A Voice From Turkey
Christianity has a 2,000-year-old tradition in Turkey. St. Paul came from Tarsus, which is in present-day Turkey as did many of our Church Fathers. Their missionary work plus the various Councils which have taken place on Turkish soil continue to shape the Church today. Christianity once flourished in present-day Turkey, which can be seen by the existing structures, such as the Hagia Sophia in modern-day Istanbul.
A Dwindling Community
Various waves of persecution have threatened the Christian heritage and its population. At the beginning of the 20th century, about 20% of the population were said to be Christians. Now only 0.2% are said to be Christian.
Freedom - No Freedom?
The Turkish government officially recognizes only three minorities: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians, Greek Orthodox Christians, and Jews. Despite their special status, these groups, like other minorities, including Catholics, have no legal identity and cannot acquire real estate or legal remedies as a community. Although the Turkish constitution guarantees freedom of conscience, belief, speech, and religion, the reality in many places is different. There are significant indications that religious freedom in Turkey is also threatened today. The media shows a worrying trend of increasing intolerance and hate speech against minorities.
Aid To The Church in Need
Archbishop Martin Kmetec of the Turkish Archdiocese of Izmir will visit Switzerland from March 18-23, 2023, to give lectures and celebrate Masses. He will be our guest in the Mass on Sunday, March 19 at 18:00 where he will address the challenging situation of Christians in Turkey and discuss the consequences of the earthquake that occurred on February 6, 2023.