Turkish Town Hears First Orthodox Liturgy in 96 Years (photos)

A Turkish town has heard its first Orthodox liturgy in 96 years at a special religious service attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

The special service took place in a former Orthodox Church in the town of Moudania (Mudanya) situated in today’s north-western Turkey.

Moudania was a thriving, predominantly Greek, town before the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923.

A new town called Nea Moudania was created near Thessaloniki in northern Greece by the refugees who were forced out of Turkey.

St. George’s Church is now used as a local cultural center.

Although the exact date of the construction of the church is unknown, there is a seven-line epitaph dated to 1834 on one of windows on its northern façade, reading:

“In order to be commemorated and due to his piousness, Iordines, son of Anastasiou and our good fellow-citizen, has donated all sculpted stones on the façades of this holy church from his olive grove in Palaikhorio. Mudanya expresses gratitude for him.”

The building was restored in 2007 and now hosts social and cultural activities, meetings, conferences, music and theater shows.

St. George is now a cultural center