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My story on the Tate gallery website on 2013-11-11
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A Thousand Natural Shocks An anthology that includes two of my stories. Available now at Amazon. on 2013-11-11
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June 2019
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St Euphemia, an important saint in Orthodox hagiography, was probably the world’s second most famous virgin. She was tortured for her Christianity and, as the final trial of her martyrdom, was thrown to some particularly tolerant lions who merely licked her wounds. A bear, presumably a beast against which the protective power of virginity counted for naught, eventually finished her off.

It is St Euphemia who is to blame for the great split in the Orthodox Church that occurred at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Miaphysites and the Dyophysites wrote down their statements of belief and laid them reverently on the breast of the saint in her tomb at Chalcedon. Three days later Euphemia was holding the scroll with the Diaphysite statement in her right hand while the other was at her feet. Since then the Oriental Orthodox community (Armenian, Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopian) pretend that the council did not happen and only recognise the first three Ecumenical Councils.

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The church in which the council was held seems to have been destroyed in a Persian invasion in about 626. Euphemia’s remains had apparently been moved to the new Martyrium in Sultanahmet. Whatever church was built to take its place was in a condition of disarray when plundered for columns by Sinan in his quest for building materials for the Süleymaniye. The current church was built in the middle of Kadıköy Market (40.990633,29.024908) in 1694 and has been extensively burnt, damaged, rebuilt and renovated since. The walls are very, very yellow. The company doing the current renovation has provided a handy guide to the dimensions of the tower should the good people at Miniatürk wish to construct a replica.

The tower is once again out of scaffolding and providing a focal point for the life in the Kadıköy community.

Some columns here come from St Euphemia.

Some columns here come from St Euphemia.

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St Euphemia in 2013

St Euphemia in 2013

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