The Aya Nikola Church, which was built in 1600 and used to serve Greek locals in Mustafapaşa, has been restored after being in ruins for many years. Following the official reopening of the church, Bartholomew led a two-hour Divine Liturgy that featured readings from the Bible, prayers and hymns. The service was attended by some 500 people from the US, Greece, İstanbul and İzmir.
The participants circumambulated the church while holding candles. The service ended with a prayer in Greek by Bartholomew. After the service, the patriarch attended the inauguration ceremony of a festival called “Bonds of Love” in the garden of the church.
“Cappadocia is a region where prominent clergymen and religious figures were raised from the earliest periods of Christianity,” said Bartholomew at the ceremony. “May they rest with God in heaven.”
The patriarch added that Cappadocia attracts many people because of its spiritual atmosphere that helps lead them to an inward peace.
The patriarch also thanked Mustafapaşa Mayor Levent Ak for inviting him to reopen the historic church. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Ak sent a message of peace, tolerance and dialogue. “Dialogue between civilizations is needed now more than ever,” he stated.
After the ceremony, the mayor presented Bartholomew with a plaque and a ceramic plate. The patriarch then toured an artist exhibition featuring oil paintings by 15 artists at a nearby church.