A special ceremony was held in the Saint Pierre Church, which is accepted as the world’s first cave church, as part of the Saint Peter and Paul Feast celebrations. The Apostle Vicar and Bishop of Anatolia, Monsignor Paolo Bizzeti, also attended the ceremony.
Saint Pierre Feast was celebrated with a special ceremony held at the Saint Pierre Cave Church in Antakya, Hatay. The ritual, which was held in the church garden in accordance with the social distance rules within the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic measures, was carried out under the leadership of the Anatolian Apostle Vicar and Bishop, Monsignor Paolo Bizzeti. Antakya Church Fathers Dimitri Doğum and Jan Dellüler as well as Iskenderun Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Father Yusuf Nicholas Papasoğlu, Altınözü Sarılar Saint Georgios Greek Orthodox Church Fathers Cebrail Kuşoğlu and Abdullah Papasoğlu, Altınözü Tokaçlı Greek Orthodox Church Father Mihail Papas and Antakya Catholic Church Father Domenice Bertogli, Father of the Iskenderun Catholic Church, Dariusz Dogondke also attended the service.
“We Must Glorify God, We Must Live According to the Gospel”
Praying for world peace, Monsignor Paolo Bizzeti gave messages of peace, brotherhood and unity. Celebrating the name feast of those whose name is ‘Petrus’, Bizzeti also talked about the troubles when our saints lived here: “The saints, who could not freely express their beliefs, nevertheless tried to tell about Christ Jesus. They even risked imprisonment for Jesus, whom they believed to be the true God and true human. Believers who took the name of Christian here again suffered for a long time here. They did not fear death for True Life and continued to live for Christ. Here we are, 2000 years later, and here today we glorify the name of God, which they boldly proclaimed. The truth will always remain, and those who are against the truth will disappear.
We must live without hiding our beliefs. If the early Christians had not proclaimed their faith with courage and hope, we would not have this faith today. We too must believe in Jesus Christ and boldly proclaim him to all. If our numbers are few today, it is our fault. We should draw strength by looking at Peter and Paul. We must live by their beliefs and glorify God. And I invite you to live according to the Gospel!” he said.
”We have been living in this city brotherly for two thousand years”
The Spiritual Leader of the Antakya Orthodox Church, Jan Dellüller, noted that they experienced the enthusiasm of St. Peter, Paul and Pierre, in St. Pierre Church that also known as the world’s first cave church. He said; ”In line with the legacy left by our saints, we have lived in this city brotherly for two thousand years. Antakya is a very holy city because it is a city where the Christian name was first given to the believers and Christianity spread. The spirit of the saints is above this city today. That’s why I want to give a message to the whole world here. We wish all people from the city of love, brotherhood and friendship to live in peace and harmony with each other, and we wish everyone a happy holiday.”
In addition to the districts of Hatay, there also been participations from different provinces and abroad to the ritual. The hymns sung by the choir, which was usually attended by young people, were highly appreciated by the participants.
At the end of the ritual, in which Bible passages were read, hymns were sung and prayers were recited, the blessed bread prepared by the spiritual leaders specially for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul was divided and distributed to the participants. (SAT-7 Türk/İlyas Edip TERBİYELİ-İskenderun)