Istanbul’s Hagia Elia Church to reopen next month

Istanbul’s Hagia Elia Church to reopen next month

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul’s Hagia Elia Church to reopen next month

The Hagia Elia Church needs renovation that would cost around 100,000 Turkish Liras, according to the deputy head of the PAE Fukaraperver Association. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The Hagia Elia Church, which belongs to Turkey’s White Russians, is set to be reopened Aug. 2, with a ceremony led by Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew.

A mass in the Hagia Elia Church located in Istanbul’s Karaköy neighborhood will be held for the first time since 1972 and will be conducted by the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew, who will also bless the church beforehand.

The church, which belongs to the Russian émigrés who had fled from the Bolshevik regime in 1921, is situated on the roof of a structure where monks used to reside, a style of architecture rarely seen in Anatolia. While around 100,000 White Russians reside in Turkey, according to the PAE Fukaraperver Association, they own three churches and a monk’s house, which is currently used as a commercial building in Istanbul. The properties belong to the Russian Monastery at the Ayanaroz Monastery Complex in Greece and the Fener Greek Patriarchate is in charge of the churches. Kazmir Pamir, the deputy head of the White Russians’ PAE Fukaraperver Association, told the Hürriyet Daily News that there had been improvements to the uncertain situation of the church and the existence of Turkey’s White Russians after an item about the church was published in the Daily News. Appealing to all the Russians living in Turkey, Pamir said the more Russians attended the ceremony, the stronger a message it would send to stop the demolition resolution on the church.

The Hagia Elia Church faces the risk of being demolished, if the demolition resolution, which is being suspended currently, were to be implemented. The demolition resolution was taken as part of the privatization of the Istanbul Salıpazarı Port, also known as the Galataport project, which is owned by Turkey’s Maritime Organization. Pamir said that the church needed renovation, which would cost 100,000 Turkish Liras.


A Turkish man has put an Assyrian church in Siirt up for sale with a 1 million Turkish Liras price tag, the Armenian weekly Agos reported yesterday.

Mehmet Emin Evin put up the Mor Yakup Church, which is located on land he owns in the southeastern Turkish province of Siirt, for sale.

Emin’s father had purchased the private land to raise livestock in 80’s from the Arabic locals who lived in Siirt, adding that the church passed into the ownership of the Evin family in time.

“Till 1915, the region has belonged to Christians but it passed into Muslim’s possession,” Evin said, adding that his family were Chaldeans but were forced to become Muslim in 1915.