Bulgarian PM opens Orthodox church in Turkey
Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev and Turkish Culture & Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay opened Sunday the Sveti Constantine and Elena Church, restored by the Bulgarian government in Turkey.
Following the opening ceremony, Bulgarian premier attended a mass at the church in the northwestern city of Edirne. Stanishev said the opening of the church was the sign of good neighborly relations between Turkey and Bulgaria."This is a good example for the countries in our region, the Caucasus and also for other countries in the world," Stanishev said. "This is the second church in Edirne. I would like to thank everyone who is involved. It has ben restored by the Bulgarian government for half a million euros. But we could not achieve it without support from Turkish authorities," he said.
Turkish minister Gunay, who also took the floor at the ceremony, said that the opening of the 140-year-old church coincided with Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims.
"Edirne is a beautiful city which is home to several sanctuaries of different religions," he said. "We want to restore and erect all these historical places as well."
The Bulgarian Orthodox church named after Emperor Constantine the Great and his mother Elena was built in 1869. However, the church was abandoned to its fate in the mid-20th century.