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Τurkey denies liturgy at the historic Panagia Soumela Greek Orthodox monastery

The Turkish authorities’ decision to forbid a liturgy at the historic Orthodox monastery of Panaghia Soumela on the  August 15 religious holiday is an extremely disappointing development for all the faithful and the pilgrims that expected to visit it this year, Greek diplomatic sources said on Friday.

The same sources also added that “the Holy Monastery of Panaghia Soumela, which was a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List and has always been a significant place of religious worship for all Christians, should have the greatest possible protection and be fully accessible to everyone,” the same sources added.

Greek diplomatic sources have expressed criticism regarding the decision made by Turkish authorities to refuse permission for the celebration of the August 15 feast day at the former Orthodox Christian Sumela Monastery, located in the mountainous Trabzon region known to Greeks as Trapezounta.

The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch informed the Christian community of the decision in a statement released on Thursday. However, no explanation was provided for the denial.

The celebration was held at the restored monument in both 2022 and 2021 after it had been closed since 2015 for restoration and reinforcement works.

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