Istanbul patriarch leads mass at Sümela Monastery

Istanbul patriarch leads mass at Sümela Monastery

Istanbul patriarch leads mass at Sümela Monastery

Istanbul’s Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew led a mass at the historic Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on Aug. 15.

Every Aug. 15, Christians celebrate the Feast of Assumption, a holy day marking the occasion of the Virgin Mary’s bodily ascent to heaven at the end of her life.

“Let’s love people, respect different cultures, and protect this unity culture,” Bartholomew said while speaking at the ninth mass held at the monastery.

Some 300 guests attended the mass, after showing security officers their invitations and passcards.

The Istanbul patriarch thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for providing such an opportunity.

“Due to this event, we have been coming to Trabzon since 2010 and really loved the people of the region,” Bartholomew said. “The hospitality that locals show makes us happy.”

Following the mass, the monastery was opened to visitors again.

The monastery is carved out of rocks in a wooded area on the slope of Mount Karadağ in the Maçka district, 300 meters above the Altındere Valley.

It was included in UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage sites and was reopened for religious practice on Aug. 15, 2010, with the permission of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, following an 88-year hiatus. But the country’s most important religious tourism center was once again closed in 2015 due to a risk of falling rocks from nearby Mount Karadağ.

It was reopened to visitors on July 1, 2020, after more than five years of restoration efforts.

Patriarch Bartholomew,