Christians Have First Public Service in Turkey

This post from Christian Today is about Turkey and their endeavors to become more culturally diverse. The most probable cause behind Turkey letting Christians have a Mass for the first time in their country’s history is their longing to become members of the United Nations. No matter what the motive for their actions may be, it is still great to see Christians gain an opportunity to publicly hold a service for the first time.

“Turkey allowed Christians to hold a rare service at a politically sensitive monastery for the first time since the modern-day country’s creation nearly nine decades ago.

Sunday’s Mass at the ancient monastery of Sumela near the Black Sea was led by Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.

Over 1,500 pilgrims from Greece, Russia and other countries travelled to the Byzantine-era monastery for the emotional, three-hour service – the first of two that Turkey’s government has permitted this summer.

According to reports, Turkey’s Culture Ministry said the decision to open the two churches was a result of the ministry’s “evaluation that visitor activity brought by belief tourism would contribute in solving economic, political and social problems in these regions and would have a positive impact on relations with neighbouring countries”.

Some observers believe that the move is part of the Turkish government’s effort to improve its public relationship with ethnic and religious minorities amid its bid to join the European Union.” – “Turkey’s Christians Hold Historic Church Service”, Christian Today