The oldest ecclesiastical edifice within the metropolis

The oldest ecclesiastical edifice within the metropolis—the Church of S. John the Baptist, connected to the monastery of Studius—doesn’t, nonetheless, symbolize Byzantine structure. In-built 468, it’s a basilica, and accordingly is a specimen—the one specimen in Constantinople—of the earliest sort of a Christian sanctuary. It was well-nigh destroyed in a conflagration that devasted the district of Psamatia in 1782, and its roof was crushed in by a heavy fall of snow some three winters in the past. However, although solely the shadow of its former self, its primitive character might be clearly recognised. The outdated atrium earlier than the church remains to be right here, with a phiale or fountain in its centre for the purification of the gathering worshippers. Of the colonnaded cloister alongside the 4 sides of the atrium, the western portion, borne by 4 columns and forming the narthex of the church, nonetheless stands. There catechumens and penitents, unworthy to tread the holy floor inside the sanctuary, stood outdoors and afar off. Stunning bushes now unfold their branches over the courtroom, and the shaded gentle falls upon turbaned Moslem tombs, as of yore it fell upon the graves of Christian monks, from the bushes rising within the Paradise of the monastery. It’s the most peaceable spot in all Constantinople, and as truthful as it’s calm and quiet The narthex belongs, undoubtedly, to the unique cloth.

Marble pillars topped by Corinthian capitals

Its marble pillars topped by Corinthian capitals of a late sort bear a horizontal entablature, and the egg and dart decoration, the dentils, the strings of pearls, acquainted within the friezes of Greek and Roman temples mingle with foliage, birds, and crosses, expressive of latest concepts and tastes. Inside, the inside was a corridor 89 ft by 88, divided by a double row of seven columns of verde vintage marble, right into a nave and two aisles. The proportion of size to breadth is larger than is common in basilicas of the West, and a sign of the tendency to imagine the sq. plan which Byzantine structure so strongly manifests. The lengthy lessening vistas so spectacular in Western church buildings are not often, if ever, present in an Jap sanctuary. Within the latter the construction is extra compact, and the worshipper stands earlier than a Presence that compasses him about alike on each aspect. On the jap finish of the nave is the standard apse, semicircular inside, a polygon of three sides on the outside. Triforium galleries, now gone, divided the aisles in two tales, the higher storey bearing additionally columns of verde vintage. The columns of the decrease tier have been sure by a horizontal entablature whereas their fellows above have been united by arches, a mingling of outdated and new kinds. The roof was of wooden, as in related basilicas elsewhere. The church recollects the Church of S. Agnes at Rome. Its disappearance will likely be a matter of deep remorse, not solely as an historical landmark, however as an edifice which preserved the environment of early Christian congregations, and mirrored, nonetheless faintly, the sunshine of basic days, via all of the adjustments of the town’s tastes and fortunes.

 

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