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Balıklı The Greek Church of St. Mary of the Spring

But there is no water around and no shelter of shade that he can take the old man under. When young Leo looks around desperately in sadness, he hears a divine voice. The voice says that they will find a spring nearby, the old man will start to see when they wash their face using that water and Leo will be the emperor in the future. When the prophecy comes true and Leo succeeds to the throne in 457, he builds a shrine over the spring and a church, named Panagia. (53) Byzantine emperors and their wives used to visit the spring for sanitary purposes. It was also popular among the people that its surroundings became a recreation area. After the 18th century, Muslims started to call the spring The Holy Spring with Fish (Balıklı Ayazma) considering the fish in the pool. There is a description of two wrestling roosters above the church’s main gate which was put there as a reminder for Greek rooster’s victory over Armenian rooster in a cockfight that took place to solve the conflict between the Greek and Armenian societies during the reconstruction process of the damaged building after the earthquake in 1835. Church garden houses the graves of the patriarch who died in Istanbul after 1841.
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