Everyone is welcome
Originally known as “Sant’Antonio di Padova,” the St. Anthony Catholic Church (Sent Antuan Katolik Kilisesi) is located on the bustling and well-known İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district on the European side. The church is about half a kilometer from the beginning of the street (in Galata), on the right side of the street. But please be attentive not to walk past it, as you will find the church in the inner courtyard.
Although this church is the largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul, it welcomes people of all religions and backgrounds. St. Anthony Catholic Church is indeed one of the city’s most noteworthy churches and has a particularly important historical significance.
St. Anthony Catholic Church was built to serve the Italian community living in Istanbul. The impressive red-brick building was originally constructed by Italian Franciscan priests on the same site in 1724 but was demolished in the early 20th century to make way for a tram line.
Designed by architect Giulio Mongeri (1875-1953), the St. Anthony Catholic Church was rebuilt and completed in 1912.
The church’s architecture reflects neoclassical style with its tall bell towers. Inside the church, there are beautiful frescoes, stained glass windows, and decorative ornaments. The main altar is adorned with intricate carvings and religious artworks.
The church has two organs. The main organ
s, built by Italian Mascioni (Cuvio, Varese) in 1947 and brought to the church in 1948, located above the entrance. It is the largest organ in Turkey.
Who was St. Anthony of Padua?
Originally known as ‘Sant’Antonio di Padova´, St. Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese Catholic priest (1195-1231), the most famous disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. He was known as a miracle worker and is the patron saint of finding lost items and people.
More information: St. Anthony
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, churches across Istanbul, both on the city’s Asian and European sides, celebrate.
Churches open their doors not only to their Christian congregations but also to representatives of other faiths. In fact, celebrating holy days of other religions has been a longstanding tradition in Istanbul since the Ottoman era. It is not uncommon to see conservative Muslim women, wearing headscarves, visiting churches, lighting candles, and making wishes.
One of the most visited Christmas Mass churches in Istanbul is the St. Anthony Catholic Church. Furthermore, it is the most beautifully and majestically decorated Christmas church in Istanbul, attracting many people on December 24th and 25th. During this time, Christmas carols are sung, and masses are held in four languages (English, Italian, Turkish, and Polish).
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2024.