Church of St. Eugenios in Trebizond

The Church of St. Eugenios is around 190 m east of the Citadel of Trebizond located on a small hill overlooking the eastern ravine. It was originally a basilica rebuilt in its present form of a domed triple-apsed church, with central apse pentagonal on the exterior, and pastophories slightly horseshoe-shaped in plan. The building retains an added north porch; probably there was a southern porch also and almost certainly a narthex or west porch.

The monastery is known to have existed in 1223, so the first period of the church may be earlier than that and bearing in mind its resemblances to the Chrysocephalos. The rebuilding in its present form is likely to have taken place either in 1291 or after the catastrophe of 1340. It had lost frescoes depicting portraits of the Grand Komnenoi from Alexios I to Alexios III (1204-1349).

Its location meant that it tended to get sacked by any invading army that reached the city but failed to take it. In 1222 the Turks got possession of the monastery and destroyed or severely damaged it; and it was burnt down during a civil war in 1340. When Mehmet II finally took Trebizond in 1461 he first said his prayers in this church, which is therefore known as Yenicuma (“New Friday”) Mosque.

Plan by Balance

Map of Trebizond

Sources

The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos by Anthony Bryer & David Winfield

Byzantine Painting at Trebizond by Millet and Talbot Rice

Byzantium’s Other Empire: Trebizond by Antony Eastmond

Byzantine Architecture by Cyril Mango

Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture by ​Richard Krautheimer 

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

“Religious Buildings of Trebizond” by D. Talbot Rice

“The Byzantine Churches of Trebizond” by Selina Balance

“Les Monasteres et les Eglises de Trebizonde” by G. Millet

Resources

Trebizond Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016