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03/01/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  Treasure hunters plundered the 14th-century Hutura Hagios Monastery Church, leaving the walls in ruins in mid-February. The church is considered one of the three holy Orthodox Christian churches in the Black Sea region.

In the most recent occurrence of treasure hunters decimating a historic church, the inside of the church was dug up, walls were torn down and in ruins, and a 7,000-book library located behind the church was destroyed. According to state media, locals reported that the only solution for Hutura Hagios Monastery Church is to convert it into a faith tourism site. The nearby village is pushing for officials to start renovations immediately.

The issue of treasure hunters is very common for Turkey’s historic churches. Many churches are forcibly left abandoned, or are converted into faith tourism sites. There is little, if any discussion, about returning these churches to the Christian communities from which they belong.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected]