This church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, sits on top of a sacred spring, an ayazma, and has been a site of pilgrimage since before Emperor Constantine arrived in the city. The water in this church is still flowing and is said to have healing properties. The first church was built on this site in 451 by Pulcheria, the wife of Emperor Marcian, and apparently once housed the mantle of the Virgin, which had been stolen from Jerusalem. A Greek inscription over the taps that distribute the holy water inside the church reads ‘Wash not only your face, but all your sins’.
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