Christ Pantocrator, “Ruler of All,” gazes down in glory from the ceiling of a dome in the Church of the Holy Savior in the Country (Chora Church, now the Kariye Museum) out by Istanbul‘s western City Walls.
Imagine the artistry of this Byzantine masterpiece! The painstaking selection of tiny bits of colored and gilded glass, the subtle shading of color in the eyes and beard, the exquisite care taken to set the pieces in the mortar so they reflected the light just right.
Many of Constantinople’s churches would have been similarly decorated, but they did not survive the ravages of time and decline as did this small neighborhood church in a distant neighborhood out by the mighty walls.
When you travel to Turkey, if you have at least three days in Istanbul, don’t miss the splendid mosaics and murals in the Kariye Museum!