Sumela Monastery (Greek: Panagia Sumela or Theotokos Sumela) is located on the western slopes of the Virgin Mary Stream (Ancient Greek name: Panagia) located on the western slopes of the Virgin Mary Stream (Ancient Greek name: Panagia), located within the borders of the Altındere valley in the Trabzon province of Trabzon. It is a Greek Orthodox monastery and church complex located at an altitude of 1.150 m above sea level.
It is believed that the church was built between 365-395 AD. It was built in the style of Cappadocian churches, which are common in Anatolia; there is even a similar cave church at Maşatlık in Trabzon. Not much is known about the millennium between the first establishment of the church and its transformation into a monastery. According to a legend told between the Black Sea Greeks, Barnabas from Athens and two monks named Sophronios had the same dream; In their dreams, they saw the place of Sumela as the place where the icon of Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms, from three Panagia icons made by one of Jesus' students, St. Luka. Upon this, they came to Trabzon by sea, unaware of each other, explained the dreams they had met there and laid the foundation of the first church. In addition to this, Trabzon Emperor III. It is believed that Alexios (1349-1390) was the true founder of the monastery.
In the defense of the city, which was exposed to Turkmen raids in the 14th century, there was no change in the status of the monastery, which took the role of an outpost, after the Ottoman conquest. It is known that Yavuz Sultan Selim gave two big candlesticks as gifts during his princely in Trabzon. Fatih Sultan Mehmed, II. Murat, I. Selim, II. Selim, III. Murad, İbrahim, IV. Mehmed, II. Solomon and III. Ahmed also has edicts about the monastery. Concessions provided to the monastery during the Ottoman period created an area surrounded by Christian and hidden Christian villages, especially in Maçka and northern Gümüşhane, during the Islamization of the Trabzon and Gümüşhane region.
It was the headquarters of the Greek militia who wanted to establish an independent Pontus state like the other monasteries around Maçka during the Russian occupation, which lasted from 18 April 1916 to 24 February 1918, lost its importance after the population exchange and the Christians in the region were sent to Greece. He was left to his fate.
Greeks from the Black Sea, who migrated to Greece by exchange, built a new church called Vümela in the city of Veria. Every year in August, they organize festivities with wide participation around the new monastery, just like they did in Trabzon Sümela in the past.
With the permission of the government in the Republic of Turkey in 2010. Christians, the Virgin Mary, who is considered as the day of Ascension and the sacred 15th of August after 88 years together for the first liturgy organized, led liturgy Istanbul Orthodox Patriarchate Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
The interior of the church is covered with frescoes:
- The figures of Virgin Mary in the church are depicted as Georgian madonna used by Georgians.
- On the apse part of the main church, on the south wall, the birth of Mary above and its presentation in the temple, the communique, the birth of Jesus, the presentation and life in the temple, pictures from the Bible at the bottom.
- Mary's death and apostles at the south gate.
- Genesis, 2nd creation of Adam, creation of Eve, exaltation of God, Rebellion (Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit), expelling from heaven, in the upper part of the church facing east. 3rd place: Resurrection, suspicion of Thomas, an angel in Kabir, Nikaia (Iznik) council.
- Apart from the apse part, above there is Michael and Gabriel.
Is Sumela Monastery Open?
The first phase of the restoration works in the Sumela Monastery was completed on May 29, 2019.After the second phase, which was completed on July 28, 2020, 65 percent of the restoration of the Sumela Monastery and especially the measures that have been taken regarding the stone fall measures have been completed. The remaining 35 percent are the areas that have never been visited before, and the work continues without slowing down. The last part until July 1, 2021, that is, areas that have never been visited before, will be completed quickly and will be opened to visitors in less than a year. ”
The restoration of the Sumela Monastery, the first phase of which was completed, was opened to citizens.