«Charitable Foundation of Ivan Savvidi» supported organization of live broadcast of the Liturgy in the Sumela Monastery.
At the Liturgy which took place on Assumption Day (15th August according to the Gregorian style) gathered more than thousand of Orthodox Christians from Australia, Germany, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey.
Festival liturgy was held by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the territory of the Sumela Monastery not far from Trabzon (Turkey).
It was the sixth service since it was officially permitted to hold the Liturgy in ancient Byzantine Monastery.
In 2010 the Association of Greek Public Organizations headed by Ivan Savvidi was one of the main initiators of the historical moment. The preparations were made with the assistance of Turkish, Russian and Greek governments, authorities of PACE and representatives of the Constantinople Patriarchy, Russian and Hellenic Orthodox Churches.
In his interview to ERT3 channel before the start of the live broadcasting Ivan Savvidi said that Orthodox Services in the Sumela monastery is just the first step towards the revival of the Orthodox shrines.
«Before the service our charitable foundation addressed Mr. Erdogan President of the Turkish Republic with the proposal to build a new mosque with following render of property to the local authorities or religious organization of the region. Instead we ask to render Hagia Sophia Church in Trabzon under the jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchy»-, he said.
After the liturgy representatives of the Pontic federations of the World asked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for blessing in their attempts to unite Pontic Greeks.
Ecumenical Patriarch blessed pilgrims and mentioned that only in unity Greeks can achieve desired goals.
The Sumela Monastery
The monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary was founded in AD 386.
The monastery is located in the Maçka district of Trabzon Province in modern Turkey. Nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) facing the Altındere valley, it is a site of great historical and cultural significance, as well as a major tourist attraction within Altındere National Park.
For 16 ages the monastery was a symbol of Pontic Hellenism. Since the end of IV century and up to 1922 there was kept one of the main Christian sanctuaries- the icon of Virgin Mary originated from the earliest Christian times.
Nowadays the monastery is a museum and listed as one of the most protected monuments of UNESCO.
History of Pilgrimage
Pilgrim voyages supported by the Association of Greek Organizations of Russia (AGOOR) headed by Ivan Savvidi started in 2007.
This initiative gained support in the world- in pilgrim trips took part Pontic Greeks from Australia, The U.S., Australia, Austria, Germany, Greece, Russia and all countries of the Former Soviet Union.
The first liturgy in the Sumela Monastery since the Greco-Turkish war was held on 15th August 2010.
The Liturgy was held by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was in two languages- Classical Greek and Old Church Slavonic through the offices of Constantinople, Russian and Hellenic churches.
There were 600 pilgrims from different countries of the world. At total more than 4000 people visited the monastery on the festival day.