A church won in a cockfight

As legend would have it, an Armenian community and Greek Orthodox people once upon a time wanted the Ottoman sultan to settle a dispute over the construction of a church. To decide who would construct the church, the sultan asked the parties to conduct a cockfight.
Legends are a shared memory among a specific group in society. Wherever you go, certain people believe in such stories even though most of them are fabricated or based on distorted facts. They even use these legends and myths in their transactions and daily engagements. A number of legends and untrue stories are often told in different parts of the country. However, those who are familiar with the city would know that Istanbul is a place of hundreds of legends through which reality is mixed with dreams and imagination.
h2h2 h2Fishes in Baliklih2 The Balikli district, located on the opposite side of Silivrikapi outside the Istanbul walls, is one of the places where realities and legends are intertwined. The name of the district, which literally means something relevant to fish or fishing, has a unique story that reads as follows. There was a monastery, which had a holy spring outside the walls of Istanbul. Shortly after Istanbul was conquered and the troops entered the city, a man informed a priest who received the news while cooking fish. He did not believe what he heard and said: “If these fishes I am frying here get their lives back, I would believe you.” As soon as he finished what he had to say, the fishes jumped in the waters of the holy spring. Today, the visitors recall this legend when they see the fishes in the pool at the Zoodohos Piyi Church.
h2 Emperor’s fidelityh2 A monastery built alongside one of the famous holy springs of Istanbul was constructed in the time of Byzantine Emperor Leo I andquotthe Thracian.andquot Legends offer different accounts of the construction of the monastery. Reiat Ekrem Koandcu narrates the story of the monastery as follows: Leon was pretty poor and an ordinary man. On a very hot summer’s day he ran into a blind man outside the city walls. He greeted the blind man who told him to take him to a moderate place because it was too hot. Leon wanted to take him to a better place but he saw no shadow or spring around. All of a sudden, he heard a voice coming from the heavens: “There is a swamp on the right side: take him there and wipe mud on his eyes. There is also a spring there. Wash your faces he will regain his vision and you’ll become an emperor.” Later, Leon joined the army. He did become an emperor in a military coup and he never forgot about the old blind man and the swamp. In 457, he ordered the construction of a monastery after Panayia (Virgin Mary). This story was depicted by drawings on the walls of the church that visitors can see even now.
h2 A church won in a cockfighth2 Well, this is not the only legend about the construction of the church. The embossments outside the church tell a different story. On the walls there are two embossments in the shape of roosters, reminding us of an incident from Ottoman history. Istanbul has, throughout its history, been exposed to a number of natural disasters including epidemics, earthquakes and fires. The monastery has been a target of its enemies many times. It was devastated during a Greek riot in the time of Sultan Mahmud II. The Armenian community and the Greek Orthodox people had an argument over the reconstruction of the church and the spring in its backyard. They both wanted to perform the construction. In the end, they asked the sultan to settle the dispute. He ruled for a cockfight and both communities were told to pick a rooster and make them fight. Whoever won the cockfight would be entitled to construct the church. The Greek rooster won the fight and the sultan authorized the Greek Orthodox community to rebuild it. The rooster embossment on a marble platform signifies this incident.
h2 Engravings on stones in the backyardh2 Today, the monastery and the spring attract a great number of visitors from all around the world. In addition to Christians, Muslims also visit. Graves of leading Christian figures are hosted in the church’s backyard. The gravestones, which were disturbed over time, were taken to the church’s backyard during the restoration in the 1930s. Most of them belong to Orthodox Turks. According to Reiat Ekrem Koandcu, the Turks who arrived in Anatolia before the Seljuks and embraced Orthodox Christianity as their religion used the Greek alphabet even though they did not know the Greek language. It is possible to see signs and shapes showing the professions and the attributes of the dead on their graves. Here is one of them:
Kurdonostur in Niide Province is my homeland Prodomostur is my name, grandson of Ivan I was hit on the head at a military barracks made of stone I was just 25 years old Ask blessings for m.