Turkey to build its first modern Syriac Church

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The world’s oldest Syriac Orthodox monastery, Mor Gabriel in Turkey’s Mardin Province. (AFP Archive) Around 18,000 Syriacs have been using churches of other Christian communities.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to lay the cornerstone for the construction of the first Syriac church built from scratch since the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923, according to Middle East Eye. The church will be built in Istanbul’s Yesilkoy, the neighbourhood that has the largest Syriac population in the city. Around 18,000 Syriacs in Turkey have long been demanding a place of worship and using other Christian communities’ churches as their current building isn’t large enough to accommodate the worshippers. The Church was planned to be built in 2015, in an area at an Italian cemetery that was used until 1950, but the construction was suspended due to legal problems. “[President] Erdogan will be the first head of state to both grant the permission for a church and the first to attend the ceremony to lay the cornerstone of it,” Sait Susin, the head of the Syriac Church Foundation said. According to Susin, the church is expected to open in two years with the financial contribution of the Syriac community.