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Presided over by His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul
All Turkey, an ecumenical candle-light vigil was held in the Armenian
of the Holy Trinity, in Galatasaray, Istanbul, on 14 December, Friday at
20:00 hours.

At the Angelus Prayer of 18 November 2001, His Holiness Pope John Paul
II of
the Roman Catholic Church had asked Catholics to observe 14 December as
day of fasting and fervent prayer to God for a stable world peace, based
upon justice. It was obvious that the invitation of the Pope was, out of
respect, addressed only to Catholics. Nevertheless, the Religious
Council of
the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul decided on 12 December that the
Christians of different confessions, as well as the followers of other
religions, could also join in this worldwide prayer for peace.

Attending the ecumenical service on Friday were His Holiness Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I, Their Graces Armenian Catholic Archbishop Jean
Tcholakian of Turkey, Roman Catholic Bishop Louis Pelatre of Sassima,
Orthodox Metropolitan Iakovos of Laodicia, Armenian Orthodox Bishop Aram
Ateshian – the Grand Ecclesiarch of the Patriarchal See, around sixty
priests, deacons and nuns from different communities. The church was
completely filled largely with believers from different Christian
confessions; an estimated one third of the people present were members
the Muslim and Jewish communities.

The introduction to the service was read out by two young Christians,
Alin Calikoglu of the Holy Resurrection Armenian Church in Kumkapi, and
Ozcan Ic of the Getronagan Armenian High School in Galata. They both
emphasized the fact that three months after the attacks of 11 September,
state of world affairs remains to be highly tense and that people
are still greatly distressed. This is why, they said, believers have the
urge to pray along with the Church and with all other people of good
around the world for peace. They asked all those present in the church
pray to the Prince of Peace so that love would prevail over hatred,
over war, truth over falsehood, and forgiveness over revenge.

A liturgy of hymns and readings followed. The hymns were sung in
Armenian by
the Lusavoric Youth Choir of the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church in
Taksim, conducted by Hagop Mamigonian. Sections from the Holy Scriptures
were read by Pastor Turgay Ucal of the Turkish Presbyterian Church,
Pastor Ilhan Guzeloz of All Saints’ Church in Moda, Sub-deacon Sahak
of St. John the Evangelist Armenian Church in Narlikapi, Miss Melissa
Barutcuyan of the Getronagan Armenian High School in Galata, Archpriest
Krikor Damatyan of the Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Patriarchal Church in

Prayers were read by Metropolitan Iakovos, Archbishop Jean Tcholakian,
Bishop Louis Pelatre, Pastor Benjamin van Rensburg of the Union Church,
Archpriest Samuel Akdemir of the Syrian Orthodox Church, and others from
German Evangelical, Anglican churches, French, Italian and Austrian

Near the end of the service, all present were led in a meditation by
Ic and Alin Calikoglu again, as Patriarchs Bartholomew and Mesrob lit
candles from a single tall candle in the center of the bema and passed
it on
to the clergy and the people that filled the church. Once the light was
passed on, the congregation read the peace prayer of St Francis of
Assisi in
unison, led by Pastor Turgay. Then led by the choir, all present sang in
unison the hymn of brotherhood to a tune by Ludwig van Beethoven. The
service ended as Patriarch Mesrob recited the words of blessing: "Let us
depart in peace, and the Lord be with us!"

Extensive parts of the candle-light service, which was also in
with the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, was
by some of the major TV stations in Turkey the same evening, and also
day on 15 December, Saturday.

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