The basilica of the Virgin Mary of Blachernai became the most popular Constantinopolitan pilgrimage shrine of Theotokos. Its erection was traditionally attributed to Pulcheria and Emperor Maurice; it seems, however, that it was erected by Justin I (518-527). Earlier mentions of pilgrimage shrine of the Virgin Mary of Blachernai probably referred to the chapel (Soros), where the maphorion (the holy veil) of the Virgin was kept after its translation from Palestine in the 460s. Until the 7th century the basilica stood outside the city walls, since the Theodosian enclosure was not extending as far as the region of Blachernai; thus, the fact the the church was spared during the Avar siege in 626 was considered a miracle. The lifting of the Avar siege, which was attributed to a miraculous intervention of Theotokos, was associated with Virgin Mary of Blachernai (the Virgin Vlachernitissa). During the following centuries, the Virgin Vlacernitissa came to be considered as the city’s divine protector par excellence. The church was entirely destroyed by a fire in 1070; by 1077 it had already been rebuilt. This second building was destroyed, again by fire, in 1434. The existing church is dated to the mid-19th century.