Christians in Turkey festively celebrate Christmas
Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas with a religious service on saturday at St. Pierre Church in Hatay. (Photo: AA)
The thousands of Christians in Turkey began their Christmas celebrations on Dec. 24, and several religious ceremonies were held in different churches as political figures like the president and prime minister issued holiday messages.
İstiklal Street was the center of activity where Christians gathered together to spend the evening. Some joined parties while many others went to church to pray.
Many Catholics celebrated Christmas with a religious service on the night of Dec. 24 at St. Antuan Church on İstiklal Street. The evening Christmas Eve service commemorates the fact that Jesus was born at night, more than 2,000 years ago.
Along with Christians, Muslims also visited the church that evening to watch the service. After singing hymns, bread spread with butter and marmite was distributed to visitors.
On Friday, President Abdullah Gül issued a Christmas message. Emphasizing that traditions and customs that have evolved over the centuries tie citizens together, Gül said in the message that “our values such as solidarity, good faith and compassion that also reflect the spirit of Christmas form the most valuable part of our common heritage. In this sense, I wish our citizens of all Christian traditions and the entire Christian world a Merry Christmas, lots of happiness and much success.”
Another ceremony was held at the Fener Greek Patriarchate on Sunday morning, Christmas Day.
Along with local Orthodox Christians, hundreds of Orthodox Christians from different provinces of Turkey and abroad attended the service led by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew. The service began at 9 a.m. in the Aya Yorgi church located in the garden of the Fener Greek Patriarchate.
Guests took photo of themselves in front of the decorated Christmas tree in the garden.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that "we have lived on this soil together by sharing a common destiny and history and displaying tolerance, respect and understanding for each other."
In his Christmas message, Erdoğan said the residents of Turkey continue to live together as equal citizens and in unity.
“I believe that the spirit of unity and the climate of mutual love and respect will get stronger in the future. With these thoughts, I wish all Christians a happy Christmas in tranquility and in peace,” Erdoğan said.
- Openly resentful of party, Gül reveals Davutoğlu as new prime minister
- Outgoing first lady breaks silence on criticism, promises ‘intifada'
- Atalay declares 'direct talks with Kandil,' PKK to get stronger
- Testimony of police officers taken 30 hours after detention
- TurkStat : Age of youngest reported bonzai users drops below 11
- Southeast simmers as tension escalates after demolition of PKK statue
- MHP leader: Official Gazette's delay of election results unlawful
- Man strangles stepmother in Bursa
- PKK makes $50-100 million per year from heroin smuggling
- PKK attacks outpost construction site in Tunceli's Hozatlı district
- Skyscrapers damaging İstanbul skyline to be demolished
- 155 illegal immigrants detained in Fethiye
- Turkey ranks 128th in the Global Peace Index
- Education Minister asked about discrimination claims
- Chamber of Architects warns preservation board over AOÇ
- Council of State permits probe into YÖK head
- Bursa man seeks justice for son, beaten by police instead
- Principal appointments begin in suspense
- 1 more police officer placed under arrest pending trial
- Turkish lieutenant killed, another soldier injured in PKK attack
- Mother mourns loss of son to underage driver
- Public role in $30-bln airport financing scrutinized
- More wounded Palestinians transferred to Turkey for treatment
- Gov't tries to hush up scandalous espionage and tender rigging charges
- Official Gazette delays release of election results, PM given time
- At least 34 injured in Kastamonu bus accident
- Site of 700-year-old tomb marred by dorm construction
- Erdoğan gov't expands ban on media coverage for public event
- Reactions grow over profiling allegations against AK Party government
- Search efforts intensify for 5 İstanbulites missing at sea
- Government says considering talks with PKK's military wing
- ‘Law mandates Erdoğan both resigned and ex-prime minister'
- Officers deny wrongdoing on way to testify at court
- Argument between bus drivers leaves one dead
- Deputy Bal describes anti-police operation as psychological warfare
- 5 youths taken to ICU after bonzai drug trip in Bursa
- EGM report calls police operations into graft probes ‘success'
- Number of children who have drifted into crime increases 14.5 percent
- Number of people seeking psychological help triples
- One killed in Lice clashes over removal of statue of PKK member
- 78 CHP provincial heads announce support for Kılıçdaroğlu