Church of Saint Demetrios Xyloportas
The Church of Saint Demetrios Xyloportas, "known as 'tou Kanavi'," writes A.G. Paspatis, "was an ancient church with a dome, its interior decorated with mosaics. This church was destroyed and the present timber-roofed building was erected in the early years of the 18th century".
Notwithstanding, no other source mentions a Byzantine church -"it is never mentioned in Byzantine writings"- and the only connection which can be made is through the attribute 'Kanavis', linking it with the patrician Nikolaos Kanavos who was living at the time of the first conquest (1204).
Renovated successively in 1730, 1835, 1933 and I960, as evidenced by inscribed tablets on the walls, it was restored most recently in 1995, at the expense of G. Vassilopoulos.
The church is of considerable historical importance as it accommodated the Patriarchate for three years. For a period of about one hundred and forty years after the Fall of the City in 1453 the Patriarchate had no fixed abode. Once Aghia Sophia had been converted into a Muslim shrine the scat of the Great Church of Christ was for a while at the Church of the Holy Apostles, but it was later required to abandon that noble Byzantine church and to be received at the Church of the Virgin Pammakaristos. About a century afterwards it moved from there to the district of the Golden Horn. It left the Church of Saint Demetrios Xyloportas for the Virgin Paramythia to end up eventually, in 1601 or 1602, at the Monastery of Saint George (in the Phanar district) where it has remained ever since.
Churches in Constantinople
Nikos Ghinis – Constantinos Stratos