During the Crimean War, the need was felt for an Anglican church to minister to British sailors and others in Istanbul.  In 1856, as soon as the surviving British soldiers were back home, a public appeal was made by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (S.P.G.) dated February 15th, 1856, and supported by a Ietter from the Archbishop of Canterbury,  Archbishop John Sumner.

Ten weeks after this appeal had been made by S. P. G., a public meeting was held in London, under the presidency of H. R. H. the Duke of Cambridge, the Commander-in-Chief; and the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
               I. Proposed by Earl Granville, Lord President of Her Majesty's Council;
                  Seconded by Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, G.C.B., who had commanded  the Naval Forces in the Crimea:
                "That an enduring Monument to our gallant Countrymen, who have fallen in the late War, is demanded
                 by the  general feeling of the Nation."

             II.  Proposed by His Grace the Duke of Norfolk;
                 Seconded by the Earl of EIgin and Kincardine:
                "That the most suitable Memorial would be an edifice in which Almighty God might, from
                generation to generation, be worshipped, according to the rites and usages of the Church
                of England; and that such a Memorial Church be erected at Constantinople. "

          III.   Proposed by the lord Bishop of Oxford;
                Seconded by the Right Hon. Sidney Herbert, M. P:
              "That liberal contributions be earnestly solicited for the Erection and Endowment of     
               'the Memorial Church' and that the Committee already appointed be authorized to carry into
               effect the resolutions of this Meeting."

More than two thousand churches made collections towards the memorial fund on the Day of Thanksgiving for the Restoration of Peace: private subscriptions flowed in, including a gift of, £ 500 from the Queen and the Prince Consort (Prince Albert), and the committee, with £ 17,000 in hand, offered prizes of £ lOO, £ 50 and £ 25 for the best designs for the Church.
In 1856 a competition was held to choose the architect.  Forty-six entries were received, and the winners of the prizes were respectively William Burges (1827-1881), George Edmund Street (1824-1881) and George Frederick Bodley (1827–1907). 
Burges’s design was later found in need of greater expenditure than had been anticipated and the selection committee canceled his choice in 1863. Street’s design was accepted with minor modifications. Street was also, a few years later, the architect of the royal court of justice in London.
Meanwhile, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Stratford de Redcliff, asked the Sultan, H. I. M  Abdulmedjid to provide a suitable land for this memorial church.
Abdulmedjid purchased the land on which the Church now stands, from its original owners, and donated it to the British Government on August 3th, 1858.

The last public act of long-serving (17 years) British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Stratford Canning 1st Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe (1786-1880) was to lay the foundation-stone of the new Church on 19 October 1858. He had already retired and left Istanbul four days later.
Stratford Canning 1st Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, circa 1860
The ceremony is described in Stanley Lane Poole’s “Life of Stratford Canning”:

"On 19th October 1858 a great assembly of merchants
and other British residents met together on the brow
of the hill of Pera, where a noble site had been
given by the Sultan at the Ambassador request
for the foundation of a Memorial Church - a momument at
once to the brave Englishmen who had fallen in the
Iate war, and of the progress of religious freedom
which had made the erection of an Anglican church,
hard by a Mosque, a possibility in a Mohammedan
country. And now the foundation stone was to be
laid; and who could worthily lay it but the white-
haired statesman who had spent his life in the defence
of liberty of conscience . So Lord Stratford stood
before the multitude and spoke solemn last words to
the people, he dwelt on the.changes which had made
such a ceremony possible in Turkey  and he bade them
consider how henceforward every Christian who sailed
to the Golden Horn would see the Memorial Church
commanding the slope of the hiII, and would think of
                the victory of free religious worship, while he remem-
bered the successes of the battlefield, and the deeds
of those who had fallen in the fight over there to the
eastward amid the Crimean hills."
Then he laid the stone saying;
 "In the faith of Jesus Christ we place this foundation
        stone in the Name of God the Father, God the Son,
        and God the Holy Ghost."

A contemporary engraving of the laying of the foundation stone shows the Imam of the mosque alongside, watching from the balcony of his minaret to call the Muslim faithful to their prayers.
Hacı Mimi mosque was built in the 16th century. It was destroyed in the early twentieth century and remained for a long time abandoned. Thanks to the efforts of the inhabitants of the neighborhood, it was rebuilt in 1959 but with smaller dimensions.
You can see today the proximity between the minaret of the
Hacı Mimi Mosque and the bell tower of the Christ Church
The construction of the Church was delayed until 1864, and then took four years: some of the stone came from the island of Prinkipo, now Büyükada but much was brought from Malta. The corıtractors, employed English masons and local labourers.


The Church was consecrated by the Right Rev. Charles Harris, D.D.  (Doctor of Divinity) , Bishop of Gibraltar, on October 22nd 1868. The congregation filling the Church included H.M. Ambassador and H .M. Consul-General: the Bishop had taken the almost unprecidented step of inviting the Oecumenical Patriarch to send representatives, and he was represented by the Protosyngalos , the Very Rev. Eustathius Cleobulus , with two deacons, and by the Bishop of Pera , the Right Rev. Pamphilius Dionysius, with two more deacons. AIso present were the Archimandrite Eugenius, from Mount Athos , and “a priest of the Roman Communion”.

