Fourth Mass held at Sümela Monastery

Fourth Mass held at Sümela Monastery

TRABZON – Doğan News Agency
Fourth Mass held at Sümela Monastery

DHA Photo

The Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated Mass at Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on Aug. 15.

“We are thankful to our government for its sensitiveness on the freedom of faith,” said Bartholomew during the Mass, which was the fourth such Mass held in the historical Sümela Monastery.

Bartholomew led the service, which was held in honor of the Assumption of Mary, a Christian holiday marked Aug. 15.

Bartholomew said they were happy to remember the Virgin Mary with other Orthodox bishops who came to the monastery from Australia, Ukraine, the United States, Greece and Georgia.

“Being in Sümela is a sacred experience for us as well as for every faithful Christian,” said Bartholomew in a speech he made in both Turkish and Greek.

“We are pleased about the recent initiatives of UNESCO regarding Sümela. We believe that these efforts will contribute to the promotion of this region throughout the world and will be of interest to the locals. Sümela Monastery is in Turkey on UNESCO’s 2012 tentative list.

“We are grateful to our government and people. They have allowed us to hold Mass in our historical religious places for four years,” said Bartholomew. Hymns were sung after the speech and bread and wine blessed by Bartholomew and offered to participants.

Trabzon Deputy Gov. Halil İbrahim Kantekin accompanied Bartholomew as far as the monastery. Around 350 people attended the Mass, also celebrated by Bishop Seraphim of Apollonias from Australia, Brovarskoy Bishop Mercurios from the Ukrainian Church. Maçka Mayor Ertuğrul Genç from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also observed the ceremony.

Sümela Monastery, located in Altındere National Park, reopened for religious use Aug. 15, 2010, after an 88-year hiatus with the permission of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Mass has been conducted there Aug. 15 every year since then.