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Christianity in Turkey

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Christianity in Turkey

Greek-Orthodox metropolises in Asia Minor, ca. 1880.

Christianity has a long history in Anatolia-Asia Minor and Armenian Highland (now part of Turkey), which is the birthplace of numerous Christian Apostles and Saints, such as Paul of Tarsus, Timothy, Nicholas of Myra, Polycarp of Smyrna and many others.

Two out of the five centers (Patriarchates) of the ancient Pentarchy are in Turkey: Constantinople (Istanbul) and Antioch (Antakya). Antioch was also the place where the followers of Jesus were called "Christians" for the first time in history, as well as being the site of one of the earliest and oldest surviving churches, established by Saint Peter himself. For a thousand years, the Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world.

Turkey is also home to the Seven Churches of Asia, where the Revelations to John were sent. Apostle John is reputed to have taken Virgin Mary to Ephesus in western Turkey, where she spent the last days of her life in a small house, known as the House of the Virgin Mary, which still survives today and has been recognized as a holy site for pilgrimage by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, as well as being a Muslim shrine. The cave of the Seven Sleepers is also located in Ephesus.

All of the first seven Ecumenical Councils which are recognized by both the Western and Eastern churches were held in present-day Turkey. Of these, the Nicene Creed, declared with the First Council of Nicaea (İznik) in 325, is of utmost importance and has provided the essential definitions of present-day Christianity.

Today, however, Turkey has a smaller Christian percentage of its population than any of its neighbours, including Ottoman Empire. This was followed by the continued emigration of most of the remaining indigenous Christians over the next century.

During the tumultuous period of the first world war and founding of the Turkish republic, up to 3 million indigenous Christians are alleged to have been killed. Prior to this time, the Christian population stood at around 20% of the total.

In addition, the vast majority of Christians in Turkey have been members of Jews and its nonrecognition of other religions, means that Turkey is an Islamic state de facto, and ethnic Turks are almost exclusively Muslim.

There is small ethnic Turkish Protestant Christian community in Turkey which number about 4,000-5,000[1] adherents most of them came from Muslim Turkish background.[2][3][4][5]

Today the Christian population of Turkey is estimated at more than 160,000 Protestants of various ethnicities.

According to Bekir Bozdag, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, there were 349 active churches in Turkey (October 2012). 140 Greek, 58 Assyrian and 52 Armenian.[12]

Christian communities

Churches of the Byzantine rite

Istanbul is the seat of the patriarchate, one of the oldest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Antioch is the official seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. Hatay Province including Antakya is not part of the canonic area of the Church of Constantinople. Most of the local orthodox persons are Arabic-speaking.

  • Turkish Orthodox Church (unrecognized by all other churches in the world) was created by Turkish nationalists who tried to create a Turkish national church to counter the influence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for political reasons.
Armenian church in Vakifli, Turkey

Churches of the Armenian rite

35 churches in Istanbul and its surrounding areas. Other churches in Kayseri, Diyarbakır, Derik, İskenderun, Vakifli Koyu and Kirikhan. Besides Surp Asdvadzadzin Patriarchal Church (translation: the Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Patriarchal Church) in Kumkapi, Istanbul, there are tens of Armenian Apostolic churches.[13]

Churches of the Syriac Assyrian rite

Mor Hananyo Monastery, near Mardin, Turkey

Churches of the Latin rite

Anglican Church

The Anglicans in Turkey form part of the Eastern Archdeaconry of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. In 2008 the Bishop of Europe, Geoffrey Rowell caused controversy by ordaining a local man to minister to Turkish speaking Anglicans in Istanbul.[14]

The main churches are at Ankara (St Nicholas), Istanbul (Christ Church) and Izmir (St John the Evangelist).

