An Urban node in the ritual landscape of Byzantine Constantinople: the church of St John the Baptist of the Stoudios Monastery

Giritlioğlu, Dilara Burcu
The Church of St. John the Baptist of the Stoudios Monastery is located in the southwestern corner of Byzantine Constantinople at the Psamathia region, near the Golden Gate of Theodosian Walls. It was built in the mid-fifth century by the consul Studius and used as a monastery church throughout the Byzantine period. This three-aisled basilica is the oldest ecclesiastical structure extant in Istanbul. The church was later converted into a mosque in the late fifteenth century and renamed as Imrahor Ilyas Bey mosque which served the Muslims population of the city until the early twentieth century. In the Republican period, it was turned into a museum under the name of Imrahor Monument. Despite its ruinous condition, the structure managed to preserve its original form. In the course of its history, the monastery church played a leading role in the social and spiritual life of the Byzantine Empire. It was an essential nodal point within the processional route and the ceremonial fabric of the city. For this thesis, the Stoudios Monastery will be studied for the purpose of investigating the reciprocal relationship between the urban ceremony and the monument. By discussing the complex relationship between Byzantines’ memories of the ceremony and their interactions with the associated monuments, the close reading of these public events will elucidate different modes of interaction between memory, experience, and architecture in the context of the ceremony in Byzantine mind.