Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Mission


Two "signs" of Orthodoxy in Turkey

by Nick Chiladakis,
Journalist - Author - Turkologist (*)



1. The miracle by the Holy Mother Theotokos

(From an article in the Turkish newspaper HURRIET dated 9th March 2010)

Several years ago, a married couple from  Turkey and specifically from the area of Antioch, had migrated to Paris where they found jobs and had settled down at Garges-lès-Gonesse, a suburb of Paris.  The couple's names are Esat and Sevim Altindagoglu.


Swarms of people are observed at the Altindagoglu house today, as many visitors come to see a very curious (for them) event.  This event, which was characterized by the Turkish press itself as a miracle, is that an Orthodox Byzantine icon of the Holy Mother which the couple had found in Antioch and had brought back with them - even though they are Muslims - began to "weep", with tears flowing from the eyes of the Holy Mother in the icon.  The icon of the "Virgin Mary" - as the Turkish couple have named it - has become a pilgrimage site and in fact, it has also acquired a miracle-working character.  The event has become widely known and visiting pilgrims from nearby Germany and Belgium also visit the house in order to venerate the Orthodox icon of the Holy Mother.  Esat Altindagoglu narrates how some time ago, a married woman had come to the icon of the Holy Mother because she had not been able to conceive a child and because she was distraught that her marriage was in danger of breaking up.  The woman had kneeled down before the icon and prayed for a considerable length of time.  Some time later, the woman phoned the Altindagoglus and told them that she was thrilled because a miracle had happened and she was expecting a child.


In the photo below, you can see the wonder-working icon of the Theotokos, with the Turkish title MUCIZE ! superimposed, meaning "MIRACLE !".



 Above is the revealing article in the Turkish newspaper HURRIET, which refers to the miracle of the Holy Mother



2. The scandal regarding the renovation of a mosque

On the 25th of August of 2011 a huge "scandal" - as it was referred to - broke out in Turkey (article in newspaper ZAMAN, dated 25/8/2011).  The restoration of the mosque in the city of Alatsata near Smyrna.


When the Greeks lived there, the mosque was originally a church dedicated to Saint Constantine.  Because of the extensive damages that had occurred during recent years, local authorities had assigned the renovation work to a specialized team.  But, instead of restoring the Muslim mosque, the Turkish restoration team went ahead and restored the ... dilapidated but intricate iconostasis of the church; so, instead of a mosque, the restorers essentially delivered ... the Greek church, repaired and to its original state.

This event was criticized as a "scandal" by the Turkish Media.

The photo above is of the exterior of the mosque in Alatsata, which was originally the church of Saint Constantine, and below you can see a panoramic view of the intricate iconostasis inside the church, which was restored by the Turkish restoration team and had outraged the Turkish Media.


The image below is the article that was published by the Turkish newspaper ZAMAN on the 23/8/2011 and referred to the "scandal" of the restoration of the Muslim mosque in Alatsata, with the characteristic title:  "Restorasyon camiyi kiliseye çevirdi" - meaning "Restoration converted the mosque into a church".



(*) Turkology (Turkish: Türkoloji), also Turcology or Turkologie, is a complex of humanities sciences studying languages, history, literature, folklore, culture, and ethnology of people speaking Turkic languages and Turkic peoples in chronological and comparative context. This includes ethnic groups from the Turks (Turkish People), Sakha in East Siberia to the Balkan Turks and Gagauz in Moldova.


Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 2-10-2011.

Last update: 2-10-2011.