Διεθνές διαδικτυακό συνέδριο της Anadolu Din ve İnançları Platformu (ADIP), με θέμα: «Η μετατροπή των χώρων και των τόπων λατρείας στην Ανατολία» πραγματοποιήθηκε το Σαββατοκύριακο 10-11 Απριλίου 2021.
Οι μετατροπές το 2020 στα δύο ιστορικά μνημεία της Αγίας Σοφίας και της Μονής της Χώρας έδωσαν αφορμή για την οργάνωση αυτού του διεθνούς συνεδρίου με θέμα τη μετατροπή χώρων και τόπων λατρείας στο ευρύτερο θρησκευτικό και περιφερειακό πλαίσιο.
Το συνέδριο λειτούργησε ως μια πλατφόρμα διαλόγου για τη μετατροπή θρησκευτικών χώρων και τόπων λατρείας, μέσα από διεπιστημονικές προσεγγίσεις του νόμου, της ιστορίας, της πολιτικής ανθρωπολογίας, της αρχιτεκτονικής καθώς και της πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς και των αστικών σπουδών.
Την εναρκτήρια ομιλία της δεύτερης ημέρας του συνεδρίου έκανε ο Άρχων Μ. Χαρτοφύλαξ της Μ.τ.Χ.Ε. Λάκης Βίγκας, ο οποίος αναφέρθηκε στο τέλος και στην πρόσφατη εκδημία του Νίκου Μαγγίνα.
Παραθέτουμε την ομιλία – στα αγγλικά (επίσημη γλώσσα του συνεδρίου μαζί με τα τουρκικά) – όπως και το βίντεο των εργασιών της 2ης ημέρας του συνεδρίου.
Mr. Laki Vingas
Anatolian Religions and Beliefs Platform International Conference
The Conversion of Spaces and Places of Worship
April 11, 2021
Good morning everyone.
Today we are here to attend the second day of the Conference
organized by ADİP ,as scholars, scientists, researchers, volunteers, from
various ethnic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.Its my great
honour to welcome you all.
Friends and Participants
of this Conference,
We live in a land of miracles. Our
Turkey, our Anatolia is truly an ἀνατολή, the horizon line of the ascendant human spirit for centuries.
Nearly twelve thousand years ago, “the world’s first temple”[*]
was built at Göbekli Tepe. This worship place, where pre- historic “masters”
managed to erect seven-ton engraved pillars, tells us a lot about mysteries of
life and death. The worship tradition established in Göbeklitepe was followed
by many different traditions for thousand years till today. Human being builds
external monuments, in order to express internal processes of creation,
salvation, and realization.
Our legacy in Anatolia is rich and textured fabric
of these monuments, both great and small. This geography is a culmination of pluralism. Throughout our history,
Anatolia has been a crossroad for civilizations. Thus, our common heritage is shared by an array of different
ethnic and religious communities. We are a heterogeneous community, whose genetic
pool is a proof to our complexity.
I think that we should preserve and respect not only the cultural and
religious assets of our ancestors but also we need to respect and cherish the
buildings and cultural representations of the living communities. Their
traditions and spiritual aspirations are inherited and interpreted throughout
centuries and are essential for our long-lasting Anatolian identity.
As you all know the rock
layers are an open book from which we can read the past of our planet. Each
rock layer is precious and meaningful, one cannot extract any of those layers
from the history of the earth. This reasoning can be applied to cultural layers
as well. You cannot understand and interpret any society without treasuring and
preserving all its layers, past and present ones. Moreover, only when we respect the past we can inspire an inclusive,
egalitarian and creative future society.
Therefore, the respect and awareness that geologists and archeologists
have for every soil layer that constitudes the past should inspire us all and all
components of our society (social, political and religious) have an obligation
to respect the cultural and spiritual layers of the past and present.
It is well established that in the 20th century, a lack of
education and extensive disinformation created unfortunate gaps of knowledge about
the history of our land. Moreover, severe intolerance and enmity towards the
Non-Muslim Anatolian heritage wreaked havoc on monuments of the past.
There have been decades, when many non- Muslim worship places and monuments
were damaged or converted to different usages. Such unfortunate circumstances
led to unnecessary humiliations for people, whose ancient roots should be a
cause of cultural pride for Turkey. Our land is not a monotony, but a symphony.
Nevertheless, the last two decades have witnessed a certain
progress – especially among the young generations, as well as a practical sensibility
among the local authorities, to cooperate with experts and relevant community
members. This has led to proper, respectful and scientific restoration of some
churches and synagogues, but still there is a long way to go.
