Christmas celebrated across Türkiye with prayers for world peace
In addition to Greeks living in Türkiye, people from other countries also showed interest in the ritual, in which candles were lit, prayers were offered and hymns were sung.
Priest Aleksandr Cikirik recited hymns and prayers about Jesus Christ from the Bible, while the participants lit candles and prayed.
The participants prayed for tranquility and peace for all as well as friendship and fraternity among people.
Meanwhile, people also gathered in Türkiye’s southeastern province of Mardin to celebrate Christmas. Rituals were held in the historical churches in the central Artuklu and Midyat districts of the province.
The service prayed for unity, solidarity, and world peace. Later, hymns and prayers were recited in Syriac and Turkish, while those who attended the service were blessed.
Participants underscored that wars and intolerance damage humanity, adding that love, peace, and solidarity have to be strengthened among people along with world peace and tranquility.
Hatay is the city of fraternity and friendship for centuries, participants stressed and said that they wish the city would set an example for the whole world.
In the Christmas mass held in the Church of the Virgin Mary in the historical Sur district, sweets were served to the participants at the end of the ceremony, where the Syriacs lit candles and made wishes.
In a message, Erdogan said he congratulates the whole Christian world, especially Turkish Christian citizens, and wishes them well on Saturday.
"In line with the values of the civilization to which we belong, we consider the existence of different religions and cultures as a richness," Erdogan said.
"This understanding, which is the basis of the peace and security, unity and solidarity of our nation, is our most important power that will enable us to live together peacefully in the future."
He expressed hope that Christmas will be “instrumental in the development of the climate of solidarity.”
For Christians, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ.
One of the most significant celebrations in Christian culture, Christmas Eve is observed by most non-Orthodox Christians on December 24 every year.