The Rev. Charles Curtis, who had been in Istanbul as S. P. G. Missionary since 1856, was appointed as the first Chaplain of the Crimean Memorial Church, and remained there until his death in 1896.
The outer door of the Church

Entrance to the Church
Main entrance door to the church

The original funds raised for the building of the Church had not been sufficient for the purchase of all the interior fittings: in particular, there was only a temporary pulpit, and the stained glass in the East window (rose window) was absent. Both these omissions were rectified in the 1880's - the pulpit, designed by Canon Curtis himself, being installed in November 1880, and the East window in the spring of 1885.

The pulpit was constructed locally by a french marble-worker, M. Poirson - the central panel, a circular tablet of porphyry, had been found by a friend of Canon Curtis among the ruins of an old Byzantine church on the island of Halki (today Heybeliada).

The pulpit sits on a base of seven  columns representing the seven churches of Asia

It has inscriptions in Greek, Latin and English epitomise the three major Christian traditions (Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Reformation): "Iesous Christos " and "En touto nika" (ἐν τούτῳ νίκα) ("Jesus Christ " and "In this sign thou shalt conquer") (from Constantine’ vision on the eve  of his victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312).

"Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus" (creditum est)  ("That  which always , everywhere and by all (has been believed)") (St. Vincent of Lérins, 5th century).


 "We preach Christ Crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23).
General view of the pulpit.
Carved wooden hat of the pulpit
The design of the rose window was also by Canon Curtis

The central  light depicts the head of Christ (under restoration 2020), grouped round it are four lights showing the symbols of the evangelists , while twelve circular lights round the outside shew the heads of the eleven apostles.

The Judas light showing , in lieu of a head , three X's  to signify the thirty pieces of silver, on a blood-red ground.
Thirty pieces of silver was the price for which Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, according to an account in the Gospel of Matthew 26:15 in the New Testament. Before the Last Supper, Judas is said to have gone to the chief priests and agreed to hand over Jesus in exchange for 30 silver coins, and to have attempted to return the money afterwards, filled with remorse.
The Thirty Pieces of Silver by Janos Pentelei-Molnar (1878 -1924) Hungarian National Gallery (1909)

Judas Returning the Thirty Silver Pieces  (1629)   (Rembrandt 1606-1669)   Lythe, North Yorkshire, Mulgrave Castle Collection
The baptismal font of the church is made with white marble and is octagonal in shape
The space of the baptismal font with its stained glass


respondens autem Iesus dixit ei sine modo sic enim decet nos implere omnem iustitiam tunc dimisit eum   (Matthew 3:15)
But Jesus, answering, said to him, “Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.


quos cum videret Iesus indigne tulit et ait illis sinite parvulos venire ad me et ne prohibueritis eos talium est enim regnum Dei (Matthew 19:14)

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”


Canon Curtis died in 1896, after forty years’ ministry in Istanbul, twenty-eight of them at the Crimean Church. The new chaplain was the Rev. R. F. Borough. He was making plans for the “completion” of the design of the Church by the provision of a chancel-screen.

In June1914, the Rev. R. F. Borough became chaplain to the British Forces: his place in Istanbul was taken first by the Rev. Dr. W. A. Wigram and after by the Rev. W. S. Longston Day, Chaplain of All Saints’ Church, Moda.

On the return to Istanbul of the Rev. R. F. Borough, a collection was started in Istanbul, Izmir, London, Australia and New Zealand for a memorial  to the British and Dominions forces who fell in the Gallipoli campaign.

It was decided that the memorial should be an oak chancel screen, the “completion” of the Church which R. F. Borough had so much wanted before the war.

The oak screen was made in England: its erection was delayed by the disturbed political situation arising from the Turkish-Greek war of 1922-1923. It was finally brought into Turkey after the departure of the British occupation force in 1923.

The paintings were added between 1999 and 2004.

The rood screen


The rood screen was splendidly painted by Mungo McCosh. Mungo McCosh (1969) is a Scottish artist. He studied fine art at St Martin's School of Art in London and in Glasgow before moving to Istanbul, where he lived for six years.

The artist started work on the Rood screen in 1999. He left Turkey in May 2000 because of the ilness of his wife Alice Carswell. Alice passed away in 2001 and he returned the following year for 3 months to continue work. He repeated this until 2004. In total the screen took two years of work to paint.

Mungo McCosh accepted no fee as he saw it as his thanks to God for giving him the talent to paint, to Christ Church for it's fellowship and the people of Istanbul, where he spent some of the happiest days of his life.

In depicting real people, the painter followed the Italian tradition that artists used friends and colleagues as models for their work. The faces of all the saints are modelled on prominent members and friends of the congregation at the time. As a painter, Mungo McCosh favored this approach believing that it helps the viewer to realize that these saints were real humans.

The people depicted on the rood screen of the Crimean Memorial Church are all real people, although not all of them lived when the painter painted them.

Now let us consider one by one the people represented on the Rood screen.

The doors of the rood screen
Two Seraphim protect the main doors of the Rood screen.  The prophet Isaiah tells us that the seraphim are six-winged “fiery” angels who surround God as He sits upon His exalted throne and who worship God continually (Isaiah 6). The seraphim also minister to the Lord and serve as His agents of purification, as demonstrated by their cleansing of Isaiah’s sins before he began his prophetic ministry.




The word “seraphim” is the plural form of the Hebrew root word “saraph,” which means, “to burn.” The implication here is that these attendant angels burn with love for God. The seraphim seem to bear a resemblance to humans, as Isaiah describes them as having faces, feet, hands, and voices (Isaiah 6:2-7). Each of the seraphim is described as having six wings: two wings used to cover their face, two wings used to cover their feet, and the remaining two used to fly.The faces of Seraphim here belong to various friends.


