Thursday, December 06, 2007

Some News of St. Nicholas from Turkey

(Icon of St. Nicholas from Orthodixie)

I do not know whether the story is factual or not, but it seems that the Turkish government will finally allow Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to celebrate a Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Nicholas in Demre, Turkey. This seems to be the original source.

If true, it would mark a small, but significant step in the right direction for the Turkish government. The Minister of Culture stated that "I earnestly want every citizen in this country to be able to freely celebrate their own religion in the place seen as most important for worship.” Apparently, he also appropriated 45,000 Turkish Lira for completion of restoration of the 4th-century basilica. We'll see.


Death Bredon said...

Notice the the key word "citizen" in the politico's quote. How many Turkish citizens will be qualified to replace Bart and his aging retinue? In short, Turkey's "Christian problem" is simply going to go away soon.

John said...

No doubt. Obviously this politico's statement doesn't sweep away the policy of decades. But it does hint at a slight shift. I do know that Turkey is now keenly aware of the tourist potential of even the most obscure Christian site. The story indicates that just this year, 250,000 Russian visitors alone have visited the church. Turkey treats these sites as museums,--the Armenians are lobbying to be able to have a service in the Akdamar "museum". My hopes are guarded, but it will be interesting to see what comes of this--probably a backlash by Turkish nationalists.