The Bulgarian Church was built near the Golden Horn between Ayvansaray Street and Mürsel Paşa Street. Due to nationalistic movements, it was built independently from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate by the Bulgarian minority of the Ottoman Empire who wanted to establish their own church, where they could practice their Orthodox faith.
After obtaining permission from the state to build a church, they first built a priest house called “Metoh” on Mürsel Paşa Street. According to the inscription on the house, it was completed in 1850. After the house’s construction was completed, a small wooden church was temporarily erected.It was later demolished and the current, larger churchbuilt in its place with an iron frame. The construction plans were prepared by Hovsep Aznavur, an Armenian of born in Istanbul. An international competition was conducted to produce the prefabricated parts of the church. An Austrian firm, R. Ph. Wagner, won the competition. The prefabricated parts were produced in Vienna and transported to Istanbul by ship through the Danube and the Black Sea. After one and a half years work, it was completed and inaugurated in 1898.
The main skeleton of the prefabricated Stephan Church, which resembles a cross, was made of steel and covered by metal boards. The architectural style comes from the Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque periods, and the width of the side naves are 3 meters and the width of middle nave is 6 meters. On the six bells in different dimension put in the bell tower of the church are written statements that they had been moulded for Sveti Stefan Church in Russia.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL