ANKARA (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 12th January, 2019) The Turkish authorities have authorized the construction of the first new Christian church in 70 years in the country, Kuryokos Ergun, the head of the foundation for the Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery, told Sputnik on Friday, specifying that the new religious facility, set to be build in Istanbul, would belong to the Syriac Orthodox Church as well.
"Istanbul authorities have authorized the construction [of the church] near the St. Ephrem Church in Yesilkoy district. The construction will be funded by the Assyrian community. We are planning to lay the first stone next month. This will be the first new Christian church to be constructed on the Turkish territory after a church was built in the southeastern Mardin province's town of Midyat in 1950," Ergun said.
He specified that since around 30,000 Assyrians, professing Syriac Christianity, were living in Istanbul. just one Syriac church located in the city was not enough and the Assyrians were therefore forced to attend churches of other Christian confessions.
The construction of the new church is planned to be finished within two years.
The Syriac Orthodox Church was founded back in the first century. It has around 500,000 adherents, while its branch, the India-based Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, has over one million adherents. The Syriac communities based in Syria and Iraq are the most numerous.