Metropolitan church St. Martyr Marinaphone: +359 32 623 276 link: http://www.plovdivskamitropolia.bg/
Metropolitan church St. Martyr Marina
After the recognition of Christianity with the Edict of Milan in 313 AD in the ancient city of Plovdiv were built an episcopal basilica and residence of the spiritual head of the diocese. The temple, existing in the time after this period, was built probably in V century and existed until the end of VI century, because it was destroyed in the Slavic invasions. According to studies of these researchers the temple was dedicated to St. Paul. The temple had been destroyed several times.
In the middle of XVIII century the church was burned down again. Among the first donors in its recovery were Hadzhi Andon, Konstantin Mavrudioglu, Kosta Atanasov and priest Yani. After that the prominent Ivan Koyumdzhioglu from Plovdiv, together with other locals, gathered more funds for the finish of the temple. It was finally completed in 1783 during the time of the Plovdiv Metropolitan, Cyril. In 1828 the construction of a new iconostasis for the temple, a pulpit and a canopy for the Holy See started. The woodcarvers who made this were Kosta Kotsi and Kosta Pasiko of Metsovo, representatives of the Debar carving school. The main donor, who donated funds for the construction of this unique iconostasis, was Dushko Petkov Moravenov of Koprivshtitsa.
Today’s church was built in the mid-nineteenth century, more particularly in 1851, when it was build from the ground with stone. The masters from the famous Bratsigovo school run by Nikola Tomchev – Ustabashiyski worked on the construction. In its essence the church is a basilica, typical of the Renaissance period, consisting of three naves separated from each other by two rows of columns with capitals and semicircular arches between them. The dome is with polyhedral shape. In the western part of the temple there is an open colonnade – narthex which was inscribed with biblical scenes by painter Nikita Odrinchanin in 1858. The total number of scenes are 29, 24 of which are from the Old Testament.
When the construction of the new, bigger temple started, the earlier carved iconostasis was removed and when the church was completed, it was placed again. On the left of the royal doors of the iconostasis there was an icon of the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the Divine Infant, and on the right – an icon of Christ the Savior. Both were painted by Stanislav Dospevski in 1868.
The temple was completed in 1856 and was solemnly consecrated by the Bishop of Plovdiv, Hrisant, on the day of St. Konstantin and Elena – May 21st.
Two old places for church singers are preserved in the temple today. They have octagonal shape and are decorated with encrusted bones and wooden plates. According to surveys, Hristo Baro of Trikala made them 1775.
The wooden steeple of the St. Marina church was built in the northern part of the yard, over the entrance. It was completed in 1869-1870. The temple is a separate building and awakens the curiosity of anyone who visits the temple. It was refurbished in 1953. Today St. Marina is the only Plovdiv temple with the largest number of bells. The temple festival is celebrated on July 17th, when, according to the Orthodox calendar, the memory of St. Martyr Marina is honored. The church also stores fraction of the holy relics of Saint Martyr Marina as a sanctuary.
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