Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (Bartholomew) on Monday officiated at the service of the Dormition of Virgin Mary at the historic Panaghia Soumela Monastery in the Trabzon province, on Turkey's Black Sea coast. Vartholomeos, who was joined by Archbishop of America Demetrios, called for peace and love in the world, speaking in both Greek and Turkish.
Additionally, the Ecumenical Patriarch thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for its presence at the celebration and expressed a wish that one day he will co-offiiciate a religious service at the site with the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyrill.
Approximately 700 pilgrims from around the world attended the liturgy inside the monastery, which is locate at an altitude of 1,200 metres.
The occasion marks the second consecutive year that the Patriarch has officiated at a service on Aug. 15 at the specific monastery, the second such event since the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
In June 2010, the Turkish government accepted the Patriarchate’s request to hold mass in the monastery, which was converted into a museum and has not operated as a Christian place of worship since 1923.The monastery is considered as the spiritual metropolis of Pontian Hellenism