On the right wing of the door we see the St. John the Baptist who’s wearing an Anatolian shepherd cloak and holding a lamb symbolising the Christ.

John the Baptist ((late 1st century BC – AD 28–36)) is a Jewish prophet of priestly origin who preached the imminence of God’s Final Judgment and baptized those who repented in self-preparation for it; he is revered in the Christian church as the forerunner of Jesus Christ.        

According to the New Testament, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were relatives. John also baptized Jesus in the Jordan River

The Baptism of Christ by Bartolome Esteban Murillo  (1617 – 1682)
The person in front of St. John the Baptist is Saint Michael. Saint Michael the Archangel is referenced in the Old Testament and has been part of Christian teachings since the earliest times. Saint Michael has four distinct roles. First, he is the Enemy of Satan. He defeated Satan and ejected him from Paradise  Secondly, he is the Christian angel of death: at the hour of death, Saint Michael descends and gives each person the chance to redeem oneself before passing. Saint Michael's third role is weighing peoples' merits (hence the saint is often depicted holding scales) on Judgment Day. And finally, Saint Michael is the Guardian of the Church.


The Archangel Michael, on the door, is a portrait of the great uncle of the artist, Major Edward McCosh MC, who was killed in action in France in 1918. As the screen was erected to commemorate members of the British armed forces killed at Gallipoli, the painter wanted to depict a soldier in the uniform worn at that time.

Here, he is shown as a warrior defeating the devil but he’s dressed as a First World War soldier and instead of a bullet we see the Rose of England in his riffle (as well as the oak tree being the national tree of England, the red rose is also accepted as the national flower of England).

The rose of England in Botanic Gardens Park, Belfast


On the left wing of the door we have Mary the Theotokos (Mother of God) and in her hands is God holding a Turkish simit (Ring-shaped pastry dotted with sesame) which is a symbol of eternity, a circle.

 “Theotokos  enthroned” and the Child Jesus; Virgin Mary depicted sitting in a throne
in this late 9th century mosaic; Hagia Sophia(apse), Istanbul.

In front of Mary the Theotokos we see Archangel Gabriel with his beautiful blue wings and his lily, a symbol of purity.

The Bible shows that Gabriel’s primary responsibility is to serve as a spiritual messenger. He seems to be specifically tasked with delivering messages from God to human beings.

In the background you’ll see the doors of this church. So doors lead into doors which lead to Paradise
and for Christians Christ is the door.


On the South side of the Rood screen we have the figure of Elijah. He’s considered the representative of the great Hebrew prophets and he was a very, ascetic figure.

Elijah (Hebrew Eliyyahu), (9th century BC), is a Hebrew prophet and miracle worker who ranks with Moses in saving the religion of Yahweh from being corrupted by the nature worship of Baal. Baal, god worshipped in many ancient Middle Eastern communities, especially among the Canaanites, who apparently considered him a fertility deity and one of the most important gods in the pantheon. Elijah’s name means “Yahweh is my God” and is spelled Elias in some versions of the Bible. The story of his prophetic career in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reigns of Kings Ahab and Ahaziah is told in 1 Kings 17–19 and 2 Kings 1–2 in the Bible.

Elijah claimed that there was no reality except the God of Israel, stressing monotheism to the people with possibly unprecedented emphasis.

You will see behind him the city of Istanbul and in the Rood screen. Istanbul symbolizes the heavenly City.


On the North side of the screen is Moses the giver of the law. He had that mysterious trip up to mountain Sinai, encountered God and received the law written on stone.

Moses  is  the most important prophet in Judaism, and an important prophet in Christianity, Islam,  and a number of other Abrahamic religions. In the biblical narrative he was the leader of the Israelites and lawgiver and the authorship of the first five books of the bible, the Torah.

Here he was portrayed with the Ten Commandments which constitute the moral life of Christianity.

The person depicted as Moses is a journalist based in Turkey since 1989, and has corresponded for a variety of print and broadcast media including The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Economist, TIME, The Art Newspaper and CNN.


On the South side of the screen, next to the prophet Elijah we see Janani Jakaliya Luwum (c. 1922 – 17 February 1977). He was the archbishop of the Church of Uganda from 1974 to 1977 and one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa. He was arrested in February 1977 and died shortly after. Although the official account describes a car crash, it is generally accepted that he was murdered on the orders of the President Idi Amin.


Janani Jakaliya Luwum   (c. 1922 – 17 February 1977)

As is traditional with depictions of martyred saints he is holding the means
of his death, in this case a bullet.
He is recognised as a martyr by the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. His statue is among
the Twentieth Century Martyrs on the façade above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London.

He is represented by an Sudanese refugee.

Next to Janani Jakaliya Luwum we have Thomas Cramner (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556).


He was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI (the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, and England's first monarch to be raised as a Protestant) and, for a short time, Mary I (She was the only child of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon). He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. The Holy See is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of royal supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm.

Cranmer's brief reform movement was overturned when Mary I came to the throne in 1552. Mary, a firm Roman Catholic, blamed Cranmer for her mother's divorce. She quickly had Cranmer tried and sentenced to death for treason. The sentence was not carried out, though, and Cranmer was tried anew for heresy.

