Turkish authorities allow religious service to be held in Sumela
More than thousand Greeks, mostly from Europe and America, whose ancestors after the First World War were driven out of Turkey from the Asia Minor's region of Pontus, are on the way to an ancient monastery of "Theotokos of Sumela", where Patriarch Bartolomew will serve on Monday the liturgy on the feast day of the Dormition of the Theotokos according to the new calendar.
The Turkish authorities allowed last year religious service to be held on its feast day after 88 years. For this year they gave the permission again. Greeks want the monastery founded in IV century to open again, and there are good chances that to happen.
The faith of the monastery of Sumela is "a great wound of all Hellenes", especially of the Pontic Greeks, who have significant characteristics in relation to other compatriots, their dialect, their dress, folklore, folk music, historical memory of the Pontic Greek kingdom extinguished by the Othomans in 15th century.
The icon "Theotokos of Sumela" are present in many Greek homes and many clubs abroad are called "Sumela".
It is possible, like last year, that the Turkish nationalists might demonstrate in the nearby town of Trabzon against "re-emergence of the Greeks." The patriarchate of Constantinople ask pilgrims to restrain at the arrival and at the departure from all that could be labeled as a provocation or a disruption of peace. Patriarch will give a message to Muslims, who are now in the Ramadan fast.