The Sümela Monastery held its second mass this year on Monday. There were 100,000 people in attendance at the mass held by the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew.
Greeted by the kemenche, a small three-stringed violin, Bartholomew delivered messages of world peace and also provided references from the Koran. Orthodox visitors that had come out from Russia, Greece, Georgia and the United States began walking towards the Sümela Monastery, which is located in Maçka, Trabzon in the early morning hours yesterday.
The orthodox participants lit candles and read prayers in the courtyard of the historical site. Due to the risk of falling stones, only 600 were allowed inside the monastery, 100 of which were from the press. A giant screen was set up outside for those unable to enter. A REFERENCE TO THE KORAN
The Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew walked up the road to the monastery and began the mass at 10:15 yesterday morning. Bartholomew spoke in both Greek and Turkish and began by stating, "Our Muslim brothers, we thank Allah for granting us this opportunity to pray at the historical Sümela Monastery this year."
Thanking Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay for their sensitivity, Bartholomew also mentioned the devastating attack in Norway by stating, "We have yet to recover from the tragic events that occurred in this country, and we won't for awhile. Achieving the peace we long for, especially during this time, has now become crucial. Blood continues to be shed in our neighboring countries. In our country, mothers lament for the deaths of their children."
Noting that Mother Mary holds special significance for Muslims and Christians, Bartholomew referred to a Koranic verse to describe Allah's reverence for her."The mass, which left some crying and one person even fainting, came to an end at 12:35. After the mass, participants sang Greek songs, accompanied by the kemenche. While walking down the path from the monastery, Bartholomew sat next to kemenche player Nejdet Çoban and listened to a number of local songs. Bartholomew appeared to enjoy Çoban's ballads and even gave him a small offering before continuing down the path. Collecting flowers along his way, Bartholomew was met by yet another kemenche player. After listening to him play and drinking an ayran offered to him, the patriarch then took the instrument's bow into his own hands and tried his hand at playing.