Women have been active in the church that has existed in what is modern day Turkey since New Testament times. A selection of these women's stories will be published here and eventually published as a book. The book will be more extensive than this website.
Today, 8 September, the Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary, the mother of Jesus, features in the mosaics of the Chora Church of the Saviour, Edirne Kapı, Istanbul. This famous former Byzantine Church is decorated with some of the most beautiful mosaics and frescoes. The frescoes are not currently visible because that part of the building is closed for restoration. The mosaics describe the birth and life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the birth of Jesus and his ministry.
In the video below I use photographs I have taken of the mosaics to illustrate the story of Mary’s birth and early life according to the Protoevangelium of James. This is an apocryphal gospel that can be viewed here: Protoevangelium of James
I refer to the text using PJ #1 – the first paragraph in the Protoevangelium of James.
Mary was called to have a key role in God’s plan of salvation for His creation. She was a woman who was ready and willing to say yes to God. Once when a woman in the crowd around Jesus said ‘blessed are the breast that suckled you’ – Jesus turned and said of those who followed him that they were his mother, his sister and brother. The test of our relationship with Jesus is whether we are his disciples.
Almighty and everlasting God,
who stooped to raise fallen humanity
through the child-bearing of blessed Mary:
grant that we, who have seen your glory
revealed in our human nature
and your love made perfect in our weakness,
may daily be renewed in your image
and conformed to the pattern of your Son
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen