Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew officiated a service on May 8 at the Saint John Church in memory of the youngest apostle of Jesus and he wished Muslims success in Ramadan.
The grave of the Bible writer Saint John is located at the church in western Izmir province.
Bartholomew delivered a portion of his address in Turkish and congratulated Muslims on the holy month.
“I would like to offer most sincere congratulations and best wishes of myself and the Christian Orthodox community to Muslims for the incipient holy month of Ramadan,” Bartholomew said.
He thanked national and local authorities for giving his community permission to hold the liturgy.
“We pray that Allah will accept your fasts and prayers,” he said. “We wish you to celebrate your holy Ramadan feast with enthusiasm and love a month hence.”
Many Orthodox members from Turkey and Greece attended the liturgy, including GreekPresident Prokopis Pavlopoulos’s wife, Vlasia; Greek Ambassador to Ankara Petros Mavroidis; Greece’s Consul-General in İzmir Argyro Papoulia and the Head of GreekOrthodox community in Izmir Yorgo Teodoridis.
On Ramadan’s first night, May 5, Muslims offered a special night prayer, Tarawih, which will continue every night during the month.
Fasting is observed from dawn to dusk throughout the month and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Ramadan is a time of self-examination, religious devotion and intense spirituality when believers are surrounded by angels, the gates of heaven are opened and Allah’s blessings and mercy are abundant.
But it is also a time of great excitement, filling cities with festivities that bring the streets to life when the sun sets.