Christian Orthodox celebrate Xmas at masses in churches across Turkey

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The Christian community in Turkey attended masses at churches across the country on Friday and Saturday to celebrate Christmas, highlighting wishes of peace for the world in their prayers.

The Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul hosted Christmas mass at the ancient Aya Yorgi (St George’s) Cathedral in Fatih province.

Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of much of the Orthodox world, was unable to lead the mass as he has been quarantined over COVID-19, so the mass was led by the Kadıköy Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Emmanuel Adamakis.

Bartholomew I is regarded primus inter pares (first among equals) of Orthodox churches across the world – including Greek, Russian, Serbian and Romanian – that appeal to 300 million around the world. The patriarchate has a small congregation in Istanbul but many of its followers live abroad, mainly in the U.S.

Saying prayers and singing Christmas carols, attendees also lit candles as part of the mass. Many people from Greece and European countries attended the mass