HYETERT – The Bible Society whose the officials arrived first at İzmir in 1818 and at Istanbul in 1820 and published the Holy Scriptures for Christians in many languages and alphabets of the Ottoman Empire, determined the year 2020 for its bicentennial celebrations. The first of the events took place in Surp Yerrortutyun Armenian Catholic Church on Istiklal Street on January 15, 2020.
For the occasion of the regular meeting of the General Secretaries of the Bible Societies from the Europe and the Middle East in Istanbul, between 14 – 16 January 2020, the opening ceremony was decided to take place on this date. The Armenian Patriarch of Turkey His Beatitude Sahak II Mashalyan, Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Turkey Archbishop Levon Zekiyan, Latin Catholic Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul and Ankara Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca Gonzalez, Patriarcal Vicar of the Syriac Catholic Church in Turkey Chorbishop Mgr. Orhan Çanlı, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s representative Rev. Paisios Kokkinaki, representative of the Syriac Orthodox Church Rev. Melki Akyüz and on behalf of the Turkish Evangelical Alliance Pastor Behnan Konutgan as well as the Board members of the Bible Society in Turkey were present at the ceremony.
The Executive Secretary of the Bible Society in Turkey, Mss. Tamar Karasu did the opening speech. After greeting the guests, she said: “When I have been appointed as the Executive Secretary of the Bible Society in Turkey in 2003, I did not have any idea about the work I supposed to do. I have just found a great team which is with us and tonight. Our new colleagues also joined us on this path. We always shared the same passion. We dream together and work together in harmony.”
Then, Archbishop Zekiyan took the floor. He first greeted the participants in Armenian and Turkish and did his speech in English. He emphasized the interdenominational services of the Bible Society in Turkey and informed the participants about the history of the Armenian Catholic Church of Surp Yerrortutyun, the restoration that will take place in order to be able to regain its church function in the first place, and also to host the exhibitions, museums and cultural events of the Bible Society.
After the Lord’s Prayer in Armenian, The Patriarch of the Armenians of Turkey His Beatitude Sahak II did the closing speech in English and talked about his first personal encounter with the Bible, speaking highly of the worldwide services offered by the Bible Societies.
The event ended with a cocktail for all participants at Pera Palace Hotel.
The Bible Society is preparing to meet its audience with various events and promotions throughout 2020.