TRABZON - Doğan News Agency
Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew gives message of peace and tolerance during the third service in a row at the Sümela Monastery in a Black Sea province. DHA photo
Patriarch Bartholomew has delivered a message of peace and inter-religious understanding in the third service held at the Sümela Monastery since it was reopened for religious rites.
“Everyone has the right to freely perform their own religion’s duties according to their faith,” Patriarch Bartholomew said after yesterday’s service at the historic monastery. The Culture and Tourism Ministry permitted a four-hour service to be held at the monastery on the feast of the ascension of the Virgin Mary in the Christian faith. Patriarch Bartholomew came to Trabzon
on Aug. 14 to lead the service, arriving at the monastery accompanied by other religious functionaries. The Sümela Monastery, located in Altındere National Park, reopened for religious use on Aug. 15, 2010, after an 88-year hiatus. About 300 people attended the service, a smaller number than in previous years.
Bartholomew stepped to the altar and blessed those in attendance, then delivered a speech in both Greek
and Turkish. “We want to express our happiness at meeting with you and praying together in this warm atmosphere for the third time on the day of the ascension of the Virgin Mary, which is one of the most important dates in the worship of the Virgin Mary. Visiting Sümela is a sacred experience for every believer as well as for religious functionaries. We grew up keeping this place of worship alive in memories and hearing stories about it from our elders, and tried to be happy praying from afar. Fortunately, our expectation has come true and the Lord destined us to come here. We are grateful to the government, the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the European Union
Ministry, Maçka Municipality and the people of Maçka for that,” he said.
The three services held at the monastery so far have coincided with the mercy and spirituality of the holy month of Ramadan, Patriarch Bartholomew said.
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“Everyone should be able to perform their religious duties according to their faith. This is a fundamental right. In order to protect this right, all the requirements must be available for everyone. Contrary to that, do states and societies have the right to hurt, harm and kill each other? The tyranny in Myanmar, where our prime minister’s wife, Emine Erdoğan, paid a visit, hurts all of us. Unfortunately, murders, massacres and exiles continue to be perpetrated on religious grounds all over the world. We unfortunately could not be rid of this shame, despite the efforts of religious functionaries and others. Let us pray for the peace of humanity on this hill, where Sümela Monastery, a great historic, religious and cultural icon we have inherited, is located. We should work harder, get together more, and know and love each other, in order to achieve peace and safety both in the country and in the world,” Bartholomew said.