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11/15/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  The long neglected Greek Orthodox Church of Hagia Triada, located on Turkey’s coast with the Aegean Sea, has been approved for renovations and its expected reopening as a cultural museum. This restoration decision has been expected for 16 years, according to the Daily Hürriyet.

From 1953-2004, the church was used as a tobacco warehouse by a government owned company. It was then assigned to the Culture Ministry. The church was constructed in 1846, but the genocide against Christians in the early 1900s left few congregants in Turkey. After the genocide, many church buildings fell into neglect and were later converted into either cultural centers, mosques, or museums.

Broadly speaking, there are two opinions among the Christian community regarding these types of decisions. On the one hand, Christians have been unable to reclaim their churches because of a lack of legal identity, and thus having the churches repaired as a cultural center is viewed as better than a having the churches remain empty and suffering neglect. On the other hand, some argue that the authorities should take steps to heal and rebuild the Christian community in these areas. Giving them their churches back would be a positive first step towards this goal.

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