During his trial, Cranmer sensibly recanted his reform views and affirmed the supreme authority of the Pope and the physical presence of Christ in the bread and wine of Communion. He signed an official document renouncing his reformist views.

Despite this recantation, he was convicted of heresy and sentenced to death. On March 21, 1556 he was burned at the stake at Oxford.

As the flames rose about him, Cranmer renounced his previous recantation and held out the treacherous right hand that had signed the documents, so that it might be the first consumed by the fire. His last words were "And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished."

He is holding in his left hand the prime national cross of England.

The figure belongs to an United Kingdom government employee.


Mary Sumner (December 31, 1828 - August 11, 1921) was the founder of Mother’s Union, a worldwide organization of Anglican women and she too is a much revered Saint being the founder of this organization which always helps mothers.
Mary Sumner

The Mothers' Union movement began in 1876. Mary Sumner, the wife of a rector in Hampshire, set up a group to support mothers of all kinds in bringing up their children. After delivering a speech in 1885 to churchgoing women at the Portsmouth Church Congress, she inspired many of them to go back to their parishes and set up similiar groups.

Over time the groups who met as Mothers' Union became embedded in their communities. They forged strong links with local people and the Anglican Church. They worked to support one another and give a voice to disadvantaged women while addressing wider societal issues. Driven by Mary Sumner's passion for the role of women in bringing about a better society, the groups proved very popular.

By 1892, membership had reached 60,000 in 28 dioceses, which was to grow to 169,000 members by the turn of the century. In 1893, annual general meetings were organised, and, in 1896, Mothers' Union Central Council was formed. 

She is handing the baby Constantine (who will found this city) to his mother St. Helena.
St.Helena is holding the chapel at the British consulate which is dedicated to her.
As a detail you see a little red figure, the devil who is about to dive into the waters of the Golden Horn to no longer harm humanity.

The face of Mary Sumner belongs to the wife of a famous BBC correspondent.


Saint Helena  or Helena of Constantinople (c. 250 – c. 330 C.E.), was born in Bithynia, Asia Minor (present-day Turkey).
Bithynia map

She was the consort of Emperor Constantius Chlorus. They had a son who would become Constantine I also known as Constantine the Great, the first Roman emperor to become a Christian. St. Helena, who converted as well, played a significant role in re-establishing Christianity in the Holy Land Sites. She allegedly rediscovered several Christian sites in the Holy Land, which had been converted to pagan temples, and she had these sites rededicated to Christianity. In particular, she is renowned for discovering the site of Calvary (the hill on which Jesus was crucified) where she claimed to find the cross upon which Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified.. St. Helena died circa 328 in Nicomedia (present-day İzmit, Turkey). She was canonized as a Saint in both the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, and is still venerated today.

The face belongs to the wife of a former Director of the Islamic and South Asian Department at Sotheby's Auction House in London.

At the next panel, in the background we see Hagia Sophia, the Church of the Holy Wisdom in the city of Constantinople, Istanbul.

The painting in front of the Hagia   Sophia belongs to St. John Chrysostom, (born 347—died September 14, 407). He was the Archbishop of Constantinople, an important Early Church Father and biblical interpreter. The zeal and clarity of his preaching, which appealed especially to the common people, earned him the Greek surname “Chrysostomos “meaning “golden-mouthed”, anglicized as Chrysostom. His rigor and reformist zeal led him to exile and death.  His relics were brought back to Constantinople about 438, and he was later declared a doctor (teacher) of the church.
A Byzantine mosaic of John Chrysostom (Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστομος- Ioannis Chrisostomos) from the Hagia Sophia.


The face of the  current patriarch, Bartholomew 1,  is used to represent his predecessor St. John Chrysostom.

The last painting of the the South side of the screen is St. Andrew represented as a Bosphorus fisherman, having the face of a banker in Scotland.

Andrew the Apostle (Greek: Andreas), also called Saint Andrew, was an apostle of Jesus according to the New Testament. He is the brother of Saint Peter. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called (Greek: Protokletos). According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople.

He was born between AD 5 and AD 10 in Bethsaida, in Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them "fishers of men". In The Gospel According to John, Andrew is the first Apostle named, and he was a disciple of St. John the Baptist before Jesus’ call.

The Chronicle of Nestor says he preached along the Black Sea to Kiev. Therefore, he became a patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. According to Hippolyte of Rome, André preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is mentioned in the Apocryphal Acts of Andrew. According to tradition, he founded the siege of Byzantium (later Constantinople and Istanbul) in 38 AD. According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople.

He is said to have travelled to Greece to preach Christianity, where he was  sentenced to death by crucifixion by the Romans, but asked to be crucified on a diagonal cross as he felt he wasn't worthy to die on the same shape of cross as Jesus crucified. He was crucified at Patras on an X-shaped cross (St Andrew’s cross)   in AD 60.

St Andrew’s cross

This is represented by the diagonal cross, or saltire, on Scotland's flag. .His cross, in white on a blue background, remains the proud symbol of Scotland today and forms a central component of the Flag of the Union of Great Britain.

Saint Patrick's Saltire or Saint Patrick's Cross is a red saltire (X-shaped cross) on a white field, used to represent the island of Ireland or Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Cross 

Saint George's Cross, also called the Cross of Saint George, is a red cross on a white background. Saint George became associated as "patron saint" of England after the English reformation. Since the early modern period, his flag came to be identified as the national flag of England.
Saint George's Cross

The national flag of the United Kingdom (Union Jack, also known as the Union Flag) is composed of Cross of Saint Andrew counterchanged with the Cross of Saint Patrick, over all the Cross of Saint George.
Union Jack


St. Thomas of India is represented as a Tamil refugee holding the rabbit of the church. St. Thomas of India was the Apostle who brought Christianity to Asia, especially to India.

