Historic Greek Church in Istanbul to undergo restoration
AA photoTurkish Culture Minister Nabi Avcı attended an event on Dec. 23 that was organized to introduce a restoration project for the Vlahsaray Panayia Greek Orthodox Church to be conducted by the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and a foundation set up for the historic church.
Avcı attended the event at Private Fener Greek High School’s Ceremony Hall and praised the work of the efforts of the two organizations for the restoration of the church, which is considered a sanctuary of great importance for the Greek community in Istanbul.
Avcı also passed along holiday wishes ahead of Christmas to Turkey’s Christian communities, while expressing hopes that 2017 would bring peace to all humanity.
Meanwhile, opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Mardin deputy Erol Dora has proposed that parliament suspend the works of its constitution commission on Dec. 25, which marks Christmas Day for a number of Christian communities.
Dora offered the proposal, saying both celebrating the holiday and suspending the work of the commission for the day would contribute to a “change” in Turkey.
“Dec. 25 is our Nativity Holiday, that is, it is the Noel holiday of the Christian world regarding Jesus Christ’s birth,” said Dora, recalling that he was the first Christian deputy in Turkish parliament since the 1950s while adding that that was of a great significance for Turkey.
Dora, a 42-year-old who entered parliament in the 2011 elections, is a Syriac lawyer representing the southeastern province of Mardin, which is known for its Syriac heritage and history.
Five Christian deputies from different political parties were elected in 2015, Dora said, noting that this was a progressive development for Turkey.
Noting that Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha have been – and should be – celebrated in parliament, Dora said he proposed a similar act for the Christians of the parliament as well.
Western Christians, Syriacs the Greek Orthodox and others celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25, while other communities, notably the Armenian Apostolic Church and Armenian Catholic Church, mark the day on Jan. 6.