Calls for prayers in Hagia Sophia raise concerns

May 2014 ISTANBUL — Numerous supporters of controversial imam Fethullah Gülen recently started a campaign on Twitter calling for the Hagia Sophia to be reopened as a mosque. The move, which is also being supported by numerous politicians, has been questioned by others who note that Gülenists purport to promote dialogue and tolerance toward other faiths. Recently ...

ORTHODOX CHURCH VANDALISED IN ISTANBUL

29/3/14 A group of young thugs, apparently from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), vandalised an Orthodox Christian church in Istanbul. Although informed of the incident, the police refused to intervene. The desecration took place last Sunday. The church, Agia Paraskevi, is located in ​​ Kazlıçeşme, just outside Constantinople's ancient Byzantine walls. The church is famous for its source of water, deemed holy according to ...

Dialogue and peace – the speech by Patriarch Bartholomew at the 17th Eurasian Economic Summit

Patriarch Bartholomew ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News 9/2/14 It is once again an honor to address the Eurasian Economic Summit, which is organized each year by the esteemed Marmara Group and is today considering the topic of “Culture and Ecological Dialogue.” Centuries ago, a Christian mystic declared: “Acquire inward peace, and thousands around you will find their peace.” ...

Syriacs to regain Mor Gabriel’s land, no move on Halki Seminary in ‘democratization package’

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News - 2/10/13 The land of the historic Mor Gabriel Monastery will be returned to the Syriac community in Turkey as part of the “democratization package” announced by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today, while the package fell short of meeting the expectations that the Halki Seminary could be reopened. “The land ...

Hagia Sophia mosque conversion under fire

ISTANBUL - 5/9/13 The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate released a statement criticizing the possible reconversion of the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul into a mosque. The statement said that there was a possibility of the “church-turned-mosque-turned-museum” in Istanbul being reconverted into a mosque, as two previous cases of Hagia ...

Halki Seminary to undergo status change to allow for reopening

ISTANBUL - 26/8/13 The Halki Greek Orthodox seminary on Istanbul’s Heyebeliada island will revert to its pre-1971 status as part of an indirect method of allowing the long-closed clerical school to reopen while avoiding constitutional regulations on private institutions, according to daily Radikal. The seminary’s reopening, which has been an ongoing point of debate for years, may ...

Armenian Church in Turkey Demands List of ‘Categorized’ Armenians

15/8/13 ISTANBUL—The director of a Turkey-based Armenian church organization has asked the Interior Ministry to submit to it the list of Armenians codified in Turkish records as ethnic minorities. Nazar Ozsahakian, the Chairman of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Foundation, has demanded the list, citing a Turkish law on freedom of information as a justified reason for accessing ...

Istanbul’s last White Russians pray for church’s survival

By Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL Aug 2 (Reuters) - About 25 Russian Orthodox celebrated a divine liturgy on Friday for the first time in four decades at their rooftop church they fear may be demolished to make way for a tourism project. A choir chanted hymns and women wearing scarves bowed their heads at the crumbling 134-year-old St ...

Orthodox patriarch calls for reopening of Istanbul’s Halki Seminary

  ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency  23/7/13 Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew has repeated his call to the Turkish government for the reopening of the Heybeliada Halki Seminary, saying his flock is entering a "dangerous phase" due to a lack of proper religious officials. Bartholomew was speaking at an iftar event organized by the Istanbul Müfti office, with Müfti Rahmi Yaran present, where ...

US Secretary Kerry urges Turkey to re-open Halki Seminary of Istanbul

ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse 23/4/13 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkey today to re-open Orthodox clergy schools on Heybeliada island near Istanbul that has been kept closed for more than 40 years. "It is our hope that the Halki seminary will open," Kerry said during a press conference in Istanbul after two days of talks ...

Syrian Christian refugees turn to churches for help

James Martone  Catholic News Service 28/3/13 ISTANBUL Churches and monasteries in Turkey are struggling to shelter a rising number of Syrian Christian refugees who are reluctant to seek help at government-run relief camps because of reported Muslim extremism, said a Catholic Relief Services staffer. Sleiman Saikali, program officer for the U.S. bishops' relief and development agency, told Catholic News Service ...

