ISTANBUL (AA) – The first church built in the era of Turkiye as a republic will open its doors to the faithful on Sunday, reports Anadolu.
The 2019 ceremony, attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, laid the foundation stone for the St. Ephraim the Syrian Orthodox Church in Yesilkoy on the European side of Istanbul.
Sait Susin, president of the Syriac Kadim Foundation, expressed his excitement about the opening of the church in a statement to Anadolu.
Susin emphasized that the entire process of building the church lasted 10 years.
Recalling the brief delay in the opening of the church due to the deadly earthquakes that hit Turkiye in February this year, Susin said: “We were going to open on February 19, but the earthquakes on February 6 prevented us. It was a great tragedy for the country. In such circumstances, it was out of the question to realize the opening.”
He noted that Assyrian communities around the world are closely following the process, with many 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 prejudices from abroad regarding our country. I hope that the prayers offered here will be instrumental in strengthening the unity and togetherness of our country,” said Susin.
The church, designed as a five-story project in an empty space of the Latin Catholic cemetery, is located in Yesilkoy in Istanbul.
One floor of the five-story church is reserved as a cultural hall for the community to meet after ceremonies, such as baptisms, funerals and weddings, as well as for meetings and conferences.
On the ground floor are the bishop’s quarters, the guest rooms and the parking lot.
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