President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Vatican Ambassador to Ankara Mons. Marek Solczynski at the Presidential Complex.
Ambassador Solczynski presented his letter of credence to President Erdoğan at the reception. Ambassador Solczynski introduced some embassy members to President Erdoğan.
Turkey: “A Church with open doors” in an Islamic society
Even though Christianity has a tradition of nearly 2,000 years in Turkey; today, after various waves of persecution, There are almost not any Christian in the country. Yet the archbishop of Izmir the West of country, Mons. Martin Kmetec reminds that “Turkey is where the first church was born”, in the west of the country.
Christianity in Turkey has a long tradition. Before the First World War, the territory of the former Ottoman Empire still had about 30% Christians. Today, it is estimated that around 0.2% of the Turkish population is Christian. In the archdiocese of Izmir, the country’s third city near by the Aegean Sea, the population of Christians is around 5,000. Archbishop of Izmir, Mons Martin states, “If we add migrants and refugees who live around city center of Izmir or in other big cities, it will be a little more. They mainly live in the city centers of Izmir and in other big cities”. The Archbisop Martin Kmetec originally from Slovenia and belongs to Order of Conventual Minor Friars. He worked in Lebanon almost eleven years then came to Turkey to live in 2001. In 2020, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed him Archbishop of Izmir. “We have communities in Konya, Antalya and other cities on the coast. Our Archdiocese is very large; its territory covers approximately 100,000 km2. Konya is the furthest parish, it is 550 kilometers far from Izmir; and Antalya, which is located about 450 kilometers away is on the southern coast of Turkey. There are too much distances here. “
Can you freely proclaim the faith?
Archbishop Martin Kmetec:
– Giving testimony for life and fraternal life is a priority for me as a Franciscan. Saint Francis said that the Word should be preached in every occasion. We are trying to do this on social media and on the new Archdiocesan website. We try to be actively involved and to be a living church. Our mission is to become a Church with open doors. For this reason, all of our churches are open to the public at certain times. Sometimes there is mass or liturgy. There is always someone on hand to greet visitors and provide information if they have any questions. This is our way of evangelism in this situation.
The first church was born in here among the nations. Also the first ecumenical councils which marked the Catholich faith took place in this region that is known as Turkey nowadays.
Once Turkey was a secular country, now is currently experiencing an Islamic renaissance. Are Christians experience any discrimination due to their belief?
– I would not say that Christians experience any discrimination generally. However, there may be some negative experiences in dealing with authorities or administrative services. In Turkey, the Catholic Church is not recognize as a legal entity. Nevertheless, if we talk about dialogue, I would say that there is a dialogue of life. Fro example Caritas Organization is a part of our Church, of our Archdiocese. There are Caritas Offices in every dioceses and they help everyone both Christians and Muslims and all those need help. We also meet the imams of our region in various occasion, for example on “Brotherhood Day”. I went to the mayor of the city with some of priests and had an occasion to offer a gift: the Turkish translation of Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti. The encyclical Laudato si’, which deals with environmental issues that affect all of humanity, has also been translated into Turkish.
Is there an ecumenical dialogue in Turkey?
We have generally good relationships with the other Christian Churches. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Beatitude Bartholomew I, maintains good relations with the Focolare Movement and the new Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul, Bishop Massimiliano Palinuro. In Izmir, we also meet the Orthodox Churches, but also the Anglican ones, on various Christian holidays. Recently, Armenian priests celebrated an Armenian liturgy in our Catholic Church of Saint Polycarp, because they do not have their own church in Izmir. We also collaborated with the Armenians of Izmir to open a small bookstore for the Bible Society. So there are good signs of ecumenical dialogue.
Turkey is a very popular country for vacationers. Is it important for Christians visiting Turkey, also visit Christian churches?
Yes, it is very important. I would like to remind them that the origins of our faith are here. Here was born the first Church among the nations. The first ecumenical councils, which marked the Catholic faith, took place in this territory, now it is known as Turkey. The mission for Europe was born here. We have a German priest who takes care of the Catholics of German origin living here to support our pastoral activities. I would be happy if we could find another priest to serve the other communities, at least in the summer during the tourist season. But it also requires a financial support. Perhaps the European Council of Episcopal Conferences could think of ways to help us.
The Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul H.E. Monsignor Massimiliano Palinuro, made his first official visit to the Haghia Triada Church of Taksim with the priests who accompanied him and the members of the community of the Latin Catholic Church of Istanbul.
The meeting took place as part of the preparations for the theme of Synod on Synodality that His Holiness Pope Francis initiated on 10 October 2021.
The 113th General Assembly of the CET
The Catholic Bishops of Turkey convened in Izmir to celebrate the 113th General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Turkey in 13 – 15 January 2022.
During the meeting the important issues for the benefit of the local Church in Turkey were examined as Synod of Bishops, protection of minors and the vulnerable persons, legal situation of the Church, the commissions and delegates of the CET, formats of the magazines Maranatha and Presence.
In addition, a project that initiated by Archdiocese of Izmir, aimed to form a catechism that can help our Church introduced. This document will be a good instrument for who intends to know and deepen the Christian faith. Then the study approved for a new translation and edition of liturgical books of Latin Rite (Messale e Lezionario)
At the end of the study, the Bishops signed a declaration that the statute of the house of Mary (Meryem Ana Evi) as “National Shrine” reaffirmed. The first reading and analyzing of the Statute that intended to provide this place as a place of worship in the future also performed. This document must approved later.
On Saturday 15th of January 2022, the Bishops went to the Sanctuary to thank the Lord and invoke the intercession of the Mother of God for whole Church in Turkey.
The Holy Father has appointed His Excellency Monsignor Marek Solczyński, titular archbishop of Caesarea of Mauritania, currently Apostolic Nuncio in Tanzania, Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey.
tomorrow, on 22.12.2021, for the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of Mons.Ruben Tierrablanca OFM, I also want to invite you to the cemetery in Feriköy where at the tomb of the Friars Minor at 17.00 a special prayer in memory of Mons.Ruben will take place with the blessing of the tomb and deposition of flowers.
After this prayer, the Holy Mass will be celebrated in the cathedral at 6.00 pm, as has already been announced.
fr. Pawel Szymala OFMCap
Mons. Martin KMETEC OFM.Conv, Archbishop of Smyrna is appointed as the President of Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Turkey.
May god bless him in his new duty.
The funeral of Fr Jacek NOWACKI, the priest of St. Stephan of Yeşilköy will hold on June 19, 2021, at 10.30 am.
Fr. Jacek, the Priest of Order of Minor Franciscan Capuchin was appointed to Istanbul Yesilkoy St. Stephen’s Church for a while after serving in Izmir Ephesus. Last Saturday evening, he had a heart attack and died at the monastery of St. Stephan Church.
Fr. Jacek’s funeral will begin with the Rosary to be held at Yeşilköy St. Stefan Church at 10:30 tomorrow morning. After the funeral ceremony to be held in the same church at 11:00, he will be buried at 13:30 in the Feriköy Latin Catholic Cemetery in the section reserved for Minor Capuchin Priests.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on whose path he walked all his life, may grant the reward of eternal life and bless his testimony in this land with abundant fruit.
I am the resurrection and the life.
The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. (Jn. 11, 25)
Last Saturday, June 12, 2021 in the Capuchin convent in Yeşilköy – İSTANBUL, having 52 years of life; 31 years of his life in the Order and 25 years in the priesthood,
Br. Jacek Marek NOWACKI OFMCap died
The funeral will take place in Istanbul on June 19, 2021 (Saturday) according to the program:
• at 10.30, the rosary, St. Stephen’s Church in Yeşilköy
• at 11.00, the funeral mass, St. Stephen’s Church in Yeşilköy
• at 13.30, the burial at the tomb of the Capuchin Friars Minor, Latin cemetery in Feriköy (there will be a minibus)
Give him eternal rest, Lord.
And let the perpetual light shine upon him.