Thomas the Apostle, also called Didymus ("twin"), was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. Thomas is commonly known as "Doubting Thomas" because he doubted Jesus' resurrection when first told of it (as related in the Gospel of John alone); later, he confessed his faith, "My Lord and my God," on seeing Jesus' crucifixion wounds.

According to traditional accounts of the Saint Thomas Christians of modern-day Kerala in India, Thomas is believed to have travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as the Malabar Coast which is in modern-day Kerala. According to their tradition, Thomas reached Muziris (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in the state of Kerala, India) in AD 52. He is often regarded as the patron saint of India, and the name Thomas remains quite popular among Mar Thomas Christians of India. He was martyred in Myalpur, near Madras in AD 72

Christianity is India's third-largest religion after Hinduism and Islam, with approximately 28 million followers, constituting 2.3 percent of India's population (2011 census).

Next to St. Thomas of India we’ve St. Alban, the first martyr of the British Isles.


Alban lived in the early third century in the Roman city of Verulamium, just down the hill from where the Cathedral stands today. One day he gave shelter to a stranger fleeing from persecution. This stranger was a Christian priest, now known as Amphibalus. While sheltering the priest, Alban was inspired by how important faith was to the priest and asked to be taught more about Christianity.

It was not long until the Roman authorities caught up with Amphibalus. However, Alban’s new-found faith would not allow him to let the authorities arrest the priest. Instead, Alban exchanged clothes with Amphibalus and was arrested, allowing the priest to escape.

Alban refused to renounce his beliefs and the magistrate ordered that he should receive the punishment intended for the escaped priest. Upon this ruling, Alban was led out of Verulamium and up the hillside where he was beheaded.

Alban is honoured as Britain’s first saint, and his grave on this hillside quickly became a place of pilgrimage.


Next to Saint Alban we have Pope Gregory I, commonly known as Gregory the Great. He was bishop of Rome from September 3, 590 until his death. He is known to have initiated the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregorian Mission, to convert then-pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity.

Gregory the Great, is the 64th Pope of the Catholic Church. He is the author of major works which have marked and still mark the history of the Church. Born around 540, he was elected pope in 590 and died on March 12, 604.

In 572, he was appointed prefect of the city, which allowed him to learn about public administration, and thus became the first magistrate of Rome.

Around 574-575, he decided to dedicate himself more radically to God, transforming the family home on Mount Cælius into a monastery dedicated to Saint Andrew, and adopting monastic life as his style of life.

Gregory is ordained deacon (a person having received the first degree of the sacrament of order in the Roman Catholic Church) by Pope Pelagius II before being sent to Constantinople as an apocrisary (permanent representative). He went there accompanied by a few brothers, and stayed there until the end of 585 or the beginning of 586. It was in Constantinople that he wrote his most important exegetical work, “Moralia, sive expositio in Job”.

Back in Rome, Gregory resumed monastic life. He also played the role of secretary and adviser to Pelagius II.

Pelagius II died of the plague on February 7, 590.

Gregory is elected pope by the unanimous acclamation of the clergy and the people.

During his pontificate, the most important act of Gregory I in relation to evangelization was the sending on mission, in 596,   the Benedictine monk Augustine, accompanied by forty monks, in order to restore Christianity in Great Britain ( Gregorian mission). The whole of the Church of England is founded on this mission.

Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

You’ll see in the cope of St.Gregory the Great the saints of the British Isles: St George, St Patrick, St David, St Andrew and two others.

                                         Here he is represented by the face of Pope John XXIII.

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, born November 25, 1881 in, and died June 3, 1963 in Rome, is an Italian Catholic prelate, elected pope on October 28, 1958 under the name of John XXIII. As Bishop of Rome, he was the 261st Pope of the Catholic Church from 1958 until his death.

He is an important person in Turkey-Vatican relations because, before becoming pope, he served in Istanbul as an vicar apostolic  from 1935 to 1944 and preached at Christ Church. First on the religious level, he brought into the liturgy, passages spoken in Turkish. On the diplomatic level, he insisted on the neutrality of the Vatican, in the neutral state of Turkey. His relations with Turkish politicians and bureaucrats were excellent. During the war he played an important role in the rescue of refugees from central Europe to Palestine, especially Jews but also members of the clergy from all over Europe and particularly from Hungary and Bulgaria.

In 2000, his name was given to the street where he lived in Istanbul.

Pope Roncalli Street
The house where he lived in Istanbul

Next to Gregory the Great we have Saint Augustine of Canterbury (born Rome?—died May 26, 604/605, Canterbury, Kent, England). He was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church.

Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to Christianize King Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. 

Soon after his arrival, Augustine founded the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul, which later became St Augustine's Abbey,on land donated by the king.  Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. 

The archbishop probably died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.


 The figure of Saint Augustine of Canterbury is of Saint Michael Ramsey

Arthur Michael Ramsey, Baron Ramsey of Canterbury, PC (14 November 1904 – 23 April 1988) was an English Anglican bishop. He served as the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, so these are successors. 

Ramsey was born in Cambridge. He was educated at King's College School, Cambridge, Repton School and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where his father was president of the college. He graduated in 1927 with a First-class degree in Theology.

