Metropolitan Hilarion: filming a video clip in the monastery of Panagia Sumela – trampling on shrines

Panagia Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, closed due to renovations, was reopened specifically for a team of 30 dancers, technicians and DJs to shoot a video clip, ostensibly to advertise the monastery. The incident caused a negative reaction from the Moscow Patriarchate and the Greek Foreign Ministry.

Greek Foreign Minister: “The sight of the desecration of Panagia Sumela is offensive.”

“Recent images posted on social media of a Turkish group having a disco in the area of ​​the historic monastery of Panagia Sumela are a desecration of this UNESCO World Heritage Candidate Monument,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry notes: it is surprising that permission was given for the complex in question, since the monastery of Panagia Sumela is opened only for pilgrimage purposes. “These images are offensive and add to a series of actions by the Turkish authorities against World Heritage sites.”

DJ Ahmet Centerzi: Our goal is to present Sumela from a different perspective and with the energy of music

Despite the negative reaction from TISAD (Trabzon Travel Agencies Association), DJ/Producer Ahmet Senderzi in charge of the event stated: “All reasonable measures have been taken to protect the site. We wanted to promote Sumela Monastery from a different perspective and with the energy of music.”

Edition News Turk informsthat, despite the closed state due to the ongoing restoration of the shrine and the possibility of landslides, the local authorities gave permission to three DJs (DJ Ahmet Şenterzi, Volkan Gündüz and Cengiz Can Atasoy) to shoot a promo video there to advertise the monastery. However, they were only able to collect a lot of angry comments, including from the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The goal of our project in Sumel is to present her to the world from a different perspective and with the energy of music. I wanted to do it with music that I’m the best at. There are examples both in the world and in our country. For example, the video was filmed in the monastery of Bern in France, in the Egyptian pyramids and in our country in Nemrut, Göbekli Tepe and Cappadocia. The fact that Sumela was closed was an opportunity for us to make this amazing picture,” says DJ Ahmet Senterzi.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet had similar articles under the heading “Images from Sumela that caused a negative reaction!”, in the Cumhuriyet newspaper under the heading “Disco entertainment in the Sumela monastery”, on the T24 website under the heading “Entertainment in the Sumela monastery, which is closed due to maintenance, on the Halk tv website titled “Disco Entertainment Talk in Sumel”.

The Moscow Patriarchate spoke sharply about the incident, calling the disco in the Orthodox church “trampling on the shrines.”

“The ROC expresses its protest against the party held in the Turkish monastery of Panagia Sumela, in Trabzon in the east of the country, which was a ‘desecration of the Orthodox shrine’,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the department for external church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said on the website of the ROC.

“Today, the religious world in the country is again compromised: in the main historical shrine of the Pontic Greeks, the monastery of Panagia Sumela in Trebizond, local authorities allowed a disco. They say this was done to attract tourists,” Hilarion said.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate

The metropolitan expressed confidence that tourists from Russia – who, according to him, are in the majority in the country – would not like “such a cynical trampling of the Christian shrine.” At the same time, Hilarion noted that local residents and representatives of the tourism sector protested because of what had happened. “In Russia, such an attitude towards a temple or a mosque leads to the punishment of those responsible,” he said.

Hilarion said that the Russian Orthodox Church made a lot of efforts to ensure that pilgrims and priests could get into “this once glorious monastery” for worship. “We express our categorical protest against the desecration of Orthodox shrines in Turkey. We hope that its state leadership, especially in light of the strengthening of Russian-Turkish relations, will not turn a blind eye to this outrageous case,” Illarion added.

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