Pantokrator Church, Istanbul
The Pantocrator Church was a former monastery church and one of the most important historic landmarks of the Byzantine period. The monastry and south church was built by the Empress Eirene, wife of John II Comnenus, prior to her death in 1124 and dedicated to St. Saviour Pantocrator. This churh preserves a good deal of its original decoration. After the Empress Eirene death her husband John II Comnenus decided to construct a new churh to the north of Eirene Church and dedicated it to the Virgen Eleousa, the Merciful or Charitable. It is somewhat smaller but approximately similar to the Eirene’s church. This church unfortunately lost its original decorations. After north church was completed, John II decided to join two churches by a chapel. The main purpose of the chapel was to use as mortuary for the imperial Comnenian family. The first person buried here was the Empress Eirene. In 1960’s her sarcophagus was moved to the Archaeological museum, later moved to Hagia Sophia Museum.
The monastry was one the most renowned in Byzantian period. It was including a hospice for old men, an insane asylum and a famous hospital.
During the Latin occupation after the IV. crusade, the complex was the see of th e Venetian clergy and also used as an imperial palace by the last Latin Emperor, Baldwin. After the city was reconquered by Byzantines in 1261, the monastery was used again by Orthodox monks. After the city was conquered by Mehmet II, the churh was converted into a mosque and monastry was converted for a short while into a madrasa until Fatih Complex was completed. The monastry rooms was vanished later periods.
Up to a few years the building was in a desolate state. Now it is added to the UNESCO watchlist of endangered monuments. During the recent years it underwent extensive restoration.
Pantocrator Church on Google Maps