This Easter we celebrated by attending Easter morning Mass at Istanbul's second largest Cathedral, St. Esprit Church or Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (see map below). The church happens to be in our lovely, old neighborhood of Pangaltī in Osmanbey. Pangaltī is a brisk 50 minute walk from our current apartment in Gayreteppe, and this morning we ventured on said walk with mass in our sights.
The church itself was beautiful, inside and out; it built in Baroque style in 1846 under the direction of the Swiss-Italian architect Giuseppe Fossati. St. Esprit has been a destination of several papal visits to Turkey, including those of Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI.
After mass, we wanted to stop by our favorite bakery in Pangaltī, Harbiye Firin. When we lived near here, there was never a day when we did not smell the heavenly scent of freshly baked treats wafting out of its doors and onto the sidewalks of Pangaltī. It was difficult to not indulge daily on their baked goods, everything is delicious!
Today, we ordered two of our usuals: zeytinli açma (olive bread) and üzüm çerez (raisin scone). We also picked up an Easter favorite for Greeks and Armenians: Paskalya Çoregi (literally, Easter bread). This Easter bread reminds my spouse and me of a braided Swedish cardamom wreath that I make every year from my grandmother's recipe.
Paskalya Çoregi is a braided, yeast bread made with the mahlep spice. A fellow cook here in Turkey has posted her recipe for Paskalya Çoregi. It is a straight forward recipe worth a try and leaves your home smelling of warm, fragrant mahlep.
Wishing all a blessed, happy, and delicious Easter!