Turkey plans to reopen the " Panagia Soumela Monastery"
- Turkey plans to reopen the " Panagia Soumela Monastery"
02 Jun 2005 13:10:00
Turkish local authorities in Trapazounta plan to reopen the Panagia Soumela Monastery as worship place aimed at an increase in the number of Russian tourists.
The decision was taken by Trapezounta prefect, Housein Yiavounzntemir last Wednesday during a meeting of local authority officials, aimed to attract religious tourism from Russia. Specifically, they decided the abolishment of visas in Russian citizens' passports who are not staying longer than three days in the region.
It should be mentioned that the decision is not a goodwill gesture towards Greece and Pontian refugees,- who fled the region after the Asia Minor catastrophy- and the Ecumenical Patriarchate which has religious jurisdiction of all the metropolis in Pontos and the broader region.
About 150 thousand tourists visit the historical monastery "Panagia Sumela" . According to tradition, two Athenian monks, Varnavas and Sofronios in 386 cimbed to the peak of Mount Mela in response to Virgin Mary's call and built a church carving the rocks. Gradually, other churches were built as well as dormitories for the monks and visitors, and a library. Till 1922, the Asia Minor destruction, the monastery remained a significant center for Orthodox-Cristians. That year the monks hid Virgin Mary icon, the cross of emperor, Manuil III Komninos and the handwritten gospel by Osios Hristoforos. Amvrosios Sumeliotis undug these holy relics in 1931 and brought them to Greece following an agreement between then Prime-minister, Eleftherios Venizelos and Turkish Prime-minister, Ismet Inonou.
Today the icon of Panagia Sumela is in a new monastery built on Mount Vermio, in Veria, built by refugees from Pontos.
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