Keep the change: Erdoğan has made a gesture of “good will” to the Ecumenical Patriarchate

  • Europe
  • 26.Aug ‘20
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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has opened the Trabzon Sumela Monastery after the restoration. The completion of the restoration and the acceptance of the results by the country’s higher authorities happened amid criticism that fell upon Turkey after the demonstrative return of the status of mosque to the main Byzantine temple, St. Sophia.

Sumela Monastery is a complex of monastic buildings, the oldest part of which dates back to the 4th century, it was the spiritual center of the Pontic Greeks until 1923, till the Greek-Turkish population exchange took place and the Christians left Trabzon Province. In 1930, the relics of the monastery were also evacuated to Greece.

In 2010, the first Liturgy was held in the monastery after the expulsion of the Greeks. The Liturgy was headed by Patriarch Bartholomew. An agreement on this was reached with the participation of the Russian side, and a representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church were present at the Liturgy. Since then, Liturgies have been held annually until 2015, when the monastery was suddenly closed for restoration.

After the announcement that the 2020 Liturgy in Sumela Monastery would not take place, the reconstruction was suddenly completed and during the acceptance ceremony of the restoration, Erdoğan said that Orthodox citizens of Turkey could attend the service on August 15. Therefore, the Prime Minister and the Patriarch had a telephone conversation on this matter.

– We have taken away the main symbol of your glorious past, but as a compensation we are ready to give you an opportunity to conduct the Liturgy in the inactive monastery in a distant province.

– Thank you, Recep!

UPD

The Patriarch’s decision has just been announced: Bartholomew himself will not conduct the Litergy in Sumela this year. The festive Liturgy dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the monastery opened after the restoration on August 15 will be led by three metropolitans, including The Right Reserved Zambia, who will represent the Alexandrian Patriarchate.

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