CATHOLIC CHURCH
İskender Paşa Mah. Sümer Sok. No: 24-26
Tel: +90 (0) 462 321 21 92
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On January 1, 1845, by order of the Russian Tsar Nicholas 1, a group of eight Capuchin friars-bishops (of the Franciscan order, born in Italy during the Medieval period) were banished from Russian Georgia and arrived in Trabzon on January 21. Thanks to the support of the French Consulate Clairambault, they founded an “association” there: They bought a plot of land where they could construct a house. They hung a painting they had brought from the Russian city of Tbilisi called “Maria vigente sul bambino dormiente tranquillo”, while the Russian Consulate donated a bell forged in the laminating mill of Mjoskova (1846).

After the surrounding land was systemized, Filippo Mazzoni, the Italian Superior Friar, prepared a ceremony for October 4 in honor of the first stone set in place for the construction of the church. All the Christians, Catholics and foreigners were present in Trebisonda for the event, but for various reasons the construction of the church was constantly suspended: bad weather conditions, economic problems, and the rebellion of the Greek Orthodox who thought they were being invaded by Catholics, Latins, etc.

Thus the Church of Santa Maria was opened on February 2, 1874, but consecrated on March 19 of the same year.

From 1862 to 1864, the new convent and main building were constructed. This new convent was built completely in stone and backed up against the mountains, similar to a Medieval castle. The external cornices of all the doors and windows were decorated with handworked stone.

The church was built in the Roman Baroque style with three principal naves. The two external naves include the lateral altars, altars that historically were consecrated in honor of San Francesco and San Antonio and today have been reconsecrated in honor of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Internally, four main columns support the church and join the beams.The walls are reinforced with steel beams that extend from one end of the ceiling to the other, to resist eventual seismic activity.

To the right of the main altar is a painting of “Maria Vergine di Trebisonda”. An oil on canvas, it was painted in a style inspired by the period of Raffaele which together bring to mind the so called “Italian Transformations” of the 17° and 18° centuries. The author of the painting is unknown. Friar Filippo Mazzoni transported this painting, hidden under his cape, from Tbilisi to Trebisonda in January 1845. In April 1988 it was stolen, however on the right side of the church hangs a copy in its place.

The foundation of the altar in sculpted and clay stone is the work of Friar Luca Borciani (1886), while the present marble altar is a donation from the at the time Archbishop of Smirne, Mons. Giovanni Boccella

Paintings of prominent historical figures are conserved in this antique convent: S.Peter, the founder of the first Christian community, S. Andrea ve Patron Saint S.Eugenio of Trazbon. The actual church is considered by the Turkish government to be a “historic work” in itself.