Orthodox leaders to meet in Istanbul

‘Russia’s presence in such a meeting is a clear sign of the value given to the Fener Greek Patriarchate,’ Metropolitan of Bursa Lambriniadis says. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News 2/3/13 Leading Orthodox parliament members from various countries will meet in Istanbul on March 3 and 4 for a conference entitled “The Social Dimension of Monotheistic Religion.” Organized by The Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), established upon the initiative of the Hellenic Parliament, the conference will be held at the Hotel Renaissance ...

84-Year-Old Armenian Woman Brutally Murdered in Istanbul (Update)

Januray 2013 ISTANBUL, Turkey—On Dec. 29, an 84-year-old Armenian woman was brutally murdered in Istanbul’s Koca Mustafa Pasha neighborhood, Turkish newspapers reported. The woman, identified as Marissa Kuchuk (Küçük), lived alone. She was found dead by her daughter, Zadik Kuchuk, who was visiting her. She was stabbed seven times and her throat was slit. The perpetrator(s) carved ...

Turkish public unaware of truth of Imbros: Patriarch

Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News - 15/11/2012 The Turkish public must acknowledge the injustices Greeks on Imbros island (Gökçeada) suffered in the 1960s, GreekOrthodox Patriarch Bartholomew said Nov. 12 at the launching of a book on the island’s Greekcommunity. “Imbros could be a bridge betweenTurkey and Greece, but it was comprehended as a threat by Turkey. With this approach, the ...

Historic Orthodox Church to be demolished, not restored

ISTANBUL - 9/11/2012 The decision to demolish a 232-year-old Orthodox Church in the Bodrum district of the western province of Muğla has surprised locals who had been expecting it to be restored, daily Radikal reported today. Locals had applied to restore the Saint Nicolas (Aya Nikolaya) church, however the Bodrum municipality decided to demolish it instead, according to a ...

Armenian Church decides to end blessing mixed marriages

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr 12/10/2012 Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople Armenian Patriarchate restarts regulations which nix the blessing and the church wedding for the mixed marriages. Decision stirs debate in the Armenian community. The Armenian Patriarchate in Turkey has restarted implementing regulations in regards to mixed marriages, under which Armenians marrying a person of a different ...

Piano melodies to echo at historic Armenian church

Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News 7/9/2012 Some 97 years after being closed, the historical Surp (Holy) Giragos Armenian Church in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır was reopened to worship last October. Now, the church will host a piano recital. After also working hard in the restoration of the church himself, the Istanbul-born Canadian pianist Raffi Bedrosyan ...

Church asks Christians in fear to stay in Syria

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News 30/8/2012 Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr Syriac clerics call on Christians in Middle East, especially those in Syria, to avoid leaving their homelands amid harsh violence. Justice in Syria can only be achieved by meaningful dialogue between all belligerent elements, they say The Syriac Orthodox Kadim Patriarchate Synod in Damascus called on Christians not to ...

Syriacs offered land already belong to other minorities

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr 14/7/2012 Controversy has risen over plots of land that Turkey’s Syriac community has claimed were offered to them for the establishment of their first church in Istanbul. Two alternative spaces also offered to the Syriac community by the Istanbul municipality belong to the Armenian and Greek foundations respectively, it has ...

Christian clerics alarmed at growing threats, persecution in Turkey

This file photo shows the Dirisu home church located in Istanbul’s Şişli district. Many Christian clerics say police [officers] keep watch at their door during mass. DAILY NEWS photo

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News 10/4/2012 Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr In the wake of an attack against an Istanbul Protestant Pastor, Christian Clerics in Turkey say they feel alarmed at the accelerating number of such incidents and even hesitate to open their doors to people Christian clerics in Turkey have expressed their anxiety regarding the growing threats they face in wake ...

Cleric hopeful over reopening of Istanbul Greek Seminary

The Hagia Triada Monastery’s archpriest and Metropolitan of Bursa Elpidophoros Lambriniadis says they have a feeling that Turkey will take steps toward reopening the Heybeliada Halki seminary in, which was hit hard by the political turmoil between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus in 1971 and closed down by Turkish officials. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr 3/4/2012 The classrooms of the Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary on Istanbul’s Heybeliada Island are being renovated with the motivation that the school will reopen soon, archpriest and Metropolitan of Bursa Elpidophoros Lambriniadis says A recent meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama in Seoul has raised ...