Ambassadors of Peace: Recasting Orthodox Christendom
In the closing days of 1855, the Orthodox parish of the Presentation of the Virgin in Pera (modern Beyoğlu) dared to hope that their busy neighbourhood would soon reverberate with a sound not heard in Istanbul for four centuries: the peal of Orthodox church bells. The Ottoman authorities occasionally permitted Catholic and Protestant foreigners to possess bells, but the metallic clamour offended Muslim sensibilities and Orthodox churches were forbidden them. In December, however, the parish of the Presentation of the Virgin had received special permission to install bells. Even more striking was the fact that the community owed this victory to a most unexpected champion: the French ambassador, Édouard- Antoine Thouvenel.
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