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Panagia Soumela

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[[Image:Panagia-Soumela-St Luke.jpg|right|framethumb|180px|The Holy and wonderworking icon of '''Panagia Soumela''' or '''Panagia Soumeliotissa''', painted by the hand of St. [[Apostle Luke|Luke the Evangelist]].]]
The Holy and wonderworking icon of '''Panagia of Soumela''' or '''Panagia Soumeliotissa''' was painted by the hand of St. [[Apostle Luke|Luke the Evangelist]] according to tradition.
The icon predates the historic [[w:Sümela Monastery|Monastery of Panagia Soumela]] (386-1923), which was built at [[w:Trabzon|Trapezounta]] in Pontus, on a high rock, where the holy icon was kept for centuries.
The name “Soumela” comes from the Greek phrase “Stou Mela” (i.e. “at mount Melas”) and consequently signifies a particular locality in [[w:Pontus|Pontus]]. In the Pontic Greek dialect it is pronounced “sou Mela”. Hence the meaning, “Panagia at Mt. Mela”.
The icon predates the historic [[w:Sümela Monastery|Monastery of Panagia Soumela]] (386-1923), which was built at [[w:Trabzon|Trapezounta]] in Pontus, on a high rock, at which the holy icon was kept for centuries.
==Origin of the Icon==
==Panagia Soumela Monastery==
[[Image:Sumela From Across Valley.JPG|right|thumb|180px|Close-up of Panagia Soumela Monastery seen from across the Altındere Valley.]]
At some point two Athenian monks were called by the Virgin to follow the ''Panagia Athiniotissa'' from the Church in Athens to Mount Mela in Pontus of Asia Minor, a region in current day Turkey. They were St. Barnabas, and his acolyte St. Sophronios.
At Mt. Mela, the icon was found in a cave at the end of the fourth century A.D. A monastery was built at this place to the glory of God, and the icon was renamed '' '[[w:Sümela Monastery|Panagia Soumela]]'.'' The monastery was inaugurated by the Bishop of [[w:Trabzon|Trapezounta]] in 386 A.D. During the decline of the Byzantine Empire, the monastery served as a centre of education. The monastery was pillaged many times but was always rebuilt, with the latest construction occurring around 644 A.D.
Trapezounta was occupied by the Turks in 1461 and so was the monastery. Despite these difficult times, the monks remained in the monastery unshaken in their faith and tradition.
==New Monastery of Panagia Soumela in Greece==
[[Image:Panagia-Soumela (Greece).jpg|right|thumb|Monastery of Panagia Soumela, Vermion Mountain, Veroia, Greece.]]
In 1950, Dr. [[w:Filon Ktenidis|Philon Ktenides]] encouraged fellow Pontic Greeks in Greece to build a new church for Panagia Soumela. The church was built on a site amid the Macedonian mountains in Greece. This sight was Kastania of Vermio. It was chosen because it reminded Dr Ktenides of the wild and natural beauty of the heights of Mt. Mela in Turkey.
At the moment, the Church is triune, meaning that it also has two chapels, dedicated to St. [[Apostle John|John the Theologian]], and our Holy Godbearing Father St. [[David of Euboea]] (Evia). Many Pontic Greeks flock to the Greek Orthodox parish of East Keilor every year on [[August 15]].
==Divine Liturgy on August 15, 2010 at Panagia Soumela Monastery in Turkey==
On Sunday, August 15, 2010 Ecumenical Patriarch [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople|Bartholomew I]] conducted the first [[Divine Liturgy]] in 88 years at the historic monastery of [[w:Sümela Monastery|Panagia Soumela]] in [[w:Trabzon|Trapezounta]], northeastern Turkey. This marked the first official religious service carried out at the ancient monastery since the foundation of the modern Turkish Republic. Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking after attending mass on the Cyclades Islands off the Greek mainland, welcomed the "historic and important event." It was a sign of bilateral rapprochement with Turkey and reflected "a spirit of cooperation and peace between us and our neighbour," the prime minister said.
On Sunday, around 500 [[w:Pontic Greeks|Pontian Greeks]] were allowed into the fourth-century monastery, while around 2,000 others who came from Istanbul, Greece, Russia and Georgia, watched the mass on a giant television screen outside.
In May Turkey sent a letter to the patriarch authorizing the [[Divine Liturgy]] to be celebrated here once a year on [[August 15]], in a gradual loosening of restrictions on religious expression.<ref group="note">Turkey's government is seeking to improve the lot of ethnic and religious minorities in line with its bid to join the European Union. Activists say the change is too slow. A key Orthodox Christian demand is the reopening of the [[Theological School of Halki]] near Istanbul. (Associated Press. ''[ Turkey: patriarch holds historic Mass].'' August 15, 2010).</ref> The gesture appeared aimed at Turkey's own Greek Orthodox minority, thought today to number around 2,000 people. In a similar gesture to Turkey's Armenian minority, Ankara also authorized mass to be celebrated in September at the [[w:Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross|museum-church of Akdamar]], in the eastern Van province.
<references group="note" />
* Kon Bouzikos. ''[ The History of the icon of Panagia Soumela]''. Pontus World.
* Fr. Antōnios G. Krinas. ''[ Panagia Theotokos: 110 icons, 40 feasts and paraklisis].'' North Dandenong, Vic.: A. Krinas, 1998. 144pp. ISBN 0958587108
* Nicolas Cheviron. ''[ Turkey monastery celebrates first mass in 88 years].'' AFP. August 15, 2010.
* BBC NEWS Europe. ''[ In pictures: Historic Orthodox Mass at ancient Turkish monastery].'' 15 August 2010 Last updated at 11:44 ET.
* Associated Press. ''[ Turkey: patriarch holds historic Mass].'' August 15, 2010
==External Links==
* Original [[w:Sümela Monastery|Panagia Soumela Monastery]], in [[w:Trabzon Province|Trabzon Province]], modern Turkey.::''(New Monastery of Panagia Soumela is in the village of Kastania, in Macedonia, Greece, housing the original wonderworking icon of Panagia Soumela)''
* [[w:Saint Christopher of Trebizond|Saint Christopher of Trebizond]]
* ''[ Panaghia Soumela: Periodical Publication of Paracletos Monastery].'' Abbeville, South Carolina. December 2008, 1st issue.
* George Andreadis. ''[ Crypto-Christians in Pontus].'' Road to Emmaus, Vol. VIII, No. 4 (#31). 11/06/2010.
[[Category:About Icons]]
[[Category:Icons of the Theotokos]]

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