Other denominations

The Armenian Protestants own three Istanbul Churches from the 19th century.[15] There is an Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey.[16]

Christian Houses of Worship

Churches of the Byzantine rite

Church name Picture Status
Saint Andrew in Krisei converted into a mosque
Chora Church converted into a mosque, museum
Church of Christ Pantokrator (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Church of Christ Pantepoptes (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Palace of Antiochos ruins
Church of the Virgin of the Pharos ruins
Monastery of Gastria converted into a mosque
Church of St. George, Istanbul active
Hagia Irene museum
Hagia Sophia converted into a mosque, museum
Church of the Holy Apostles demolished, Fatih Mosque build on top
Church of Saint John the Baptist at Lips (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Monastery of Stoudios ruins
Church of Saint John the Baptist en to Trullo (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Church of St. Mary of Blachernae (Istanbul) active
Church of St. Mary of the Mongols active
Myrelaion converted into a mosque
Church of Saint Nicholas of the Caffariotes (Istanbul) converted into a mosque
Pammakaristos Church converted into a mosque
Church of Sergius and Bacchus converted into a mosque
Bulgarian St. Stephen Church active
St. Demetrius Church in Feriköy, Istanbul active
Church of Hagia Thekla tu Palatiu ton Blakhernon converted into a mosque
Church of Hagios Theodoros (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Church of Hagias Theodosias en tois Dexiokratus converted into a mosque
Church of the Theotokos Kyriotissa (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Kuştul Monastery ruins
Sümela Monastery museum
House of the Virgin Mary museum
Meryem Ana Church active

Churches of the Georgian rite

Locations of some of the Georgian churches.
Church name Picture Status
Notre Dame de Lourdes (Turkey) (tr) active
Oshki (Öşk Vank/Çamlıyamaç) abandoned
Khakhuli Monastery (Haho/Bağbaşi) converted into a mosque
Doliskana (Dolişhane/Hamamlıköy) abandoned
Bana cathedral (Penek) ruins
Tbeti Monastery (Cevizli) ruins
Ani ruins
Ishkhani (İşhan) abandoned
Parkhali (Barhal/Altıparmak) converted into a mosque
Khandzta ruins
Ekeki ruins
Otkhta Eklesia ((Dörtkilise)) abandoned
Parekhi ruins
St. Barlaam Monastery of Antioch (tr)
წმ. ბარლაამის მონასტერი კასიუსის მთაზე
ruins
Ancha monastery ruins

Churches of the Armenian rite

Church name Picture Status
Church of the Apparition of the Holy Cross (Kuruçeşme, Istanbul)
Yerevman Surp Haç Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Archangels Armenian Church (Balat, Istanbul)
Surp Hıreşdagabed Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Cross Armenian Church (Kartal, Istanbul)
Surp Nişan Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Cross Armenian Church (Üskudar, Istanbul)
Surp Haç Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Hripsimiants Virgins Armenian Church (Büyükdere, Istanbul)
Surp Hripsimyants Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Apostolic Church (Bakırköy, Istanbul)
Surp Asdvadzadzin Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Beşiktaş, Istanbul)
Surp Asdvadzadzin Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Eyüp, Istanbul)
Surp Asdvadzadzin Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Ortaköy, Istanbul)
Surp Asdvadzadzin Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Yeniköy, Istanbul)
Surp Asdvadzadzin Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Resurrection Armenian Church (Kumkapı, Istanbul)
Surp Harutyun Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Resurrection Armenian Church (Taksim, Istanbul)
Surp Harutyun Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Three Youths Armenian Church (Boyacıköy, Istanbul)
Surp Yerits Mangants Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Trinity Armenian Church (Galatasaray, Istanbul)
Surp Yerrortutyun Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Narlıkapı Armenian Apostolic Church (Narlıkapı, Istanbul)
Surp Hovhannes Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Elijah The Prophet Armenian Church (Eyüp, Istanbul)
Surp Yeğya Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Garabed Armenian Church (Üsküdar, Istanbul)
Surp Garabet Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. John the Baptist Armenian Church (Uskudar) unknown
St. John The Evangelist Armenian Church (Gedikpaşa, Istanbul)
Surp Hovhannes Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. George (Sourp Kevork) Armenian Church (Samatya, Istanbul) unknown
St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Galata, Istanbul) active
St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Kuzguncuk, Istanbul)

Surp Krikor Lusaroviç Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)
Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Gregory The Enlightener (Kınalıada, Istanbul)Armenial Church
Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Ermeni Kilisesi
active

