The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Thursday, August 21, 2014


Orthodox Flock to Once-Banned Holy Site of Sumela Monastery in Turkey
Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I (3-R), the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, leads a service at the ancient Sumela Monastery in the Black Sea coastal province of Trabzon, Turkey on 15 August 2010. Thousands of Orthodox Christians hold a rare Mass at an ancient monastery in Turkey after the government allowed worship there once a year in a gradual loosening of restrictions on religious expression. EPA/MURAT KABAN.

By: Ayla Jean Yackley

SUMELA MONASTERY (REUTERS).- Europe Papadopolous's grandparents were children when they fled their village in northeast Turkey and settled in Greece almost 90 years ago, yet she still felt she was in exile.

Papadopolous, 45, was one of thousands of Orthodox faithful who journeyed to Sumela Monastery, built into a sheer cliff above the Black Sea forest, on Sunday to attend the first mass here since ethnic Greeks were expelled in 1923.

"Being apart from this place feels like Ulysses: always searching for your home," Papadopolous said, tears streaming down her face and adding that even though her grandparents are dead, she was sure they could see her "homecoming."

The historic service is part of a broader easing of religious restrictions in Muslim Turkey as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan seeks to fulfill pledges to expand minority rights, which could also kickstart Turkey's stalled European Union bid.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians, celebrated the divine liturgy to mark the Feast Day of the Virgin Mary. The faithful believe Jesus's mother Mary was taken up to heaven on August 15 after her death.

"This monastery is the bequest of a civilization that had a culture of living together. Let's ensure this bequest survives so the pain does not recur," said Bartholomew.
Security was tight. Helicopters circled above as police and gendarmes ringed the monastery, founded in the 4th century.

Last year, authorities prevented Greeks and Russians from praying at Sumela, long ago stripped of its official religious status. The patriarchate this year received permission from the Culture Ministry, which administers the site as a museum.

Two men in the nearby city of Trabzon who were briefly detained last week allegedly protested the service on Facebook and planned to disrupt it, the state Anatolian news agency said.

Nationalism
Incomes in Trabzon are a third less than the national average of $11,000, and poverty has fed nationalism. The teenaged gunman who shot Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 was from Trabzon. A Catholic priest was killed here in 2006.

The EU, which Turkey seeks to join, says the government must boost religious tolerance and improve rights for non-Muslims. Out of a population of 72 million, 99.9 percent are Muslim.

"This is a landmark event, and it won't be the last. Slowly the taboos are falling by the wayside," said Cengiz Aktar, a professor at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul. "Minorities were always alienated. Now Turkey is shedding its old skin."

Next month, Armenian Orthodox followers will pray at a former church in eastern Turkey, part of efforts to repair relations with neighboring Armenia.

Fewer than 3,000 Greeks remain in Istanbul, but it is still home to the patriarchate, a vestige of the Byzantine era. The Church has no legal status nor school to train clergy. It has seen millions of dollars worth of property seized by the state.

Painful History
Although Bartholomew occasionally has led prayers in other deconsecrated churches in Turkey, Sumela was always contentious.

During the upheaval of World War One and subsequent War of Independence, the Black Sea region, called Pontus by Greeks, sank into violence between ethnic militias and Ottoman forces.

Historians estimate the number of Greeks killed at 65,000 to 200,000. As many as 300,000 fled by 1923. Most of the violence occurred in the western Black Sea, said Nikos Sigalas of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies.

The 1923 Lausanne Treaty that forged modern Greece and Turkey's borders engineered one of the biggest forced migrations in modern history. Some 1.5 million Christians fled Turkey, and 500,000 Muslims were driven from Greece.

Sumela and other holy sites were abandoned as Pontian Greeks vanished. Today, the monastery's medieval frescoes are battered, and shoddy restoration work has erased some of its glory.

Perched in the Pontic Alps, the mist-wrapped Sumela was the most important monastery in the Trebizond Empire, successor to the Byzantines that lasted 250 years until the Ottoman conquest of 1461. Tradition has it that sultans prayed at the site.

"For ages, Sumela had great religious significance, but it also has a serious symbolic power," Sigalas said. "It is not a place easily forgotten, even by descendants of those who left."

Indeed, the draw of the ancient homeland remains strong.

"In our family, we always kept Pontus alive," said Fotiy Exizov, 62, whose family settled in Sochi, Russia, after leaving in 1864.

"We speak the language, we pass on the stories. We are like the birds who must return to the nest."

(Editing by Michael Roddy)

Sumela Monastery | Turkey | Papadopolous | Patriarch Bartholomew |


Today's News

August 16, 2010

Funerary Masks of Six Maya Rulers on View at the National Museum of Anthropology

Tate Collection Archivist Says Uncovers Real-Life Quasimodo

Florence and State Spar Over Michelangelo's Masterpiece 'David'

Jimi Hendrix Items on Show in His Former London Home

Frank Auerbach Painting Emerges After 30 Years in Private Hands

Bob Dylan to Exhibit at the National Gallery of Denmark

Old Irish Bones may Yield Murderous Secrets in Pennsylvania

Aperture Foundation Announces New Exhibition: "Paul Strand in Mexico"

Orthodox Flock to Once-Banned Holy Site of Sumela Monastery in Turkey

Josef Koudelka's Testimony of the Prague Invasion Opens in Buenos Aires

Jackie O's Pearl Necklace Makes Over the Odds at Bonhams

Richard Deacon at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Strasbourg

MoMA to Present a Weeklong Run of Goran Paskaljevic's Honeymoons

Art Gallery to Save Energy of 80 Households a Year, with "Green Gallery"

US Sound and Media Artist, Stephen Vitiello in Sydney for 20th Kaldor Public Art Project

Clarke Auction's Eighth Fine Auction Opens at Spectacular New Larchmont Location

Tourcoing Fine Arts Museum Announces Eugène Leroy Exhibition

Le Fresnoy to Show "ABC: Contemporary Art from Belgium"

Meeting Points: Ronit Agassi, Gary Goldstein at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

The Indian Empire: Significant Works from the Portvale Collection on View in Sydney

The Woodland Garden Photographs of Theodore Nierenberg to Be Shown at the Bruce Museum

Christopher Henry Gallery Presents the London Biennale 2010

Amon Carter Museum of American Art Receives Federal Digitization Grant

Daniel M. Finley Appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Autry National Center

Three Contemporary Art Exhibition Concepts to Be Realized Through Major Award to Curators

Freeman's Auctioneers to Sell the Estate of Joseph S. Sorger

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Mystery over massive Alexander the Great-era tomb unearthed in northern Greece

2.- An ancient money box containing a large rare hoard of coins found in Israel

3.- Robin Williams' portrait installed today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

4.- The Baltimore Museum of Art announces three new contemporary exhibitions in fall

5.- New Aspen Art Museum designed by architect Shigeru Ban opens to the public

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art launches 82nd & Fifth app in 12 languages

7.- MoMA online-only publication features new research on Pablo Picasso and Cubism

8.- Volunteers needed for massive Smithsonian digitization project

9.- Tate Britain welcomes home John Everett Millais's Ophelia and Rossetti’s The Beloved

10.- Bogart estate: Hollywood golden age icon Lauren Bacall dead at 89 in New York

Related Stories



Orthodox Flock to Once-Banned Holy Site of Sumela Monastery in Turkey



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site