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Home WHAT’S NEW The Assumptionist Presence in Turkey

The Assumptionist Presence in Turkey PDF Print E-mail

Assumptionist communities in Turkey and the date of their foundationIn 1900, when the Assumptionists were expelled from France by an anticlerical French regime, together with most other religious orders, almost half of the congregation moved to Turkey.  At that time there were 200 Assumptionists in Turkey (including students) and 150 Oblate Sisters of the Assumption. The Assumptionists were responsible for 17 places of worship (both Latin and Eastern rite, and mixed parishes).They oversaw 14 elementary schools and high schools (1200 students) and were in charge of two seminaries. In almost all of these places there were Oblates as well who themselves ran 12 elementary schools and high schools (1350 students), 10 dispensaries and 2 hospitals.

The first community was founded in 1868 in Andrinopolis/Edirne. Materially speaking life in Turkey was difficult and inter-faith relations were rarely peaceful. The Assumptionists, considered to be spirited and independent, were not always well received everywhere and at times met with severe opposition: houses and churches burned, a community blockaded, and one religious imprisoned and later liberated by the French army. Reports sent to Rome by apostolic delegates and bishops were not always favorable to them. On the other hand, there seems to always have been good relations among the students of our schools from diverse faith backgrounds. Religious engaged in much appreciated scholarly work on the Eastern Churches and collaborated actively with other Catholics of the Eastern rites (Armenians, Melkites, Greeks,, etc.). Not to be overlooked was the outstanding social work provided by the Oblate Sisters, who were always close to the poor. Many of these religious, men and women, were adventurous and full of initiative...

The Assumptionist Presence in Turkey

The history of the Assumption in Turkey, the center-piece of the Assumptionist presence in the Near East,  has been recorded in a number of monographs that have not been widely disseminated up till now.

After Ataturk waged a war of independence in the 1920s,  Christians disappeared for the most part from Turkish soil and today few Christians remain (less than 1%).  Today the Assumptionists maintain one community in the Asian Istanbul suburb of Kadikoy (ancient Chalcedon, site of a 5th century ecumenical council), where they serve a small Catholic community, continue to engage in ecumenical work, and, whenever possible, seek a fruitful dialogue with their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Bishop PelâtreThe Latin rite bishop of Istanbul, Most Rev. Louis-Armel Pelâtre, is currently an Assumptionist.

(editor's note: The original article written in French can be found at http://www.assomption-orient.org/Turquie_file/turchia.htm)

Last Updated on Friday, 24 December 2010 10:57
 
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