There once was a beautiful church in Constantinople dedicated to the Mother of God, which had been built in the fifth century by the holy Emperor Leo the Great in the Seven Towers district.
Before becoming emperor, Leo was walking in a wooded area where he met a blind man who was thirsty and who asked Leo to help him find water. Though he agreed to search for water, Leo was unable to find any. Suddenly, he heard a voice telling him that there was water nearby. He looked again, but still could not find the water. Then he heard the voice saying “Emperor Leo, go into the deepest part of the woods, and you will find water there. Take some of the cloudy water in your hands and give it to the blind man to drink. Take the clay and put it on his eyes. Then you shall know who I am.” Leo obeyed these instructions, and the blind man regained his sight. Later, St. Leo became emperor, just as the Theotokos had prophesied.
Leo built a church over the site at his own expense, and the water continued to work miraculous cures. Therefore, it was called “The Life-Giving Spring.”
After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the church was torn down by the Muslims, and the stones were used to build a mosque. Only a small chapel remained at the site of the original church. Twenty-five steps led down into the chapel, which had a skylight in the roof. The holy Spring was still there, surrounded by a railing.
After the Greek Revolution in 1821, this little chapel was destroyed, and the Spring was buried under the rubble. The Christian community later obtained permission to rebuild the chapel, and work began in July of 1833. While workmen were clearing the ground, they uncovered the foundations of the earlier church. The Sultan allowed them to build not just a chapel, but a new and beautiful church on the foundations of the old one.
Construction began on September 14, 1833, and was completed on December 30, 1834. Patriarch Constantine II consecrated the church on February 2, 1835, dedicating it to the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Turks desecrated and destroyed the church again on September 6, 1955. A smaller church now stands on the site, and the waters of the Life-Giving Spring continue to work miracles.