Erdogan Reopens Turkish Sumela Monastery

Ankara, MINA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday reopened Sumela Monastery in the Black Sea region, Trabzon Province, via a video conference connection.

Speaking at the event, Erdogan dismissed criticism of the reopening of the icon of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia as a mosque last week, Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday.

“If we are a nation that destroys the symbols of other faiths, the Sumela Monastery that we have controlled over the past five centuries will certainly disappear forever,” Erdogan said.

Earlier, on July 24 the Hagia Sophia Mosque held Friday Prayers, marking the worship of Muslims for the first time after 86 years at the site.

“On August 15, Orthodox residents were able to conduct religious services [Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary], which was suspended during the renovation period inside and outside the Sumela Monastery,” Erdogan said.

The restoration process at the great monastery was completed after exploration, investigation and strengthening of the geology and geotechnical rocks was completed.

This monastery is one of the most important religious tourism centers in Turkey.

Part of the building was opened to visitors in May 2019 after more than three years of restoration, which began in February 2016.

The monastery is located in the Macka district, built on a cliff and is an important historical and cultural site.

This monastery was included in the temporary list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2000.

The monastery was reopened for religious rituals on August 15, 2010 with permission from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, after an 88-year pause.

According to the UN agency, construction had begun in 385 AD. (T/R7/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)