EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): As you will see in the posts below (English and Greek) tomorrow August 15, Pat. Bartholomew will celebrate one of the biggest days in the Orthodox calendar, The Dormition of Theotokos / Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in one of the holiest places of world Orthodoxy, Panagia Soumela at Trabzon, Turkey, which has just reopened after 5 years of renovations. As he celebrates there, we call him to offer thanks to the Russians and particularly to President Putin for applying pressure on Erdogan in 2010 and making this celebration a reality after 88 years… At that time (August 15, 2010), Patriarch Bartholomew officially thanked the Russian Patriarchate, whose Vicar, Metropolitan Tikhon of Podolsk, was present at the liturgy. But to all of us following the events then, it was known that Ivan Savvides, a Greek-Russian businessman and MP with President’s Putin’s party, had intervened to Putin and made the re-opening possible. Ivan Savvides visited the US a few years ago (2017), was the Grand Marshal at the Greek Parade on 5th Avenue, went to Panagia Soumela in NJ, made big donations and yours truly had a chance to interview him briefly.
BELOW: Chuck Schumer, Arch. Demetrios, Ivan Savvides, and Bill De Blasio, lead the Greek independence Day Parade of 2017 (Photo: Dimitris Panagos)…
It’s even more important for Pat. Bartholomew to recognize this unifying moment for Orthodoxy now, as his own unreasonable acts have caused a Schism and ripped apart the Ecumenical title that he bears… Here at Helleniscope, we know that truth hurts – as the Patriarchate and GOARCH are reduced to playing geopolitical games. But the truth is the only way: Patriarch Bartholomew, you should give credit where credit is due. The re-opening of the Soumela Monastery was the biggest advancement of the Patriarchate’s religious freedom in Turkey in the last 100 years and Russia played a central role in this. What did the State Department accomplish for the Halki Seminary and other issues? Absolutely nothing at all – a big ZERO.
Please read the report (link here) and watch the videos of that first re-opening in 2010… They are quite moving…
The Soumela Monastery in Trabzon can be visited again 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.
In February 2016 restoration work started included landscaping, geological, geotechnical research, and fixing and removing all dangerous rocks, and reinforcing the steel nets around the Monastery.
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.
The secret tunnel leads to ancient chapel discovery at Panagia Soumela.
Τραπεζούντα: Πατριαρχική Θεία Λειτουργία στην Παναγία Σουμελά
Πατριαρχική Θεία Λειτουργία επί τη εορτή της Κοιμήσεως της Θεοτόκου θα τελεστεί αύριο, 15 Αυγούστου, στην ιστορική Πατριαρχική και Σταυροπηγιακή Μονή Παναγίας Σουμελά της Τραπεζούντας. Μάλιστα, θα είναι η πρώτη φορά μετά την ολοκλήρωση των εκτεταμένων εργασιών αναστήλωσης, που θα λειτουργήσει εκεί ο Παναγιώτατος Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης.
Πέρσι, την πρώτη χρονιά που δόθηκε άδεια από τις τουρκικές Αρχές μετά το κλείσιμο λόγω εργασιών, την πανηγυρική Θεία Λειτουργία είχαν τελέσει οι Σεβασμιώτατοι Μητροπολίτες Καλλιουπόλεως και Μαδύτου κ. Στέφανος, Σηλυβρίας κ. Μάξιμος, και Ζάμπιας κ. Ιωάννης (ιεράρχης του Πατριαρχείου Αλεξανδρείας), ενώ ο Παναγιώτατος βρισκόταν στην ιδιαίτερη πατρίδα του, Ίμβρο.
Την Κυριακή 15 Αυγούστου 2021, στις 10 το πρωί (ώρα Ελλάδας), την Πατριαρχική Θεία Λειτουργία θα μεταδώσει απευθείας από την Παναγία Σουμελά, στην Τραπεζούντα, η ΕΡΤ3.