Church of the Life-Giving Font of the Theotokos (Istanbul)
Story Behind the Church's Creation
The site was chosen by Leo due to a divine experience the emperor went through earlier in his life. Leo was walking in a forested area when he saw a blind man who asked him for water to quench his thirst. It was then that Leo heard a message from a voice saying that there was water deep within the woods that the man could drink. The clay from its waters would be able to heal the man's eyes. The Theotokos also prophesied at this time that Leo would one day become emperor of Constantinople. Leo listened to the voice, quenched the man's thirst, and allowed him to gain sight just as the Mother of God proclaimed.
This site was where Emperor Leo decided to build the church in her name. The blessed water continued to work miracles for others and earned the name: "The Live-Giving Spring."
History of the Church After Completion
After serving the Christian people at Constantinople for about 1,000 years, Moslem invaders tore down the church in 1453 after taking over the city of Constantinople. The church was greatly reduced in size and the original stones were used to build a mosque.
During the Greek Revolution in 1821, the small chapel was destroyed. A decade later, a group of Christians received permission to excavate the fallen church to rediscover the blessed waters. After finding the original church's foundations, they built a large and prestigious church on the sacred grounds. The new church was completed on December 30, 1834 and consecrated by Patriarch Constantine in dedication to the Most Holy Theotokos during the year 1835.
The church was once again destroyed by Turks in 1955. A small church now stands at the site where the sacred water still performs miracles to this very day.