Church of the Pantocrator, Istanbul

Istanbul's Church of the Pantocrator, now a mosque named Zeyrek Camii, is a former monastery church and one of the most important historic landmarks of the Byzantine period.

However, the structure is in a sad state of neglect so a detour here may only be worthwhile in tandem with a stroll through the narrow streets of the Zeyrek neighborhood.


History of the Church of the Pantocrator

Dedicated to St. Saviour Pantocrator, the monastery was founded by Empress Eirene, wife of John II Comnenus, who completed the south church prior to her death in 1124. She was also the first to be buried here (her sarcophagus was moved in the 1960s to the Archaeological Museum, but now resides in the exonarthex of the Ayasofya).

The northern church was added by the emperor (her husband) after Eirene's death, and dedicated to Virgin Eleousa, the Merciful or Charitable.

The emperor also had the churches connected through the jerry-rigging of a chapel between the north and south church, which also required the demolition of part of the exterior walls of the two buildings.

The church was converted to a mosque in the 15th century.

Quick Facts on the Church of the Pantocrator

Site Information
Names:Church of the Pantocrator
Categories:churches; mosques
Dedication: Christ Pantocrator
Dates:c. 1120
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:41.019773° N, 28.957177° E
Address:Istanbul, Turkey
Hours:Open at prayer times only
Lodging:View hotels near the Church of the Pantocrator
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

More Information

© Helen Betts

Map of the Church of the Pantocrator, Istanbul

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Church of the Pantocrator. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.