Bulgarian St. Stephen Church
On January 7, 2018, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church, also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, reopened after an extensive 6-year restoration. With Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte conducting the opening, a celebration ceremony took place in the neighborhood of Balat on the shore of the Golden Horn.
Originally built in 1898, the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church has a historical presence in Istanbul. In the late 19th century, Prince Stefan Bogoridi, an Ottoman statesman of Bulgarian origin, donated the land he owned to the church, and started the efforts for its building. The original construction plans were made by the Armenian architect Hovsep Aznavur. The cast iron parts of the church, weighing about 500 tons in all, were produced by the Austrian company Rudolph Ph. Waagner, and were transported by ship from Vienna, through the Danube, Black Sea, and Bosphorus to Istanbul. Two of the surviving tower bells were brought from Russia’s city of Yaroslav.
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