The friars of the Order of Preachers, commonly known in England as the Black Friars due to the black cape worn over their white robe, came to Istanbul (Costantinople) in the first half of the 13th century and established themselves in Galata, where they built the church of St. Paul at the foot of the hill. There, for two centuries, they lived and ministered to the catholic community.
In 1475, the church was converted into a mosque (the Arab camii) and the friars were forced to look for another site to build their church and monastery.
The friars then retreated into another building standing a few hundred metres beyond the former one, which, although smaller, was convenient for carrying parochial duties in the district. Dedicated to St. Peter, the new residence was in service until 1603 when it was decided to build a more functional one. But, a little more than a century later, on the first of April 1660, a serious fire destroyed it from top to bottom. In 1731, the same fate befell the construction that succeeded it. The friars were not discouraged and built a fifth church on the same site which existed until the beginning of the 19th century.