Hundreds of Greek Orthodox Christians gathered for the annual religious service at the Sumela Monastery in Turkey’s Black Sea coastal province of Trabzon on Wednesday morning, marking the third religious ceremony to be held at the monastery in the history of the Turkish Republic.
This year’s divine liturgy, held on the occasion of the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos in accordance with the Orthodox liturgical calendar, was officiated by Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the monastery located in Trabzon’s Maçka district, Turkish media reported.
The Turkish government in 2010 allowed for an annual religious service to be held at the monastery in a gradual loosening of restrictions on religious expression. The government accepted the Patriarchate’s request to mark the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15 at Sumela Monastery in 2010. Two services have been held at the monastery since then.
The monastery was abandoned after the Turkish Republic was founded and the subsequent population exchange between Turks and Greeks. The government later took over the monastery which has since become a major tourist destination along Turkey’s Black Sea coast.