she said, adding that since its opening a year ago, the Church has become a tourist attraction in Istanbul.

The Turkish architect has presented a painting of the church as a gift to Borissov.

On January 7, 2018, Prime Minister Borissov and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the St. Stephen Church at a ceremony following six years of restoration. The church is iconic for Bulgarians as its site was where they first declared their wish for independence from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as a result of which the Bulgarian Exarchate was born.

St. Stephen's was built in the mid-19th century on donations from the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. It was assembled of prefabricated cast-iron elements in the Fanar residential area on the Golden Horn's shore on a lot donated by Bulgarian statesman Stefan Bogoridi. The solemn consecration, which drew Bulgarians from all over the Balkan Peninsula, was conducted on the Feast Day of the Nativity of the Virgin, 8 September 1898, by Exarch Yossif I.

The design was commissioned by competition to Armenian architect Hovsep Aznavur. This well known master produced a highly original solution. The church was to be built of prefabricated cast-iron and hammered-iron panels, weighing some 500 t altogether, magnificently executed by the Rudolf Philipp Waagner Company of Vienna. LI/MY


Source: Sofia