1st church built in Turkish Republic era to welcome worshippers on Sunday

In 2019 ceremony attended by Turkish President Erdogan, foundation was laid for St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Church in Yesilkoy, Istanbul

Mehmet Yusuf Melikoğlu  | 03.10.2023 - Update : 03.10.2023
1st church built in Turkish Republic era to welcome worshippers on Sunday Photo : ( Cem Tekkesinoglu - Anadolu Agency )


The first-ever church built in the Turkish Republic era will open its doors to worshippers on Sunday.

In a 2019 ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the foundation was laid for the St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Church in Yesilkoy on the European side of Istanbul.

Speaking to Anadolu, Sait Susinthe, president of the Istanbul Syriac Kadim Foundation, expressed his excitement on the opening of the church.

Susin noted that the entire process of building the church took 10 years.

Recalling a brief delay in the opening of the church due to the deadly earthquakes that hit Türkiye in February this year, Susin said:
"We were going to have the opening on Feb. 19, but the earthquakes on Feb. 6 stopped us. It was a great tragedy for the country. Under such circumstances, it was out of the question for us to have the opening."

He pointed out that Syriac communities worldwide have been closely following this process, with numerous expressing their desire to attend the opening ceremony.

"Our phones are constantly ringing. This is also a prestige for our country. It sends a positive message about the preconceptions from abroad regarding our country. I hope the prayers offered here will be instrumental in enhancing the unity and togetherness of our country," Susin added.

The church, designed as a five-story project in an empty area of the Latin Catholic Cemetery, is located in Yesilkoy.

One floor of the five-story church was reserved as a cultural hall for the community to meet after mass or ceremonies such as baptisms, funerals, and weddings, as well as for meetings and conferences. On the ground floor are the bishop's quarters, guest rooms, and a parking lot.

* Writing by Seda Sevencan

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