The Virgin Mary Assyrian Church, also known as Surp Asdvadzadzin, is the only church which was built by Assyrians in Istanbul. It was built on Karakurum Street in Beyoğlu’s Tarlabaşı district. According to the ancient Assyrian Church, sources say that the site on which the church was constructed was bought by the Assyrian community in the 19th century. According to Armenian sources, a church existed there between the years of 1650 and 1780. The church was rebuilt on September 6, 1863 and was opened for religious services and was used by both Armenians and Assyrians as a common sanctuary. In 1870, the church was heavilty damaged in the fire of Istanbul and was extensively restored and renovated in 1878.
The old building of the church was demolished in 1961 and it was rebuilt by Assyrians who reopened it for religous services in a special ceremony in 1961. It is seen as a graceful example of stone workmanship from the city of Mardin, located in the southeastern part of Turkey. This workmanship is especially seen in the heads of wreathed columns used in the church. In addition to the church building, there is an annex containing a church school and an administrative section.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL