Church of Saint Euphemia
The ancient city of Chalcedon, founded by the Megarians, lies on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus. Once an extension of Byzantine Constantinople, it is one of the most populous suburbs of the City and the seat of the Metropolis of the same name.
The Church of Saint Euphemia has nothing to do with the magnificent church built over the tomb of the saint by Constantine the Great, and according to Skarlatos Byzantios it is not built even on the same site.
The ancient church must have disappeared about 1555. The Christians who did not abandon the district at the same time settled around the Monastery of Saint Vassi. The monastery was renamed the Monastery of Saint Euphemia, the church being erected in 1694 and re-established in 1832.
A very fine Ottoman fountain is incorporated into the outer face of the enclosure wall surrounding the church complex. On entering the courtyard one sees opposite, right, the office building and tombs of the Zaharof family.
The church is of curious shape. From the outer narthex one enters another narthex and from there the main church. One popular tradition states that the saint herself erected the church at the time of the persecutions (in the fourth century), insisting that it was a bathhouse, thus explaining the unusual architecture.
To the right of the outer narthex is the Aghiasma of Saint Paraskevi, transferred there from a neighbouring street because its Turkish owner kept it sealed up. There is also a large icon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council.
The church templon is a very fine one and the 'despotic' icons (the principal icons of Christ and the Virgin, to the right and left of the royal doors leading into the sanctuary) are covered by silver revetments. There are also some treasures that have been preserved and brought here from the earlier building. An embroidered Epitaphios - for covering the bier of Christ during Good Friday ceremonies - hangs on the left; it is dated 1741.
The church, which now stands in the middle of the picturesque old market-place of Chalcedon, was renovated recently at the expense of Socrates Kokkalis.
Churches in Constantinople
Nikos Ghinis – Constantinos Stratos