Sunday saw St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in the Karaköy quarter of İstanbul reopen for religious services following a six-year period of renovation supported by Sişli Municipality Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül.
Sarıgül was joined for the occasion by the mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, along with Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, deputy patriarch of the Armenian Patriarchate based in İstanbul.
Speaking at the opening ceremony prior to the Sunday church service, Ateşyan thanked Sarıgül for his support and efforts during the renovation, emphasizing the importance and value of showing respect towards houses of worship, “We are all indebted to Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, who has extended a helping hand to all sorts of projects in places ranging from Diyarbakır to Van, as well as many more that I do not even know about. I want to thank him on behalf of the patriarchate,” he said.
Commenting upon the attendance of special guest Ude at the opening, Sarıgül said he was thrilled to have the mayor of Munich present on the occasion. “I thought long and hard about who I could invite to the opening who would be supportive and appreciative of such a project, and Christian Ude came to mind. We are absolutely delighted to have Ude, who has initiated and supported so many important projects in Munich over the years, with us in İstanbul today,” he said. The church, which is unique in that it is the only one in İstanbul with a conical dome, is the latest in a line of Armenian churches that have undergone restoration and been reopened in Turkey.