Church of St. John Prodromos in Trullo
The Church of St. John the Forerunner (Hagios Ioannis Prodromos en to Troullo) is located in the northwest part of the city on the fifth hill, near the Church of Pammakaristos (Fethiye Mosque). It is a cross-in-square church with a tripartite bema and a narthex. The church has long been identified with Hagios Ioannes Prodromos en to Troullo and dated to the twelfth century. However the identification and the date are not secure.
When the Church of Pammakaristos was made the patriarchal seat in 1456, the Patriarch Gennadius had transferred the nuns previously accommodated there to this building. Ahmed Pasha converted the building into a mosque in the 16th century. In the 1960s, the building was the subject of a heavy-handed restoration, during which large parts of the exterior masonry were rebuilt. The interior was renovated in 2011.
It has also suggested that it dates to the ninth century due to the circular unadorned apses and the circular drum of the dome, which are used in the provinces in the ninth and tenth centuries but not found in the capital. In addition, the alternating bands of ashlar and brick in this building typical of Constantinopolitan construction date from the eighth to the tenth centuries, but not thereafter. The absence of recessed-brick masonry favors this date.
Its eastern end is unusual. All three apses of the bema are semicircular inside and out, a feature uncommon in Constantinople (the other example is Sekbanbaşı). Moreover, the main apse does not communicate with the side rooms. However, the bema likely extended west to include the three eastern bays of the naos. The primary function of the building was funerary. The narthex has at least four arcosolia for burials. Two more arcosolia were located in the naos, each in the middle of the north and south walls.
Aerial photo by István Pi Tóth
From Byzantine Topographic Studies by Paspates (1877)
From the Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection
Plan by Marinis
Architecture and Ritual in the Churches of Constantinople: Ninth to Fifteenth Centuries by V. Marinis
Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul by Wolfgang Müller-Wiener
Converted Byzantine Churches in Istanbul: Their Transformation Into Mosques and Masjids by S. Kirimtayif