Ramsey was ordained in 1928 and became a curate in Liverpool. After this he became a lecturer to ordination candidates at the Bishop's Hostel in Lincoln. During this time he published a book, The Gospel and the Catholic Church (1936). 

In 1952, he was appointed Bishop of Durham. In 1956 he became Archbishop of York and, in 1961, Archbishop of Canterbury. He retired as Archbishop of Canterbury on November 15, 1974.

Michael Ramsey has the four gospels in his mitre and scenes of the Gospel through his cope because he is the writer of the famous book “The Gospel and the Catholic Church”.


Next to Saint Augustine of Canterbury we have St. Cuthbert holding the church of All Saints (Moda-Istanbul).

In this painting, above the left shoulder of St. Cuthbert, on the slope of the hill of Pera we see the Crimean Memorial Church (Christ Church).

The church of All Saints

Cuthbert (c. 634 – 20 March 687) was an Anglo-Saxon saint of the early Northumbrian church in the Celtic tradition. He was a monk, bishop and hermit, associated with the monasteries of Melrose and Lindisfarne. After his death he became the most important medieval saint of Northern England, with a cult centred on his tomb at Durham Cathedral. Cuthbert who evangelized Northumbria is regarded as the patron saint of Northumbria. 

Cuthbert was born in Dunbar, now in East Lothian, Scotland, in the mid-630s, some ten years after the conversion of King Edwin of Northumbria to Christianity in 627, which was slowly followed by that of the rest of his people. 

After a divine vision, Cuthbert, a shepherd, entered (651) the Northumbrian monastery of Melrose (Mailros) under Abbot St. Eata. In 661 Melrose was struck by the plague, afflicting Cuthbert and killing the prior, whom he succeeded. Thereafter, he aided plague victims while missioning throughout the countryside, reportedly performing miracles.

When in 663/664 at the Synod of Whitby the Northumbrians decided to adopt Roman rather than Celtic church customs, Abbot-Bishop St. Colman of Lindisfarne, one of the leaders of the Celtic party, resigned his see in opposition to Whitby. In 664 Eata and Cuthbert—who, although trained in the Celtic tradition, firmly supported the synod’s decisions—were transferred to Lindisfarne, Eata as bishop and Cuthbert as prior.

Cuthbert retired in 676, driven by a desire for a contemplative life. With the permission of his abbot, he moved to a place now known as St Cuthbert's Cave. Shortly thereafter, Cuthbert settled on Inner Farne Island, two miles from Bamburgh, off Northumberland, where he indulged in a life of great austerity.  At first he received visitors, but later he confined himself to his cell and only opened his window to give his blessing. He could not refuse an interview with the holy abbess and royal virgin Elfleda, daughter of Oswiu of Northumbria, who succeeded St Hilda as abbess of Whitby in 680.

In 684, King Ecgfrith of Northumbria made him bishop of Hexham, a seat he exchanged with Eata in 685 for that of Lindisfarne. But after Christmas 686, he returned to his cell on Inner Farne Island, where he died on March 20, 687 after a painful illness.

The face of St Cuthbert belongs to a  great friend of this church, Mr. Niall Chadwick who was director of an Istanbul based project to help refugees at the time the screen was painted.


Before  Moses we have St Hilda of Whitby. She was an outstanding Saint on early English history by helping to unite the church calendar with the Europeans.

Hilda of Whitby (614–680) is a  Christian saint and the founding abbess of the monastery at Whitby, which was chosen as the venue for the Synod of Whitby. An important figure in the Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England, she was abbess at several monasteries and recognised for the wisdom that drew kings to her for advice.

Hilda’s life is recalled  by Bede, the 8th-century historian of Christian England.

Hilda was converted to Christianity at a time of immense political and religious change. Following the collapse of Roman rule in Britain in the fifth century and the arrival of the Angles and Saxons, the country fragmented into small warring kingdoms. Hilda was born into one of the most powerful kingdoms, Northumbria, She was the great-niece of the Northumbrian king, Edwin, and she and her sister Heres with were raised in his court after their father was murdered.

At this time Christianity was spreading across the country. Missions arrived from two different traditions: the Celtic Christians in Ireland and the Roman Christians in Italy. Hilda was baptised into the Christian faith along with King Edwin in about 627. They were converted by Paulinus, who was part of the Roman mission led by St Augustine, but Hilda became more influenced by the teachings of the Irish monk Aidan, the Bishop of Lindisfarne.

According to Bede, Hilda lived a secular life until the age of 33, when she became a nun.  Soon afterwards she became the abbess of Hartlepool and in about 657 she founded the monastery at Whitby. Nothing of the original monastery can now be seen, but a Benedictine abbey was founded on the same site in the late 11th century. It is the ruins of that monastery which stand proud on Whitby’s headland today.

In Hilda’s time the abbey was a double monastery, home to both monks and nuns. Double monasteries led by abbesses were common in the fifth to seventh centuries.

She certainly played a role in the politics of her time, notably during the Synod of Whitby, which took place in 664 while she was abbess.

Synod of Whitby, was the meeting held by the Christian Church of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria in 664 to decide whether to follow Celtic or Roman usages. It marked a vital turning point in the development of the church in England.

The prestige of Whitby is reflected in the fact that King Oswiu of Northumberland chose Hilda's monastery as the venue for the Synod of Whitby, the first synod of the Church in his kingdom. He invited many churchmen  to attend the synod. Most of those present, including Hilda, accepted the King's decision to adopt the method of calculating Easter currently used in Rome, establishing Roman practice as the norm in Northumbria.

