Turkish voters strongly backed constitutional reforms on Sunday, handing a government led by conservative Muslims a new victory in a power struggle with secular opponents over the country’s direction.
An Istanbul seminary closed in 1971 is hosting its first public event in 40 years, raising hopes it may shortly be reopened by Turkey and once again educate priests for the Greek Orthodox community.
(Photo: Orthodox Christians at Sumela Monastery, 15 August 2010/Umit Bektas)
Europe Papadopolous’s grandparents were children when they fled their village in northeast Turkey and settled in Greece almost 90 years ago, yet she still felt she was in exile.
Turkey has offered citizenship to Orthodox Christian archbishops from abroad to help the next election of the ecumenical patriarch, the spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox faithful, officials said. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has quietly led the gesture to the Orthodox, who face a shortage of candidates to succeed Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 70, and serve on the Holy Synod, which administers patriarchate affairs.
(Photos: The Church of the Holy Cross, Akdamar Island, 27 June 2010/Umit Bektas)
Swallows dart around the dome of the 10th century Armenian church rising from Akdamar Island set amid the turquoise waters of Lake Van. Tombstones with ancient Christian inscriptions and crosses lie scattered among the weeds in the garden, where day-trippers picnic in the shade of almond trees and sunbathe after a swim.
About 1,000 Greek Orthodox gathered in central Turkey this weekend for a pair of emotional liturgies led by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as the Greek faithful seek to reclaim a cultural and religious link to their ancient homeland.
Journalists are supposed to be a pretty thick-skinned bunch, but it’s hard not to be shocked and saddened when you find out that one of your contacts has been murdered. That was the case for me when I heard that Bishop Luigi Padovese had been stabbed to death at his home in southern Turkey on Thursday. Although I never met him in person, we spoke several times over the phone about his efforts to reopen the church in Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. Click here for that story.
Turkey’s new opposition leader has purged key hardline secularists and set a tentative reformist course in a bid to regain ground lost to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party government, which critics accuse of secretly pursuing an Islamic state.