Saturday, August 14, 2010

Turkey: Nationalist Protest Against Divine Liturgy on Assumption

Several thousand Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey arrive on Sunday at the Sumela-Cloister in the East of the Land. There the Nationalists hope to protest against the Christians.

Constantinople (
Several thousand Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey will arrive according to their Patriarch Bartholomeos I on the this Sunda as "Peace Ambassadors" to the Sumela Cloister in the East of the Land. The Christians have waited for a long time for this day, said the Patriarch of Constantinople in an interview for the daily "Sabah" (Friday Edition). In view of protests by Turkish Nationalists against the Liturgy on the Feast of the "Assumption" said the honorary head of around 300 Million Orthodox Christians in the world, that he trusts in the security measures of the authorities.

The ancient Sumela Cloister in the south Black Sea city of Trebizond is the sanctuary location for a Marian Ikon, which was painted according to legend by St. Luke. After the exile of the Greeks by the Turkish-Greek population exchange in the 1920s the Cloister was abandoned and declared a museum. The Orthodox Christians struggled for years to get permission for a Liturgy to be celebrated in the Cloister. Bartholomaios I thanked the Culture Ministry for this, that this is the first time such an event is taking place.

Right leaning local politicians in Trebizond have been protesting in the past days. They accuse the Christians of using the Liturgy on the 15th of August to summon a restoration of the Byzantine Empire. The Ottomans conquered the then Byzantine Trebizond in 1461 on August 15th which is also the beginning of the uprising of the Kurdish PKK-Rebels against the Turkish State. For this reason, the Liturgy will become a demonstration of "revenge", according to the right national newspaper "Yenicag".

The Police in Trebizond, a bastion of National Rightists, took a local politican and a local journalist into protective custody. The Patriarch has said, that he has no doubt that the security forces will take every necessary precaution.

Link to original,

Photo taken from Kara Lahana, Turkish travel site...

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