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Cappadocia Appele Church

Various Eras in The Elmali Kilise - Appele Church


Dating from the mid-eleventh to the early twelth century, the origin of the name of the church (elma is apple in Turkish) is not known. The church may have been named for an apple tree in front of its door, or the spot that resembles an apple one of the columns, or the round object (which is i fact a symbol of the universe ) in the hand of the archangel on one of the domes. One enters the church through a door that is a later addition and a very narrow tunnel. The original door of the church was in a spot directly across from the apse. The Elmalı Kilise has an interesting appearance, with its nine domes, four columns, three apses and the floor plan of an enclosed Greek cross. When one regards the apse from the front,one sees that the primary nave is divided into three sections by the four columns. There are niches on either side of the apse: the prothesis on the left, where preparations were made for the mass and where ritual materials were placed, and the diakonikon on the right. It is apparent that there was at one time also an iconostasis wall that divided the apse from the nave , but this was destroyed at some time in the past. The Elmalı Kilise, like many other churches in the valley, has domes, columns and capitals that were carved out of the rock mass.In point of fact, there was no need for columns to support the church. The oly reason for the columns was to adhere to the general norms of church architecture and desire to create an aesthetic apperace.

From beneath certain crumbling frescoes oe can discern the primitive and geometric decoratios of the Iconoclastic Era. These were later covered with a layer of plaster, and while it was stil wet, new frescoes were paited that included representations of the human figure.

The church contains fifteen scenes from the life of Jesus. O the main dome is the Pantocrator Christ ( Creator of the Universe and its sole Lord), while angels appear in the other domes. On the walls are scenes portraying the Baptims, the Journey to Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Judas’s Beterayal and the Crucifixion. Although some frescoes from the Iconoclastic Era are in good condition, others are i very poor condition.

Cappadocia Appele Church