Hilda suffered from a fever for the last seven years of her life, but she continued to work until her death on 17 November 680. In her last year she set up another monastery, fourteen miles from Whitby, at Hackness.


She is represented holding flowers because the figure used is Alice McCosh (born Alice Carswell) (1966 – 2001) who is the late wife of the artist Mungo McCosh. Alice had a passionate interest in natural history and the environment. Whether it was enjoying a wildflower meadow in Scotland, or studying the green turtle, these were the things that inspired her. Although natural history was her over-riding interest, whatever Alice did, she did with great energy and with her whole heart.

She obtained a geography degree from St Andrew’s University, Scotland and then set off to Istanbul where she taught English at Bosphorus University. Alice fell in love with Turkey and Istanbul and spent 10 very happy years there, becoming fluent in Turkish.

Alice made friends wherever she went. Friends from Istanbul have planted a tree in her memory in the Remembrance Garden at Bosphorus University.


She was the director of the Natural Life Protection Association in Istanbul (Doğal Hayatı Koruma Derneği - DHKD), which is why the flowers are covered in bugs. These are all real insects seen on Büyükada (Prinkipo-Prince island) where Alice and Mungo McCosh lived for some time.

Alice’s great strength of character and bravery became apparent when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. She made the decision to leave Turkey to receive treatment in the UK. With remarkable courage she resumed her life in the UK. She never complained or wallowed in self-pity. She later moved up to Scotland, where she worked as long as she could, raising funds for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and living in rural Scotland. This was where Alice spent her final happy years before she died in 2001. Just before Alice died she visited Istanbul. She was very weak. She managed to visit the Church one last time for Easter Sunday.

Her family set up the Alice McCoshTrust in 2006 to perpetuate Alice’s name and encourage other talented, energetic youngsters to pursue the things that Alice loved.  The Trustees are Eleanor Carswell (Alice’s sister), Rachel Lewis (a friend of Alice’s) and Mungo McCosh her husband and artist of the rood  screen paintings.

All these people of the Rood screen are represented in front of the superb panorama of Istanbul.


The organ was made in England in 1911 by William Hill &Sons, who also built organs
for York Minster, Ely, Worcester and Manchester cathedrals.

The wrought-iron staircase was also brought out from London.

The panels of the organ-loft are decorated with paintings of biblical scenes by Erica Beard who was a member of this congregation and who currently lives in Italy.


The central picture here is Judgment because often in the western and  eastern churches Judgment was portrayed at the West end of the church. We’re going to examine these pictures that have a biblical narrative from start to finish.

In the West gallery where we have the organ built at the turn of the century we have the main picture of judgment: the Sheep and the Goats.  Christ tells the story of Sheep and Goats and they are divided in judgment, the judgment of humanity.


The Parable of the Sheep and Goats is found in Matthew 25:31-46.

In this parable, Jesus uses the example of a shepherd who separates his sheep from his goats in order to help his followers understand what judgement will be like.

Jesus explains that people will be separated into two groups:
  • those who have lived good lives and believed in God will be put on one side and have a place in Heaven
  • those who have rejected the belief in God and sinned in their lives will be placed on the other side and will go to Hell

In this scene of judgment we see a river of life coming down from the eye of God, the Holy Trinity. You see the Dove of the Holy Spirit the all-seeing eye of God who judges our deeds and you see the bridge of Mostar with trees of life. It’s the rebuilt bridge of Mostar, a symbol of reconciliation and peace after war. And then below for those of us who are goats and who commit sin there is hellfire at the bottom of the picture.

The artist portray in this gallery screen,  pictures of the Angels as symbols of that praise that not only they offer before the the presence of God but that we on earth offer every morning. The Anglican tradition, Anglican communities start their day by singing; O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  We have these angels blowing the trumpets to accompany our music here on the earth.


These gallery pictures in the West end tell the story from the beginning. The judgment is the end, the crossroads between this life and eternity. We start with Adam and Eve. Here Erica Beard has painted an African man, the original man and a white woman just to show the inclusivity of the modern church and of humanity. You’ll see the Apple hanging from the tree with which Adam was tempted. 


In the center of this triplet we’ve got Noah’s Ark. Then you see the Dove carrying the olive branch suggesting that all the animals and creation will be saved. There is dry land and there’s a rainbow which is the symbol of hope.

To the right of this triptych pictures you’ve got Moses walking through the Dead Sea leading the Hebrews out of slavery in the promised land out of Egypt. There is water rising up either side of him, the people following on.


In these three pictures we see Abraham and Isaac. Isaac was going to be offered up as the sacrifice as we know in the great Abrahamic traditions and then God gives him ram to sacrifice. People believe that it is a story in fact about the end of human sacrifice in our moral tradition. It is in fact a story about the end of pagan human sacrifice.


In the center picture we’ve got the three Hebrew words, Moshe (Moses), Eliyyahu (Elijah) and David, some of the great central figures of the old testament: Moses the lawgiver, Elijah the leader of the prophets and David who is head of the Davidic house and the  ancestor of  Christ’s family. The Christian gospels claim Jesus descends from the Davidic line or House of David.


There is also a bishop dressed in an Anatolian shepherd’s cloak symbol of the shepherding of the new Israel, the apostolic ministry.


