The Syriacs of Turkey are among the oldest Christian communities in the world. The ancestral homeland is in Turkey's southeast region, where several ancient Syriac churches and monasteries still operate, tending to the local Christians there. But the large Syriac community in Istanbul has never been able to get state permission to open up a new church of their own -- until now. From a report in Hurriyet:
After years of tussling and hairsplitting, Turkey’s Syriac Christian community has secured approval from both the prime minister and the president for the construction of its first church in the Yeşilköy neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul.
“Half of our community lives in and around Yeşilköy. We rent churches for Sunday rites, but we can only start morning mass at 11:30, whereas we are supposed to finish our Sunday rites before 10:30 in accordance with our tradition,” Kenan Altınışık, a prominent Syriac community leader, told the Hürriyet Daily News via e-mail.
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