Reclaiming the Abandoned places of Empire
Though full of errors, the following report of the Divine Liturgy (wrongly called “mass” in the article) at the site of a former monastery in Turkey is nevertheless interesting.
Five hundred Greek orthodox Christians have celebrated mass in the beautiful 1,600-year-old Sumela monastery in north-eastern Turkey, ending an 88-year ban on religious services at the site.
Conducted by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dimitri Bartholomew I, the mass attracted orthodox Christians from Greece, Russia, Georgia, the US and Turkey to the monastery that sits on a ledge high in a cliff inland from the Turkish Black Sea port of Trabzon
The mass was conducted with the blessing of Turkey’s ministry of culture, which has funded an extensive restoration of the monastery that until a decade ago was in an advanced state of dereliction. The event, which was televised live around the world, occurred in contrast to attempts made last year to hold an orthodox mass at the site that were halted by ministry officials intent on upholding a ban on religious services at the monastery.
Trebizond, or Trabzon as it is now called, was the last Roman empire, or the last part of the Roman Empire to be conquered by the Turks. So this fits in nicely with the first of the “12 marks of the New Monasticism“, which is “Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire.”
It’s interesting that the Turkish Government is being slightly more lenient about this than the Port Authority of New York, which is refusing to allow the rebuilding of St Nicholas Orthodox Church in Manhattan, which was destroyed when one of the towers of the World Trade Centre fell on it 9 years ago. But whether the Turkish Government will allow monks to relocate to Sumela Monastery remains to be seen.
The first I ever heard of Trebizond was when an Anglican monk, Brother Roger of the Community of the Ressurection in Johannesburg, who guided much of my reading in my late teens, lent me Rose Macaulay’s novel The towers of Trebizond.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A delightful novel about a High Anglican attempt to reclaim “the abandoned places of empire”. The narrator Laurie and her (her sex is unclear until near the end of the story) aunt Dot, together with her aunt’s Anglo-Catholic chaplain set out for Trebizond, the site of the last Roman empire, with a camel. They are joined by a Turkish feminist whom they hope to convert to Anglicanism.
And for the rest of what’s wrong with the original article, see Unorthodox wordings, to say the least | GetReligion