The work of the next meeting of the Permanent Holy Synod of the Greek Church ended with a strong protest statement over the situation with Panagia Sumela.
Protest of the Greek Church
According to the Synod, due to the fact that last week the ancient Holy Monastery of Panagia Sumela in Trabzon was used as a setting for a music video by a group of thirty people, consisting of dancers and sound and image specialists, who sang and danced to the sound of the bell , The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church strongly protests against the desecration of the shrine of the historic monastery on the basis of a permit issued by the Turkish authorities, at a time when the Holy Monastery is closed and visits are prohibited due to restoration and other auxiliary work.
The Holy Monastery of Panagia Sumela was founded in 386 AD by the Athenian monks Barnabas and Sophronius after the appearance of the Virgin Mary, in order to install Her miraculous image there, which, according to legend, is the work of the evangelist Luke. Since then, this place has been the center of worship of Pontic Hellenism and not only, since believers from all over the world gathered here for fifteen centuries to worship the holy image of the Virgin Mary and other sacred relics stored there, and it has a special cult significance. For a whole century, after the genocide and the extermination of the Greeks of Pontus, sacred Liturgies have not been held.
The decision of the Turkish institutions to transfer the use of the territory of the Holy Monastery to a musical group is an insult and an insult to the nature of this religious and historical monument. The justification of the actors that the video was filmed there in order to promote Panagia Sumela as a tourist site is considered unacceptable, caused discontent and a sharp reaction even from local residents who love and respect the monument.
The Permanent Holy Synod of the Church of Greece expresses its disappointment, its resolute protest and its reflections on the fact that after the transformation into mosques of the churches of Hagia Sophia of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia of Trebizond and the Monastery of Chora, the Monastery of Panagia Sumela, and in fact in the very place where annually 15 August, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch – another action of the Turkish authorities towards the monument of world cultural heritage.
This action severely offends not only the religious sensibilities of the Pontian Greeks, but also the international notion of respecting and protecting religious and historical monuments from any attempt to change their character.
However, it is worth noting the hypocrisy and inconsistency on the part of some political websites and media: to protest against such insults to Christian monuments in Turkey, while at the same time justifying, as a sign of progressiveness, similar and worse public insults against extremists.