In this  triptych Erica portrays Christ, the good Shepherd, looking out to the west of the place of the setting sun where darkness is and he’s calling the sheep to follow him and it matches the Picture we’ve seen of the bishop in the Anatolian shepherd’s look calling the sheep, the church, to unity.


In this picture you’ve got eleven apostles in Greek letters except Judas, because he betrayed Christ.


And then you get to the Picture of the incarnation. You’ve got Mary a nativity scene in Bethlehem. Christ in her arms a sheep in the stable.  It symbolizes the incarnation which is one of the great focuses of Christian teaching.


The last Supper is portrayed here. Christ with his apostles is sharing the bread and wine which all Christians do every Lord’s Day. Here we see what the sacrifice of Christ means.  Christ makes himself present with us.


And in the center of this particular triptych there is the crucifixion of Christ.


The Ascension of Christ. We see the great sacrifice,  then the triumph over sin and over suffering so our whole screen has brought us in linear direction from creation to judgement through the great historical events of faith.


Finally we see these doves incorporated into the work that Erica has produced.  The Dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the Ruach the great movement of God through physical and supernatural creation and it is the Dove that presides over not only the church but the whole of life, the whole of our living. and the Dove is here representing the progress of man from his creation to his judgment, from his errors to his light.

The organ loft also houses five old flags. The oldest is the British Army standard from the Crimean War. 


The second is the flag of the Diocese of  Gibraltar. 
The Church was consecrated by the Right Reverend Charles Harris, D.D., Bishop of Gibraltar, on October 23nd, 1868

We read the story of the third flag from the independent Anglican weekly "The Church Times" published every Friday in the UK.

Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Harington (1872 – 1940)

The fourth flag belongs also to the British occupation army.

And the fifth one is the Royal Ensign of the HMS Malaya, which carried the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Vahdettin,  from Istanbul into exile on Malta on November 17, 1922.
HMS Malaya


The Turkish carpets in the sanctuary were produced by a woman’s cooperative in Gallipoli (DOBAG), who hold an annual carpet sale in the church and donate a carpet each year.



On one of the steps up to altar there is a memorial to Roger Short, Her Majesty’s Consul-General who was killed in the bombing of British Consulate-General by Al-Qaeda, on 20th November 2003.

1944 - 2003
The reredos depicting Christ the King was restored in 1993 by the Australian artist Earle Backen (1927- 2005) 





Percy Ellen Algernon Frederick William Sydney Smythe, 8th Viscount Strangford 
(26 novembre 1825 - 9 janvier 1869) était un noble britannique et un homme de lettres





Mary holding Jesus
Given by Steven Kimmel, diplomat of USA

Syrian orthodox icon of the transfiguration presented by
Dr. William Taylor (senior anglican priest)

John I: 14
The Coat of Arms for Istanbul’s Church of England Chaplaincy was issued to HM Embassy in Turkey to be used by the English Chaplaincy Council in Istanbul - the historic chaplaincy of the Embassy in Turkey founded in 1582. The Royal College of Arms in London, issued the Arms in 1999. It contains various symbols of The Crimea and The Bosporos as well as the Cross of Constantinople. The motto is represented by a Greek phrase from St John’s Gospel : “And we have beheld His Glory”. The arms were issued after representations to the Duke of Norfolk by HM Ambassador to Turkey Sir Kieran Prendergast and signed by the other Royal Heralds. It is the official arms identifying the English Chaplaincy in Istanbul as registered in the Royal Household of the United Kingdom.


Mehveş Demiren (1959 -), who elaborates interpreting Ottoman and Turkish culture in her ceramic works, addresses a personal milestone in the work entitled “1314”.
It represents the 1314 days patiently spent from the day of her husband’s cancer diagnosis to the day of his death.
The different hues and colours of the ceramic rosettes linked together by wires express the emotional accumulation left by the period experienced by the artist. Each day can be perceived as both separate and unique, but also as part of a whole.
Demiren shares her feelings with art lovers by saying, " it was a painful time but I can't say they were bad days".
Her work is still in the Crimean Memorial Church since September 2015.

After closing in 1972 due to a lack of congregation, Christ Church reopened thanks to the efforts of the present Chaplain, Canon Ian Sherwood.. He led work to restore the derelict building, much of which was performed by a group of Sri Lankan refugees who fled to Istanbul at the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The church was re-consecrated on 10th May 1993.

Since the church was reopened, the crypt has served one of the main areas of the church’s charitable work to help refugees and migrants who find themselves in Istanbul. The Chaplaincy housed over 2000 homeless people and continues to provide assistance to displaced people.

Recently the tower was restored thanks to the work of Romanian and Afghani stonemasons under the employment of a Turkish contractor.

The location of the Crimean Memorial Church (Christ Church) and the Haidar Pasha Cemetery in Istanbul.
The distance between them is about 5 km.

The view of Haidar Pasha Cemetery with the Crimean War Memorial erected in 1857 by Queen Victoria,
from the steeple of the Christ Church
Parents have become childless, babies have become orphans, women were widowed. All of this leaves the United Kingdom grateful for those brave soldiers who shed their blood and lost their lives during the Crimean War. They now lie in peace at Haidar Pasha cemetery, under the earth for which they fell. They sleep there with the prayers that rise to the sky from the Crimean Memorial Church which looks at them from afar and built for their memory.

Address: Şahkulu Mahallesi, Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd. No:52, 34425 Pera/İstanbul, Turkey