Orthodox Faithful Flock to Rare Liturgy at Church in Turkey

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew performing the Liturgy on Sunday

Greek Orthodox faithful from the island of Chios traveled to the Turkish port of Cesme (Krini), for a rare liturgy held at Saint Charalambos church on Sunday. Sunday was the feast day of the hieromartyr Saint Charalambos, who was tortured and died for refusing to burn incense to pagan gods.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew performed the liturgy at the recently-renovated Greek Orthodox church, which is now used by the Turkish authorities as a cultural center.

The metropolitan church of Saint Charalambos in Cesme was built in 1832, following the three-aisled basilica style with a raised nave. The church as a capacity of three thousand people. It features twelve columns made from red marble which separate the aisles. Two of the aisles are dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Stefanos.

Church of Saint Charalambos, Cesme, Turkey

In September of 1922, thousands of women from Cesme, Agia Paraskevi, Kato Panagia and the surrounding villages found refuge in the church while they were waiting to board ships after Greece’s disastrous Asia Minor campaign.

Since then, the religious edifice has served as the venue for various activities organized by Turkish municipal authorities. A religious service took place there for the first time in decades in February of 2016.