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3. Church (St. Spyridon Church (Kizil Kilise) Aksaray; The entrance door is St. Antony Church door, Istanbul)
a) St. Spyridon Church (Kizil Kilise) Aksaray
St. Spyridon Church (also known as Kizil Kilise) is located in Cappadocia Region. Since it was built with red stones, it has been called as Kizil Church (Red Church) in the area. It is one of the best samples of churches built with stone in all Cappadocia. The church is believed to be built in sixth century and it is also believed that St. Gregorius visited this church and lived in the region. It is believed that fundamental teachings of Orthodox Christianity originated in this region. St. Spyridon Church has a mesmerizing beauty with its dome put on an octagon, its cross shape and glamorous concordance. The dome was put on four poles. The frescos show scenes from Bible.
b) St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral
The entrance to the church in the Interfaith Peace Garden is modeled after the entrance of St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral in Istanbul. The Cathedral is the biggest of all Roman Catholic churches in Istanbul. It was named as St. Antoine Church by people. The services in the Cathedral have been observed by mass audience. The first form of the Cathedral was built by Italians inhabiting in Istanbul. The cathedral was then destroyed and rebuilt with all the apartment buildings surrounding it in 1906-1912. Pope John XXIII, also known for his support in interfaith dialog during second Vatican Council during 1963- 65, before he was selected as pope, preached in this cathedral for ten years while he was an ambassador of Vatican.
c) The Church of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Church, Ephesus, Izmir)
The Church of Virgin Mary, which is located in Ephesus, Izmir on the west side of Turkey, has great historical significance. First, it is attributed to Mary who gave birth to Jesus and second, the Third Ecumenical Council, the Ephesus Council, met there (431). The decision to name Mary as ‘ Theotokos’ ,one who can give birth to God, was taken during this council. However, archbishop of Istanbul stated that the name ‘Theotokos’ might appall people so it is better to name Mary as “Mother of Messiah”.
The church, which is mostly in ruins now, believed to be built on a Roman Temple’s ruins in the third century. There isn’t any information about the history of the church beyond the ninth century. However, it is believed that it was used by the Christians living in the area. During the diggings in 1950s, the mosaic of the church’s entrance door was found.
Catholic Church believes that ‘Theotokos’ Mary was arisen to heaven so they devote the day, August 15 to her. Today, Ephesus has been visited by Catholics who believe that it is a holy place and they have their ceremonies there.
The holy book of Islam praises Jesus and Mary too. Qur’an also states that they were chosen and were preferred over the worlds. In addition, there are two chapters named Mary (chapter 19) and Al-Imran (Family of Imran, Chapter 3) in the Quran that talk about the life of Mary, birth of Jesus, and his miracles. Today not only Christians but also millions of Muslims visit the Church of Mother Mary.
The building in Interfaith Peace Garden is inspired by the ruins of this church.