Quick Guide 22: Chora Church and Theodore Metochites

Kariye Museum was originally the center of a Byzantine monastery complex. Only the church section, which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Savior, has survived.

“Kariye” is the Turkish adaptation of an ancient Greek word “Chora” which refers to the countryside. Considering the perimeter of the walls of Constantine (4th century AD) the building was located outside of the city. If this theory were correct Chora Monastery would be from the 4th century. Records prove the existence of Chora Monastery from the 8th century.

Chora went through many restorations, the last most significant instigated by Theodore Metochites, prime minister and first lord of the treasury, at the beginning of the 14th century.

The three most important features of the church – mosaics, frescoes, and the funerary chapel (Parecclesion) – are from that period.

Theodore Metochites built the Parecclesion for himself and he was buried at the entrance of the church.

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