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03/02/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A historical church in Istanbul, Turkey is currently the focus of a legal case that may result in the site being put up for sale. Sent Antuan Church, or St. Anthony of Padua, is the largest Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul, Turkey. The church leadership is currently entangled with Italian royalty descendants, both claiming rights to the land and property.

The Italian royalty heirs are seeking the property rights, saying that their predecessors’ names were the registered owners of the church, including the place of worship, four church office buildings, and two apartments. Back in 2016 when the case first began, the church leadership initiated a lawsuit against their attempts to sell by clarifying the status of the church as a religious site.

When the church was first registered in 1937, it was common practice to register church ownership to Italian royal family members. However, the heirs withdrew their rights in 1971.

The church’s lawyer, Afsin Hatipogul, commented on Friday February 28 saying the court had ruled in their favor. However, the legal process will continue on. Now the church leadership is hopeful, with legal assurance on their side.

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