Ankara, July 21, 2023
Unfortunately, the Patriarchate of Constantinople was not granted permission to celebrate the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos at the historic Panagia Sumela Monastery this year.
The Patriarchate announced yesterday:
Interested devout Christians are hereby informed that this year the Divine Liturgy will not be celebrated on the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15th) at the historic Holy Monastery of Panagia Sumela, as the required permission was not granted by the relevant government authorities.
For centuries, the cliff-side Panagia Sumela Monastery in the Black Sea city served as the cradle of Pontian Hellenism. After 88 years of banning access to the site, Turkey reopened it on August 15, 2010, and a new tradition of Patriarch Bartholomew celebrating the monastery’s patronal feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos began.
However, the monastery was closed for restoration in September 2015, and the Patriarch was not permitted to serve throughout the restoration process, which mostly addressed the stability of the cliff.
A series of mini-inaugurations successively opened more sections of the monastery. It was opened up through the first courtyard in May 2019, and in July 2020, 65% of the monastery was opened to the public and the Divine Liturgy was celebrated again on Dormition that year.
The monastery fully reopened to the public in May 2022, and Pat. Bartholomew and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America celebrated the feast of Dormition there that August.