The restoration of the dialog among different community groups is as
important as the restoration of religious sites.The encounters of minority
traditions with the dominant Sunni Muslim community can be moments of enrichment.
As a society, we must go beyond confrontation and conflict.
Exopraxis can, and should
be a shared experience of pilgrimage, rather than an excuse for seizure and
expropriation. Think of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St.
George on the island of Büyükada, in the Sea of Marmara, that attracts tens of
thousands of Muslim pilgrims every year. They come to make votive offerings at
the place – the τόπος of this most famous
Christian Saint in the Islamic world. These Muslim pilgrims are engaging in a
form of exopraxis that is the essence of shared pilgrimage, one that is respectful
of the original intent of the place, where the spiritual topography remains
intact. The same motivation can be experienced also at the historical Greek
Orthodox Monastery of Sumela, the Armenian Church in Ahtamar in lake of Van, in
Cappadoce, in Ephesus and in Tur Abdin region.
integrity of a place is a symbol for the integrity of a person, or group of people.
When different communities can share the same space – even if they have different
associations, we build a stronger and more integrated society for all. Here in
Turkey, we can and should exercise this kind of shared experience, without
we all must admit that the Byzantine heritage of our
land is still a political issue. But we must also be realistic about the fact
that this Empire ended six hundred years ago. Like Göbekli Tepe, Byzantine
heritage is a remnant
of a glorious past. But unlike the megaliths of Şanlıurfa Province, there is still a living community using and inhabiting the
Byzantine heritage of our country.
It is a pity for anyone to undermine this legacy of this
bygone Empire, because there are so many common values to discover, and so many
inspiring and worthy examples to be celebrated. The recent conversions of St
Sophia in Nicaea, in Trabzon, and last year in İstanbul, of the Great Church,
dedicated to the Wisdom of God – the conversion of Chora –Kariye
with its unique and precious mosaics, are needless examples of how
multi-cultural appreciation is terminated and how policies and programmes
should not be implemented.
I would also highlight here the juridical efforts of the small
Christians communities left in Antioch, Mardin – which has been called an
“open-air museum” by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism – and other locals, to
recover their properties and preserve their heritage.
We see very often Churches for sale, or we receive calls from Anatolian
towns’ inhabitants proposing to buy Greek or Armenian churches, left from the
time of the exodus of these communities from Anatolia. We cannot afford to buy
them, and we have no people left in these regions to care for them. Hence, we expect
our Government to take care of these places of worship as heritage sites, and
not abandon them and cause their unsuitable usage. Monuments
and spaces of worship should not be an element for political rivalries, neither
a target of conflicts or controversies. All countries, especially those
suffering from prejudices concerning past history should invest in their
educational system for the protection, maintenance and transfer of cultural
heritage to future generations.
To that end, I am proud to be one of the founders in 2014 of the
Kültürel Mirası Koruma Derneği, the
Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.[†]
A small group of friends, including our friend Osman Kavala whose contribution
was essential, came together for this positive cause. KMKD is working
tirelessly with young scholars, volunteers, and professionals to preserve the
richness, and to recognize and promote the visibility of all of Turkey’s cultural
My friends: We are living in days when a global pandemic has taught
the world a very difficult lesson – that we are interconnected and interrelated
in ways beyond our imagination. But the monuments of our past tell us the same
thing; that even when one wave of humanity rises and another falls, we are
still one big ocean of the human family.
The way we treat the legacies of our
past, and the way we preserve the remnants or monuments that are intertwined
with communities that used them shows how we approach our solidarity.
And to finish with, I would like to thank my old friend Doğan Bermek
who had the vision of creating this valuable platform of Anatolian Religions
and Beliefs and have created an enormous interaction among our people of Turkey
with the great support of Prof İştar Gözaydın, Yuri Stoyanov, Vanessa de Obaldia,
Sevan Ataoğlu and other friends as well as colleagues.
I really feel proud for their generous work and fantastic
ending my speech, I would like to remember my very good friend Nicholas Manginas who passed
away yesterday morning. Nikos was a legend photographer and a beloved servant
of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Greek Orthodox Community. For almost 50
years he has documented our social and religious life. He will be missed by all
who had the privilege to witness his ministry. May his memory be eternal!
Αιωνία σου η μνήμη αγαπημένε μας Νίκο!
May the work of this conference and all our efforts bring
us closer to that knowledge and wisdom.