Church of St. Anthony of Padua

St. Anthony of Padua Church

St. Anthony of Padua Church is the largest church of the Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul. It is located on İstiklal Avenue[1] in the historic Beyoğlu (Pera) district, the social and cultural center of Istanbul.

It is also known as the Sant’Antonio di Padova Church, S. Antonio di Padova, St. Antoine, or locally as Sen Antuan.

The original St. Anthony of Padua Church was built in 1725 by the local Italian community of Istanbul (known as “Levantines” or locally “levanten”[2]), but was later demolished in the beginning of the twentieth century to make way for the construction of a new tramway. Then in 1906, renowned architects Giulio Mongeri[3] and Edoardo de Nari[4] came together to design the current building constructed on the same location. And in 1912 the new church was re-opened for worship.

Church of St. Anthony of Padua
Church of St. Anthony of Padua on İstiklal Avenue, Istanbul.

The current St. Anthony of Padua[5], along with its adjacent buildings (known as the St. Antoine Apartmanları) on İstiklal Avenue, was built in the Venetian Neo-Gothic and Tuscan-Lombard styles, and was likewise edificed by the local Italian community of the city, mostly of Genoese and Venetian descent, who amounted to 40,000 people at the turn of the 20th century.

Pope John XXIII preached in this church for 10 years, when he was the Vatican’s ambassador to Turkey before being elected as pope. He is known in Turkey with the nickname “The Turkish Pope” because of his fluent Turkish and his often expressed love for Turkey and the city of Istanbul.

The statue of Pope John XXIII
The statue of Pope John XXIII

Visit the church

It is possible for visitors to attend mass at St. Anthony of Padua Church.

Weekend Masses:

Saturday 08.00(English)
19.00 (18.00: nov->mar) (Turkish)
Sunday 10.00 (English)
10.30 (Polish)
11.30 (Italian)
19.00 (18.00: nov->mar) (Turkish)

Weekday Masses:

Mon.-Fri. 08.00 (English)
19.00 (Turkish)

Take a moment to admire the magnificent organ that rests above the entryway. The Italian firm Vincenzo Mascioni (Cuvio Varese) built the triple electric instrument in 1949.

Notes


[1] İstiklal Avenue or İstiklal Street is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. “İstiklal” means “independence”. Located in the historic Beyoğlu (Pera) district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, 1.4 kilometers long, which houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants.

It is surrounded by late Ottoman era buildings (mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries) that were designed with the Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Renaissance Revival, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouveau and First Turkish National Architecture styles; as well as a few Art Deco style buildings from the early years of the Turkish Republic, and a number of more recent examples of modern architecture; starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and ultimately leads up to Taksim Square.

[2] Levantines: The Catholic Christians (mostly Italians-especially Venetian and Genoese) who lived in Anatolian coastal towns during the late Ottoman era, especially in Izmir and in Istanbul. The majority of them are either descendants of traders from the maritime republics of the Mediterranean (such as Venice, Genoa and Ragusa) or of European inhabitants of the Crusader states (especially the French Levantines in Lebanon, Israel and Turkey). The term “Levantines” or locally “levanten” is also applied to their descendants living in modern Turkey and the Middle East.

[3] Giulio Mongeri (b. 1873, İstanbul, d. 1953, Italy) was a Turkish (of Italian-origin) architect. He was one of the most important members of First Turkish National Architecture style. He designed many important buildings in Istanbul and Ankara; such as the Maçka Palas (which houses Armani Café and Gucci) in Nişantaşı and the Neo-Byzantine style Karaköy Palas bank building in Karaköy (Galata), Istanbul; as well as the first headquarters of Türkiye İş Bank in Ankara.

[4] Edoardo de Nari (1874-1954), Italian architect. He was a naval officer in the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy) before he settled down in Istanbul in 1895. He was gifted in many areas and possessed qualifications that allowed him to practice his professional career in foreign lands: architect, engineer, composer, world traveler, and, finally, politician.

[5] St. Anthony of Padua (15 August 1195 – 13 June 1231) is perhaps the most celebrated disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. Born Fernando Martins de Bulhões, also known as Anthony of Lisbon. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born and raised in a wealthy family in Lisbon. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of scripture, he was the second-fastest canonized saint (after St. Peter of Verona) and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946. He is also the saint of finding things or lost people. He is generally pictured with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, who appeared to him in a vision.

Anthony of Padua with the Infant Jesus
Anthony of Padua with the Infant Jesus by Antonio de Pereda.

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