Soumela Monastery reopens to the public after five years

Greek Panagia Soumela Monastery in Trabzon

The Soumela Monastery in Trabzon can be visited again from after opening on Thursday.

As reported by ERT, the monastery, where 90% of the work has been completed is open to the public.

The 10 chapels, the Bell Tower, the guest house, the monks, the student rooms, and cellars located north of the Church will be open for the public, according to local Turkish media.

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Panagia Soumela Monastery in Trapezounta (Trabzon).

In February 2016 restoration work started included landscaping, geological, geotechnical research, and the fixing and removing all dangerous rocks and reinforcing the steel nets around the Monastery.

History

The former Greek Orthodox monastery of the Virgin Mary, Soumela is 48 km south of Trabzon via Machka in Turkey.

The monastery is perched on the cliff face of Karadağ (Mount Mela in English), nearly 300 metres above the west bank of a tributary of the Degirmen Dere (Mill River) in the Altindere National Park.

It is unclear exactly when the monastery was founded. The tradition is that the Soumela Monastery was founded by the Athenian monks Barnabas and Sophronios, who were commanded by the Virgin Mary to take her icon to Pontos.

The icon of Panagia, one of the four or five believed to have been painted by St Luke, preceded the monks, coming to the cave on Mount Mela, next to a holy-water fountain.

The establishment of Soumela probably occurred by the 10th century. It was abandoned in 1923 (Bryer and Winfield 1985, p. 254).

The Soumela monastery and the icon of Panagia Soumela are significant symbols of Pontic Greek identity and are highly revered.

Soumela Monastery reopens to the public after five years 2
The secret tunnel leads to ancient chapel discovery at Panagia Soumela.

READ MORE: Secret tunnel leads to ancient chapel discovery at Panagia Soumela.