Surp Hagop Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Nicholas Armenian Church (Beykoz, Istanbul)
Surp Nigoğayos Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Nicholas Armenian Church (Topkapı, Istanbul)
Surp Nigoğayos Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Santoukht Armenian Church (Rumelihisarı, Istanbul)
Surp Santuht Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Saviour Armenian Chapel (Yedikule, Istanbul)
Surp Pırgiç Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Sergius Armenian Chapel (Balıklı, Istanbul)
Surp Sarkis Anıt Mezar Şapeli
active
St. Stephen Armenian Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)
Surp Istepanos Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Stephen Armenian Church (Yeşilköy, Istanbul)
Surp Istepanos Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Takavor Armenian Apostolic Church (Kadıkoy, Istanbul)
Surp Takavor Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Saints Thaddeus and Barholomew Armenian Church (Yenikapı, Istanbul)
Surp Tateos Partoğomeos Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Vartanants Armenian Church (Feriköy, Istanbul)
Surp Vartanants Ermeni Kilisesi
active
The Twelve Holy Apostles Armenian Church (Kandilli, Istanbul)
Surp Yergodasan Arakelots Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastea Armenian Church (Iskenderun, Hatay)
Surp Karasun Manuk Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. George Armenian Church (Derik, Mardin)
Surp Kevork Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Kayseri)
Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Ermeni Kilisesi
active
St. Gregory The Enligtener Armenian Church (Kırıkhan, Hatay)
Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Kilisesi
active
St. Giragos Armenian Church (Diyarbakır)
Surp Giragos Ermeni Kilisesi
active
Cathedral of Ani ruins
Cathedral of Kars converted into a mosque
Cathedral of Mren ruins
Holy Apostles Monastery ruins
Horomos ruins
Karmravank (Vaspurakan) ruins
Kaymaklı Monastery ruins
Khtzkonk Monastery ruins
Ktuts monastery abandoned
Monastery of Yedi Kilisa ruins
Narekavank no trace, mosque build on top
Saint Bartholomew Monastery ruins
Saint Karapet Monastery ruins
St. Marineh Church, Mush ruins
St. Stepanos Church ruins
Tekor Basilica ruins
Varagavank ruins
Armenian church in Vakıflı
Vakıflıköy Ermeni Kilisesi
active

Churches of the Syriac Assyrian rite

Church name Picture Status
Mor Sharbel Syriac Orthodox church in Midyat active
Mor Gabriel Monastery active
Mor Hananyo Monastery active

Roman Catholic Churches

Church name Picture Status
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit active
St. Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul active
Cathedral of the Annunciation, İskenderun active
Co-Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua, Mersin active
St. John's Cathedral, Izmir active
Church of St Peter museum
Church of San Domenico (Constantinople) converted into a mosque
Church of SS Peter and Paul, Istanbul active

[17]

Anglican Churches

Church name Picture Status
Christ Church, Istanbul active
St. John the Evangelist's Anglican Church, Izmir active

See also

References

  1. ^ Interview with Zekai Tanyar, the Chair of the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey
  2. ^ Turkish Protestants still face "long path" to religious freedom
  3. ^ Christians in eastern Turkey worried despite church opening
  4. ^ Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks
  5. ^ TURKEY: Protestant church closed down
  6. ^ a b http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=161291
  7. ^ "Foreign Ministry: 89,000 minorities live in Turkey". Today's Zaman. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Roman Catholics by country". Fact-Archive.com. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  9. ^ http://www.refworld.org/docid/49749c9837.html
  10. ^ a b The Greeks of Turkey, 1992-1995 Fact-sheet by Marios D. Dikaiakos
  11. ^ Christen in der islamischen Welt – Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 26/2008)
  12. ^ "CHP Tunceli Milletvekili Hüseyin Aygün’ün soru önergesini Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü ve Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı’nın ayrı bilgi notlarıyla yanıtlayan Başbakan Yardımcısı Bekir Bozdağ, Türkiye’de faaliyette bulunan kilise sayısının 349, sinagog sayısının 38 olduğunu bildirdi...Bozdağ, Türkiye’de Rumlara ait 140 kilise, Süryanilere ait 58 kilise ve Ermenilere ait 52 kilise bulunduğunu bildirdi". Siyaset.milliyet.com.tr. 
  13. ^ "Listing of Armenian Churches in Armeniapedia". Armeniapedia.org. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 
  14. ^ "Istanbul ordination may worsen life for Christians" Church Times, 18 January 2008
  15. ^ "German Site on Christians in Turkey". 
  16. ^ "World Evangelical Alliance". 
  17. ^ [1]

External links

  • Arestakes Simavoryan, CHRISTIANS IN TODAY’S TURKEY (Protestants and Catholics

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