I doubt that there is a Bulgarian, who has reached the Asian part of Istanbul and hasn?t visited the so called Iron Church, labeled as the most beautiful Christian temple in the metropolis. This church is a relic for the Bulgarian ecclesiastical history and it is connected to the most important times in the battle for our religious independence.
Yesterday I wrote a letter to Mizia Foundation and its founder Svetoslav Kantardjiev to inform them about the problem which I shall reveal below – I know that they are busy working on our territory, but I am sure that our cultural heritage abroad is important to them too.
What later turns into the Iron church is the house, granted by Prince Stefan Bogoridi, which the Bulgarians in Istanbul initially transform into a wooden church, and two years later build the famous Bulgarian convent next to it. The church and the convent are the places, where the Bulgarian spiritual revival starts. Bulgarian foundations alarmed several years ago about the tragic state the Iron church is in and the progressive corrosion of its structure. Donation accounts were opened and with the help of patriotic Bulgarians about 50 icons and the altar were restored. An year ago the municipality of Istanbul allocated funds for renovation
and strengthening of St. Stefan Church.
And everyone who has been recently in Istanbul would notice that it is surrounded by scaffolding and it is just a matter of time until the old beauty and glory of the pearl in the crown of the ancient and eternal city, is returned. Sadly, but a Bulgarian would also notice next to the church an almost completely destroyed wooden shanty – that is what is left from the former Bulgarian convent, the place in which many of the greatest figures in Bulgarian revival have stayed and created. The municipality in Istanbul won?t allocate funds for the convent and it is right. It is part of the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage and its recovery should be our care. I hope that the volunteers from Mizia foundation will engage with this cause too.