Last Sunday, 15 October 2023, marked the beginning of the operation of the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Smyrna, Türkiye. It is recalled that the church was granted by the Roman Catholic Church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to meet the needs of the Orthodox in the region.
On Saturday afternoon, 14 October 2023, His Eminence Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna presided over the Great Vespers. The next day, Sunday 15 October 2023, His Eminence presided over the Matins and the Divine Liturgy. The Church was full of faithful believers, since many members of the Orthodox Community of Smyrna attended the services.
Also present for the Divine Liturgy were, Ireneusz Bohinski, on behalf of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Smyrna, Apollinaire Bahinde, on behalf of the Order of the Franciscans, former vicar of the Church of Santa Maria, Mr. Alexandros Konstas, Consul General of Greece in Smyrna, Ms. Mioara Ştefan, Consul General of Romania in Smyrna, and Ms. Makvala Kharebava, on behalf of the Diplomatic Authority of Georgia in Ankara.
After the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Bartholomew thanked His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his contribution because from the first moment he understood the need of the Orthodox peoples of Smyrna and promoted the request of their Shepherd, Metropolitan Bartholomew, for the acquisition of a Church.
The Metropolitan stressed that this Church would serve the spiritual needs of the Orthodox in the region. He also thanked the Roman Catholic Church, especially the Franciscan Order, which, responding to the direction of Pope Francis, accepted the request of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and bestowed the Church to the local Orthodox Community.