Syriac Church to Be Built in Istanbul

Priest Gabriel Aktas in Syriac church in Mardin, southeastern Turkey

Pope Francis has confirmed the building of a new Syriac Church in Istanbul, on the site of a former Latin Rite Catholic cemetery according to the Vatican ambassador. This settles a dispute that arose in 2013.

The Virgin Mary Syriac Church, which will cost $1.5 million, will be built in the Yeşilköy district of Istanbul. The Mardin Syriac community reportedly donated 200,000 euro for the church’s construction.

It will be the first such house of worship to be built completely from scratch since the start of the Turkish Republic.

The church will feature distinctive Syriac architectural features as seen in the Mardin province, southeast Turkey, with its unique design produced by the Ergün Architecture firm.

The Turkish government approved the building of the church in 2015 during a luncheon then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held with minority leaders at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.

There are 25,000 Syriac Christians in Turkey, 18,000 of whom live in Istanbul.

Members of one of the oldest Christian denominations, Syriac Christians use a language related to the ancient Aramaic of Jesus Christ in their liturgy.

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