Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After 30 years, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Mor Eşayo and Mor Kuryakuş were reopened yesterday in the village of Midyat's Yemişli in the region of Mardin, south-eastern Turkey.
Mor Eşayo and Mor Kuryakuş respectively of the fourth and sixth centuries, had been closed since the 1980s and were restored by 72 Syrian families, who spent 600 thousand Turkish lira (about 300 thousand euros).
Hundreds of people belonging to the Syrian Orthodox communities from around the world attended the inaugural Mass presided by Mor Timetheos Samuel Aktaş, Metropolitan Bishop of Tur Abdin. In Turkey, the Syrian Orthodox church has 5 thousand faithful.
Tuma Çelik vice-president of the European Syriac Association, spoke at the ceremony: "The Syrians who live in countries far from their land - he said - actually live here in mind and spirit. Want to return to rest in this land". "The existence of the Syrians in Turkey - he added - is not recognized by the Constitution, it should be. If the government build infrastructure to improve the social, cultural and economic conditions, that the Syrians who return will grow quickly".Sources told AsiaNews that "in eastern Turkey, the Syrian Orthodox community is very active and that Ankara is making positive overtures towards them."