NB. The celebration will broadcast on Facebook on the page: https://www.facebook.com/yesilkoy.kilisesi
Pope Francis hoped that this month of May, dedicated to Virgin Mary, would be dedicated to a “marathon” of prayer on the basis of the biblical expression “From the whole Church rose unceasingly prayer towards God” (Acts 12, 5) to invoke the end of the pandemic.
This community call aims to realize a continuous prayer, which ceaselessly ascends from the whole Church to the Father through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.
For this, he wanted to associate thirty representative shrines located in the four corners of the world, from Japan to Bosnia, from Nigeria to Argentina via Turkey…, every day on another site.
This cycle of prayers began on May 1 with the prayer of Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica and the Holy Father will conclude it on May 31 from the Vatican Gardens.
On Wednesday 19th of May, the daily meeting will take place live from the House of the Virgin in Ephesus!
With the prayer of the Rosary, each day of the month is characterized by an intention of prayer for the different categories of people most affected by the drama of the pandemic. For Turkey, this intention concerns people at war and for world peace.
The Daily Marian Prayer is broadcast live every day at 6:00 p.m. Rome time (7:00 p.m. in Turkey) on the official channel of the Holy See.
It can be watched live on May 19 on the Archdiocese of Izmir YouTube channel:
After days of suffering in silence in the hospital, 100-years- old Father Luigi Iannitto (born January 5, 1921) left us. We pray for his eternal rest.
Father Luigi Iannitto was born in Montagano (CB) on 5 January 192l. After five years of probation in Penne (PE) he entered the Novitiate in Assisi on October 3, 1938. He made his simple profession on October 4, 1939 and solemn profession on December 12, 1942. After his studies in Assisi he continued his preparation in Rome at the Seraphic College in Via S. Teodoro with a license in theology in the years 1945 – 1949.
He was rector of the probands, master of novices, rector of clerics and teacher in high school and theology, parish priest in L’Aquila (1966-1973), secretary and provincial treasurer for three years, Custos Custodum with participation in the 1969 General Chapter.
In 1973 he arrived in Turkey. Here he was pastor for 25 years. He encouraged the creation of groups for a serious Christian formation (Focolarini, Neocatechumens, groups of various activities) and meetings with Islam.
To meet the Muslims he engaged in the study of the Turkish language. For a pastoral ministry embodied in the Turkish land he worked with so much heart for publications in the local language (first festive missal, catechism books for children and adults, translation of Deutercanonic books for Catholic Community , the monthly magazine Sent Antuan Dostu (The Friend of St. Anthony), about 40 catechetical, patristic and hagiographic publications, Breviary in Turkish (Lauds, Ora Media, Vespers and Compline of the four weeks and Office of the Dead).
We thank the Lord for this great gift that he has given us in the person of our brother. Our commitment remains in continuing his generous and free commitment for the Kingdom of the Lord.
We would return with the funeral information further.
H.E. Monsignor Ruben TIERRABLANCA GONZALEZ OFM
S.E. Mons. Rubén TIERRABLANCA GONZALEZ, OFM, was born in Cortazar, in the Diocese of Celaya (Mexico), on August 24, 1952, to Julio TIERRABLANCA and Maria GONZALEZ.
After attending the Franciscan Pío Mariano Seminary for secondary education in his native land, he entered the novitiate on August 22, 1970.
He studied at the College Santa Cruz in Queretaro (Mexico) and at the Saint Anthony Seminary in El Paso, TX (USA) for philosophy and theology. Subsequently, in Italy, he attended the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.
He made his religious profession in the Order of Friars Minor on 2 August 1977, and received priestly ordination on 29 June 1978 in his hometown of Cortazar.
S.E. Mons. Rubén TIERRABLANCA GONZALEZ, OFM, ordained as Guardian (Superior) of the Friars Minor of Istanbul and of the International Fraternity for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue in Turkey, and parish priest of the Parish of Santa Maria Draperís in Istanbul in 2003. He commissioned as Vicar Apostolic of the Apostolic Vicariate of Istanbul in 2014; he was serving as the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Turkey since 2018.
Monsignor Ruben hospitalized due to the Covid-19 disease. He passed away last night 22.12.2020 at 11.42 pm due to multi-organ failure due to Covid-19.