The historic Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Trabzon of Pontus reopened after five years of restoration work.
The monastery was temporarily closed in 2015, in order to carry out support works, as it is built on a rock, at a height of 1,200 meters.
The reopening of the monastery, which is a popular tourist attraction, took place in the presence of Turkish Culture Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, expressed his satisfaction with the reopening of the monastery during a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew thanked the Turkish president for the restoration and reopening of Panagia Soumela.
Earlier, Erdoğan announced that on August 15, Orthodox Christians will be able to perform the Divine Liturgy at the monastery of Panagia Soumela.
The Turkish President said, among other things, that Soumela is a symbol for the promotion of Turkey abroad and bears the traces of all cultures that have passed through the region.
“If we were a nation that destroyed the symbols of other religions, as some claim, then in the place of this monastery that has been in our hands for five centuries, there would be nothing. The same goes for the other monuments that are scattered in Anatolia. We never wanted to flatten and destroy, we wanted to keep them alive,” Erdoğan said.