Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

Istanbul, Turkey

Bulgarian St. Stephen Church

Bulgarian St Stephen Church (Bulgarian: Църква "Свети Стефан"; Turkish: Sveti Stefan Kilisesi), also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, is a Bulgarian Orthodox church in Balat, Istanbul, Turkey. It is famous for being made of prefabricated cast iron elements in the neo-Byzantine style. The church belongs to the Bulgarian minority in the city.

The Bulgarians of the Ottoman Empire used to pray at the churches of the Phanar Orthodox Patriarchate as they were part of the Rum Millet - the community of the Empire's Orthodox Christians, but the Bulgarian nationalist movement of the nineteenth century advocated the creation of a separate Bulgarian ecclesiastical organization for Bulgarian Orthodox Christians as they considered the Phanar Patriarchate a predominantly Greek institution. These efforts culminated in the recognition of the Bulgarian Exarchate through a firman issued by Sultan Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire in 1870.

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